2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Friday, June 30, 2006

Jay Fiedler Signs With Bucs

Well, the Bucs felt, with Luke McCown going down for considerable time, that they needed another QB to shore up the ranks. In this case, they decided to go with one of the only decent veterans left in Free Agency. Jay Fiedler is a solid QB, though unspectacler, who's managed to win more games than he's lost, going 37-23. His completion percentage is a couple ticks under 60, and his TD to INT ratio is nearly 1:1 (69 and 66). While not great numbers, he's a solid QB that can help the team if Simms goes down, assuming he picks up the offense quick enough.

What may help Fiedler out is the fact that he played under Gruden in Phily, when Gruden was the offensive coordinator there. So he's familiar with the offense, and should be able to pick it back up without too much difficulty. The biggest question mark is whether or not he'll be fully healthy by the time the season starts. The Bucs expect him to be fine in about another month or so, but the shoulder injury he has directly affects his throwing. So if he's not up to par, he'll be throwing ducks out there, much like Brad Johnson did in '04 before being benched. I'm pretty good with the signing overall, as it gives us solid veteran depth, but I would prefer not to have to try it out. It will also be interesting to see who sticks around when the cut to 53 hits, and whether or not someone will be displaced by McCown later on in the season, should he come back from the injury this year.

Pewter Report Slashes Subscription Prices!

If you're a true fan of the Bucs, Pewter Report is a must! Well, if you've been putting off getting a subscription because of price, they've now slashed it in half, down to $24.99 for the magazine, and $36.99 for the magazine plus on-line Insider content. Quite the deal if you ask me. I don't generally pimp for others, but the Pewter Report is an excellent magazine, and well worth the price, in my opinion.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bucs Break Until Camp

With the last OTA finished off yesterday, the Bucs have now broken until camp, which starts July 27th at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. I hope to get out there once and bring back some pics, but we'll see. In the meantime, the players can think about their performances and how they did. Pewter Report has a daily report for Insider subscribers, and they go into some detail on who did what and how the players looked.

So far, things seem to be looking good from Simms' standpoint. I have a feeling we are going to see Simms really break out this year, having gotten those starts under his belt last season and proving to himself that he can go out there and play in the NFL. The big key for the Bucs will be how well the offensive line does, and it's something I will be paying a lot of attention to during Pre-Season. The Bucs need to get their pass protection down, because Simms, with this corps of receivers and Smith at Tight End, can do some serious damage if he gets time to throw the ball. Just over a month to go and things will start to kick up, and the Bucs' news will become more frequent.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

McCown Out With Knee Injury

Unfortunately, it looks as though the force is not with Luke (sorry...I couldn't resist) as his knee appears to have been damaged enough to warrant surgery. This means that Luke will be out for at least some of the 2006 season. Quite frankly, I suspect that he may be put on IR if he's not ready to go full bore by the end of September. This does give Gradowski and Rattay the opportunity to both make the roster, as McCown appeared to have a solid lead on the number 2 spot.

Hopefully, McCown will heal up fully without any lingering issues, as he seems to be the one with the closest arm to Simms. In this league you always need a viable back-up as starting QB's rarely go an entire season without at least one game out.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Clayton Returns?

Michael Clayton, seen here as a rookie at the 2004 Training Camp, has been putting a lot of effort in during the off-season to get back into form. For those who may have noticed, last year he looked like he was eating well, if you catch my drift, and was unable to attain the speed required to create separation.

I have seen pictures and video of him now, and heard comments on his current condition, and it's all quite positive. Apparently he's back in the kind of shape he was during his rookie year. Comments from Pewter Report and other sources seem to indicate that he's looking good at there during practices as well. With the Bucs having drafted Stovall, who would be a classic Flanker in Gruden's scheme, much as Clayton is, the message was sent loud and clear, and apparently listened too. If I had to put money down, I would bet we'll see a much quicker and better handed Clayton this year, which will make the Bucs much more dangerous in the passing game.

Last year the Bucs missed the rookie form of Clayton, having to switch Galloway to Flanker to help keep the offense going. If Clayton is back on top of his game, with Stovall and Boston here to possibly make big impacts as well, the Bucs could go from having a rather weak and shallow corps, to one of the best. But it all starts with Michael, because his blocking skills are needed on the field, and he can't be out there if he's not a threat to catch the ball as well. It severely limits what Gruden can do with the offense. In just 6 more weeks, we'll be able to start seeing him in Training Camp and get a real feel for what he's likely to accomplish. Personally, I can't wait to see him get back out there. He was great to watch and '04, but was so bad last year (receiving wise), that it nearly made us forget how good he was as a rookie. Can't wait!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bucs Announce Training Camp Schedule

You can get the details at Pewter Report or at Buccaneers.Com. May this slow June end soon!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bucs Sign Ben Nelson AFL ROY

The Bucs decided to dip into the Arena Football League and pick up Ben Nelson, WR (6'3" 188lbs.), who was the AFL Rookie of the Year. Buccaneers.com has the story here. So what does this mean? Well, the kid put up impressive Arena numbers, but it's hard to translate that into the NFL. Could be a contender for a spot, but I'm not so sure. The Bucs are likely to keep 5 or 6 receivers and Galloway, Clayton, and Stovall are locks, while Hilliard is close to a lock. That leaves 1 or 2 spots left. I believe Boston will retain a spot if he shows he can stay straight and play up to his billing. That means that guys like Brackins, Shepherd, Warren, and Russell will be fighting for a spot that may or may not be there, or to unseat Boston.

