Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

A New Era Dawns….

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I can’t believe it’s been over a year since i blogged last, and a lot has happened with the Bucs since then. Last season started well, but tailed off miserably, Gruden and Allen were unceremoniously dumped, we cut the franchises greatest ever player, made a splash in Free Agency with what appears some luxury picks and started to rebuild. With all this in mind i’ve decided to resurrect this blog and offer some opinions on the happenings at One Buc Place.

What have you done for me lately ? Gruden and Allen Fired.

I won’t rehash the end of last season except to say it was a train wreck. A lot has been said about how Montes’ leaving was handled and how it affected the team. Despite all the words to contrary i can’t see how losing the architect of your defense, the one thing most other fans know you for, doesn’t impact the play on the field.

There was no sign of Gruden being fired at the end of the season and I thought he was safe for another year. However, out of the blue both Gruden and Allen are given their marching orders by the Glazers. The timing did seem odd as most of the prospective candidates had been snapped up, but the Bucs clearly had men in mind and they were Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik.

It’s hard to judge the legacy of Gruden and Allen. Some will point to the SuperBowl win, but was it really worth all that we gave up to get Gruden ? Would Dungy, given another season got the team that same ring ? My gut feeling is that we overpaid for Gruden in terms of draft picks and this hampered the development of the team post the Superbowl win and lead to this cycle of mediocrity and playoff seasons that we have had since.

A New Era ….

Just like the Gruden sacking, no one saw Raheem Morris as the new coach of the Bucs. Certainly he was seen as a rising star of the organisation and is well respected by players and staff alike. He’s certainly come a long way in a very short space of time though. This time last year he was the DB’s coach, now he’s trying to mould the Bucs into his team. Does he have the skills and experience necessary to lead a team that is clearly in a state of transition ? He’s brought in a lot of new coaches and assistants to help this transition and I think the signings of Derrick Ward and Angelo Crowell shows the influence of the new offenisve and defensive co-ordinators.

For me the franchise had gone stale and we didn’t seem to have a long term plan for the direction of the franchise. I’ve had my interest in the Bucs revatilized by the off season activities at the Bucs and hope that next weeks draft also brings more to stoke the fires.

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Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 18, 2009 at 11:34 am

08 Draft Review: Rounds 4-7

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Day II of the Draft dawned and the Bucs looked to build on their Day 1 choices. The lower rounds of the draft are always a crap shoot as to how those picks pan out. Recent history shows that the Bucs struggle to find the hidden gems in the lower rounds, although there have been exceptions, Tanard Jackson was a 4th round selection last year. The Bucs through some trading had managed to stockpile a few more picks and looked to add depth across their roster.

Round IV:

The first day two pick for the Bucs was Dre Moore, a DT from Maryland. Moore has been a somewhat of a late bloomer and has only lived up to his potential in the final games of the NCAA season and through the Senior Bowl and Combine. Moore certainly has the physical tools to be a force inside but needs to find a consistent level to his game. Certainly a gamble, if he continues his level of play he could be a force to be reckoned with.

Round V:

Who would of thought it, the Bucs need another QB ūüôā Certainly Josh Johnson is an intriguing pick. A Div 1A phenom with mind boggling stats, he threw for nearly 3000 yards, 43 TD’s and 1 INT last season. Like Gradkowski of a few seasons before Johnson is certainly a developmental pick and needs time to add a bit more bulk and work on some of his technical flaws. He has a tendency to throw slightly off his back foot and deep passes can go astray, to lead the Bucs offence with speedsters such as Dexter Jackson he’s going to need to sort this one out. I think Johnson is a lock for the 53 and i’ll be keeping a close eye on his progress come mini camps.

Round VI:

The Bucs bolstered the LB core with a prototypical Tampa 2 style LB in Geno Hayes. Reliant on speed Hayes is a good open field player but lacks the physical tools to stand up inside and to make tackles and get through the trash to the ball. With his speed he could be a useful ST player.

Round VII:

The final pick of the 08 draft¬†was Cory Boyd a RB out of South Carolina. Another intreguing pick in the¬†later rounds Boyd is a physical runner who also has good skills out of the¬†backfield. I think he’ll be pushing for a spot on the¬†team and vying with Kenneth Darby for that 4th RB spot

Written by UK Bucs Fan

May 9, 2008 at 11:51 am

08 Draft Review, Rounds 1-3

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The Draft is done for another year and after the dust has settled, it’s time to look if the Bucs addressed their needs. In the lead up to the draft every mock draft had the Bucs going CB or WR. The Bucs had been listed with what seemed like every CB and WR going and come draft day I felt it was nigh on impossible to call which direction the Bucs would go.