Doesn't look too good for Nelson unless he comes out and shines. I tend to believe the Bucs will keep 6 this year, so you basically have 15 receivers now battling for 6 spots, with 3 near locks, and 2 awefully close to it, in my opinion. Should be intesting to see who wins out. One thing is clear, the Bucs look to be putting themselves into the position of not having a drop off if a receiver, or two, gets injured. Depth is key in this league. If Clayton and Boston can return to the top of their respective games, and Stovall turns out to be the solid flanker he looks to be, the Bucs could go into this season with one of the better receiving corps out there. Time will tell.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Schedule Up

I've posted the schedules on-line in both PNG and CorelDraw format. Most browsers and graphics programs can handle PNG's, but for the best printing results, go with the CorelDraw version if you have CorelDraw 8.0 or higher. If you have any problems, please post a comment about it, and I will attend to it.

The links are above the posts. Select the link for the file you want.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fridge Schedule

For those who have been to my original site, you know that, for years, I have traditionally posted a schedule that can be printed out and put on the fridge, cubicle wall, locker, wherever. I will continue to do this, and will host the file on my old Road Runner site, with a direct download link from here. As always, I will produce a CorelDraw version (which is the program I create them in) and a file version, probably PNG, maybe JPG. Either one will work for all users. The best one to use is CorelDraw, as the output is vector produced so there are no artifacts or aliasing in the output. You do, however, need CorelDraw 8.0 or higher to print that version. Look for a post here in the next week or so. It may be up as early as tomorrow, but no later than 2 weeks.

Seats Are Red

I thought I would quickly chime in about the seats for RJS. Anyone living in the area or seeing the Bucs on TV would likely have noticed that, during the last couple of seasons, the red seats had faded to a horrendous pink color. Needless to say, the seats were guaranteed, by the manufacturer, not to fade for 30 years. The Bucs sued and won a lawsuit against the manufacturer last year and new seats were ordered to be installed. Unfortunately they couldn't be installed before the start of last season. As I passed by taking pictures of the new training complex, I got to see that the new seats were indeed installed. They are a bright Buccaneer red and make the stadium look new again.

So for those who have been concerned about the seats, and haven't yet heard, they are indeed red again, and look to make the image of RJS as a top notch stadium stand once more.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Healthier And Stronger Team?

When Jon Gruden came to the Bucs in 2002, he hired on Johnny Parker to be the Strength and Conditioning Coach. During that season, one that was capped with a berth and victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Bucs suffered few key injuries (McFarland doesn't count, in my book). In fact, it was one of the healthiest teams the Bucs had fielded and the obvious result was a championship. Of course, a combination of talent and coaching had a lot to do with the Bucs' memorable season, but a team can't win if it's best players are frequently injured.

After the season, Gruden dismissed Parker and hired his guy from Oakland, Garrett Giemont. During the next three seasons, the Bucs repeatedly suffered numerous injuries, including a rather large number of ailments such as hamstring pulls. Last season was better, but still not great. I had personally mentioned on my old site, and to friends, that I felt Giemont was a big key in the injuries. Yes, some injuries do just happen, but many of the injuries the Bucs had came from a lack of proper strength and conditioning for the NFL. Last season Mike Morris was given the opportunity to mix in some work on certain areas and the Bucs were able to reduce the preventable injuries to some degree, but not as much as I feel they could. So when the season ended, the Bucs chose to dismiss Giemont and promote Mike Morris to the Strength and Conditioning Coach position. Once this move was made, word finally started leaking out about issues players had working with Giemont. Issues that clearly shows that he wasn't getting these players into top condition.

So what does this season hold, in terms of conditioning? So far Mike Morris has been implementing a lot of different techniques to really work both the strength and quickness attributes, as well as throwing in exercises that emphasis heavy conditioning. Many of the things being done have been reported on by Pewter Report.com, so I encourage people to go read their insider content to get a better picture of what Morris is doing. It's suffice to say that the conditioning program appears to be working. Most of the information I've seen shows that Morris' program is having a real solid impact on the players, and the players seem to get along with him better. One thing I expect, with Giemont gone (thankfully!), is that the Bucs will suffer far fewer injuries of the type they had been suffering during the last 3 years. Injuries will still happen, but when you are properly conditioned, and have strength in the right areas, injuries drop dramatically. If the Bucs can have a season, health wise, similar to 2002, they may have a similar result.

New One Buc Place

While I was in the neighborhood, I thought I'd take a picture or two of the current construction scene for the new Bucs' training complex which will replace One Buc Place (click any pic on this site for larger version). The new, state-of-the-art facility is quite large and has 3 fields going in place behind this building. In the front is the signature piece; a large, soon to be all glass, football structure, which will leave no doubt what this facility is for.

The current plans, last I heard, were for the Bucs to move into this facility when they come back from Training Camp in Orlando. Since so much of the Bucs equipment is moved during the Training Camp session, it represents the best opportunity for them to simply set the equipment back up within the new complex. That would, of course, save them an additional moving step should they hit their target date. The facility has had a lot of work done in the last two months, so I wouldn't doubt that they'll have it ready by the time the Bucs break from camp in August. But it will certainly be tight. When I took these pictures there were hoards of construction workers all over the place. Behind the building, the bases of the goal posts are already up. They just need to mount the poles on each side of each goal post. I couldn't quite tell if the fields were in place yet or not, as I'm sure they want to wait until all the heavy equipment is finished being used in the back. The picture below is the side of the building from MacDill and MLK. You can begin to get a feel for the size of the facility. The main building is probably larger than the entire One Buc Place, fields included.

The Boston Signing

Since I've just start posting again, albeit on this new site, I have yet to comment on the David Boston signing (or the draft, for that matter). So I thought I'd throw in my few comments on the situation.

Clearly Boston has had issues in the past. A combination of injuries and an attitude problem with a former coach, or two, makes one wonder if this guy is even worth looking at. At one point, he had become so heavy, he was more in the class of a tight end. Well, he's got his weight down, and his recovery is well enough along that he's been practicing. If, BIG if, he gets his act together, and can be more like the player that started off great for Arizona, then he could make a rather big impact on this team. His speed is back up since he removed the weight and now its a question of whether or not he decides to make the choices that will lead to a successful endeavour with the Bucs. He's a lot like Russell in the sens of low risk/high reward. If he doesn't pan out, then no big deal for the Bucs. If he starts playing like an all-pro again, then the Bucs got a steal, at least for this season. The only thing I worry about is Boston getting a spot just base on how he played in the past. We have some young receivers trying to make their way onto the squad, and some of them deserve a look and at least a chance for a roster spot. As long as Boston doesn't get a spot over someone more deserving, then I'm OK with bringing him in and seeing if he can bring another dimension to this receiving corps.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stovall's Mother Passes Away

In some bad news to start off this blog version of my site, Maurice Stovall's mother, Cynthia Collins-Stovall, died from Cancer on May 24th. The South Bend Tribune picked up on this on June 6th, and it's just making it's rounds, as I have not seen this on sites for the Tampa Trib or the Times.

Stovall is the 3rd round pick of the Bucs' 2006 draft. The wide receiver is expected to play the flanker position and challenge for the number 4 or number 3 receiver spot.


As you can see, I've begun creating this site to replace my original Bucs' news site that was hosted on Road Runner. The reason for doing this is simple: time. Due to limitations in place for Road Runner home pages, I had to do a lot of manual editing to get the look and feel of the site the way I wanted it. Simply creating a post like this involved cutting and pasting the last post's HTML code to a newer block on top, then replacing the text with the appropriate information. Adding a picture was certainly no picnic. But even a slight slip could screw the formatting up, or accidently change the font in use. It also led to silly mistakes such as leaving the date from the copied post on the new one. And this was just the start.

Editing and publishing of the former site was done through Frontpage, an editor that was easy to use, and whose FTP feature worked correctly with Road Runner. Dreamweaver MX was a much better editor, though it required more advanced skills to use (no barrier to me, but maybe to others), but, most importantly, it would not connect with Road Runner, requiring me to use WFTP to load the site up, since Frontpage would screw with the format. Not an ideal situation. Nevertheless, posting through Frontpage represented some interesting challenges at time, but was a process that, when working normally, took 4 times as long, on a fast day, to post as it takes for a post to be published on Blogger. With my son requiring ever greater amounts of attention, my time is now limited in when I can have a chance to post on my site.

Well, now I can simply click a link to go to the Blogger Dashboard, click the blog I want to edit, and throw up a post in a minute or less. A post like this would take roughly 4-5 minutes to format and publish. On Blogger, I just type, and it takes 5-10 seconds to get the post onto the net. It also handles archiving former posts, and provides a comments section. In general, I hope this move will allow me to start writing about the Bucs again without spending more time on formatting and publishing than on the actual content. In order to add graphics to this site and start sprucing it up, I will likely need to make some posts that have nothing but the graphics used on this site. While some sites, like Photobucket, allow you to upload graphics there for use elsewhere, there are usually bandwidth issues, not too mention that I might have this site up, but the photo site is down. That's less likely if I have everything stored here. The template I chose at least has the general feel of my former site, though lighter in background colors, and an inverse of text on background. This site will be modified over the course of the next month or so as the season get's closer.

I'm still deciding what to do about features like The Talking Plank, and the Stats pages. I could maintain them as off-site links, leaving them hosted where they have always been, or drop them all together. I have to way the amount of time and effort used to do those. I'm inclined to drop the stats pages, and just do The Talking Plank. We'll see. At the very least, I'm going to continue to blog about the Bucs and keep the news and opinion flowing.

Until my next post...

Speaking of graphics...ignore these!