Round I:

It turned out that the Bucs felt that CB was the bigger need and drafted Aqib Talib. Despite the obvious lack of WR talent outside Joey Galloway, (maybe lack of talent is a bit harsh, maybe underperforming is a better term), I feel that the bigger need that needed to be¬†addressed¬†was CB. Outside of Ronde, the Bucs have journeymen corners and the Bucs needed someone that could step in opposite Ronde for 1 or 2 seasons and then hopefully take over Ronde’s mantle. They seem to have found this in Talib.

Talib, out of Kansas, is a big physical CB and at 6’1 will be able to compete well with the bigger body WR’s. He doesn’t have top tier pace but has great ability when the play is infront of him. The major concern is his ability to catchup once the plays go behind him, this play against KSU highlights this to a tee. His lack of speed was exploited by Nelson but hoping we won’t see him give up on the plays so easily in the NFL.¬†However, he’ll often get help over the top in the Tampa 2 schemes and hopefully we won’t see too much of this.

The things he does bring is an eye for the ball and and ability to make the big hit, 

For me the Bucs made the right call in drafting Talib and I’m looking for him to start come day 1.

Round II:

The Bucs really took a gamble late in Round 2. The next obvious pick looked to be WR, however a lot of the top tier WR’s had gone in with the early picks of Round 2. The Bucs drafted¬†what can loosely be described as a WR, but for me Dexter Jackson will be a KR and sometime WR.

Certainly the Bucs return game has been anaemic of late but to spend a Day 1 pick on Jackson when there were WR’s with Div 1 careers under their belts does seem somewhat cavalier.¬†Despite his off field antics Mario Manningham could have been a nice pick up or LSU’s Early Doucet was still on the board.

Jackson clearly has speed and the return skills but his catching abilities and lack of top flight competition in college make this pick a gamble for me. I hope to be proved wrong.

Round III:

Jeremy Zuttah, the RT out of Rutgers was the Bucs selection in the 3rd round. Despite being the anchor of the Rutgers line, many experts predict that he will be better inside at guard or even centre. This seems to follow the Bucs ideal that their linemen are versatile and could play a number of positions. I see this pick from 2 different perspectives. Either the Bucs don’t see Trueblood as the future at RT, (despite all the plaudits he¬†received¬†last season I didn’t think he played that well) or that Zuttah is seen as insurance for Joseph and Sears on the inside.¬†

Whether we’ll ever see him on the end of a lateral in the NFL, i’ll never know ūüôā

I’d grade day 1 as a C-, I think the Jackson selection has a large element of risk attached to it. For a Day 1 pick, with the real need the Bucs had at WR, he needs to contribute on both special teams and as a¬†receiver. Talib was a good pickup in the first and Zuttah provides the cover across the line that the Bucs need.

Next Day II..

 

Draft 08: Bucs follow up with T/OG,DT,QB,LB,RB

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So day 2 of the 08 Draft starts and Bucs look to build on their picks from Day 1

Jeremy Zuttah – T/OG – Rutgers.

With their first pick of the second day the Bucs picked OT/G Jeremy Zuttah from Rutgers. Zuttah anchored the right side of the Rutgers line and he didn’t allow any sacks over his last two seasons, as the line ranked second in the nation in 2007 and led the NCAA ranks in 2006 for fewest sacks allowed. So if the reports are to believed Zuttah projects better inside at G or even C. This versatility will provide nice cover for Joseph and Trueblood, and will hopefully push Trueblood for the starting RT position.

Dre Moore – DT – Maryland.

I like this pickup in the 4th round. Moore was rated the 5th best DT by Mike Mayock and should provide a big body on the interior of the D Line. He’s come throught late in his career and have decent Senior Bowls and Combine.

Josh Johnson – QB – San Diego

Yet another QB to add to the roster ! Sounds like Johnson has the stills to be a Gruden type QB, he’s got excellent athleticism and is a scrambler.

There’s some glowing praise on NFL.com and it could appear that the Bucs have found a potential sleeper in the lower ends of the draft

One of the game’s best-kept secrets, at least where the national media is concerned, Johnson has greatly impressed professional scouts that have actually seen him perform. Many will agree that he is one of the most exciting athletes to watch with the ball in his hands, bringing back memories of Michael Vick and Vince Young during their collegiate days.

That’s high praise indeed, only time will tell whether he’s the next VY or the next Ryan Leaf

Geno Hayes – ILB – FSU

Prototypical Tampa 2 linebacker, with the current depth of LB’s at Tampa it could be a struggle for him to make camp, certainly worth a training camp spot. Has good speed and because of his smallish frame would be more suited to an OLB role in the NFL. Has good open field pursuit skills and one thing the Bucs love, he’s got a great tackle technique.

Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 27, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Draft 08: Bucs go CB and KR…

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The draft has reached it’s halfway point and the Bucs have decided that Aqib Talib and Dexter Jackson were the players that best met their needs.

The first 2 rounds contained a flurry of trades with teams moving up and down to grab the player that they felt best suited them, at points it was hard to keep up with who was trading up or down and with who. Jacksonville traded up massively to snag Derrick Harvey and the Ravens traded back to pick up Joe Flacco.

Anyway here’s some breakdown on the Bucs first day picks

Aqib Talib.

Certainly Talib has the skill set to be a nice fit into the Bucs cover 2 scheme. He’s a decent size for a corner and plays with a lot of physicality. I’m hoping that he can improve his open field pursuit and tackling skills as this is key for the Bucs CB’s. The other red flag could be his off the field issues as he’s failed 3 drugs tests.


Dexter Jackson.

One word, Quick. Jackson clocked a 4.33 for the 40 and although he may not be an instant impact at WR he’ll add a lot to the Bucs return game. I feel this is a gamble of a pick, but if he turns out to have the return skills of a Devin Hester then it could be a great pick up. However, i’m not sure that spending a second round pick on a potential special teams star is that wise. The Bucs WR core is in need of a massive kick up the ass. With this pick there is extra pressure on Clayton and Stovall to really step up and help the evergreen Joey Galloway.

Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 27, 2008 at 8:41 am

Draft Day

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So the annual meat market that is the NFL Draft has rolled into the Radio City Music Hall in New York. In the gap between the Superbowl and Pre Season its the Draft that holds the avid NFL fans interest as they discuss such things as short shuttles, 40 times, character issues and the oft quoted “upside”.

So who are the Bucs likely to take with their first round pick, #20 overall ?

Opinions swing wildly from one player to another from one position to another dependant on what someone feels is the biggest need for the team or the likely Best Player Available (BPA).

Here’s a selection of mock draft picks for the Bucs

Mel Kiper – Aqib Talib CB

Rick Gosselin – Jonathon Stewart RB

Vic Carriucci – DeSean Jackson WR

Todd McShay – Aqib Talib CB

Foxsports – Devin Thomas WR

From just 5 supposed draftniks we have 4 different players and 3 different positions of need. Of the positions selected above WR and CB are the most pressing need.  The Bucs certainly have needs at CB, with BK having left and Ronde hitting 33 we have no heir apparent. I have seen Mike Jenkins mentioned alongside Talib as another potential draft day target.

At WR i’ve seen us linked with just about every potential round 1 prospect, these include Limas Sweed, James Hardy and Malcolm Kelly. Of all the WR’s i’d like Sweed from Texas if we did go WR. He has a nice blend of size and speed, although not quite a burner in the Galloway mould could develop into that #1 receiver for the future.

Throw into the draft mix, trades, both up and down, the first few rounds of this years draft promise to be real interesting.

Just waiting for Commissioner Goodell to take the stage and utter the words, with the 20th pick of the 2008 draft the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…..

 

 

 

 

Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Free Agency Week 2

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So the Bucs have carried on where they left off last week and continued to add to their roster. I have to admit I was shocked when we signed Garcia but when we signed Warrick “Stick a fork in me i’m” Dunn i was stunned. So heres a round up of this weeks Bucs FA activity.

 Signings:

Warrick Dunn

Yes we need help, but do we need a 33 year old RB with 10,000 yards on the clock ? Dunn has signed a 2 year deal and it certainly seems to indicate that the Bucs aren’t expecting Cadillac Williams back this season. Dunn will certainly provide a nice change up from Earnest Graham, and it leaves a lot of questions over the #3 RB spot. Looks like there will be a great battle between Pittman, Bennett and Darby.

Marques Douglas

Defensive End signed from the 49ers and should provide cover at the DE positions. More of a run stuffing DE he should be able to fill the same sort of run stuffing role that Greg Spires and Kevin Carter excelled in.

Antonio Bryant

Another signing that doesn’t thrill me. I can’t see that Bryant provides anything more than we already have at WR. I’ll wait for him to prove me wrong though ūüôā

Losses

Brian Kelly

BK has found a new home in Detroit. The terms of the deal haven’t been announced but I’m hoping the Lions haven’t given him more than 2p and signed him to a pay as you play. I just hope for the Lions that he can stay fit

Kalvin Pearson

It looks likely that Pearson may find a home in Detroit with BK. Nothing has been finalised yet but i’m expecting this deal to complete soon

Rumours

Despite signing Antonio Bryant the Bucs still seem to be in the market for WR’s as they have been rumoured to be actively pursuing DJ Hackett.

Kevin Carter has also been linked with the Raiders