2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bucs Whack Bolden

Juran Bolden, CB, along with a few other players of no note, was released from the team today to make room for FA's they plan to sign that weren't drafted. With the Bucs now stacked at the corner position, the Bucs probably felt that Bolden was no longer in their future plans. Remember that they now have Barber, Kelly, Buchannon, Davis, Cox, Zemaitis, and their draft pick Hamilton (along with some guy named Hendricks). Needless to say, the backfield was busting at the seams. The Bucs aren't likely to go into the season with more than 5, maybe 6 corners.

It's going to be an interesting year for this defense. With Buchannon and Davis, the Bucs now have some serious speed at corner. Buchannon has already begun to play more like he's capable, showing his stuff late last season as he unseated Bolden for the right to start across from Barber while Kelly was on IR. Now if Davis can resurrect himself, the Bucs may have the speed to hang with anyone in the secondary, as Safety Dabby Piscitelli brings excellent speed deep as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Well, if you like defense, and you like speed, you got the full Monte Kiffin this weekend. The Bucs not only picked up some solid players at LB, S, and that guy we got for DE, but these players all have that killer element: Speed. Both Black and Hayward are sub 4.5 guys and can fly to the ball, bringing power to the hit as well. Piscitelli is a very fast safety who will be complimented by the slower, but still quick Jackson. Both of these guys are excellent hitters and are good ball hawks. Jackson plays Cover 2 very well, and could still be a corner, but is more likely to be a Safety for us.

The Bucs also selected some other guys of relatively unknown credentials, and we'll see how they pan out. I was disappointed that the Bucs took Jackson instead of Marcus Thomas, whom the Broncos later picked up in the 4th, but Jackson is a very good player and will impact our secondary. But that left the Bucs to pick up Greg Peterson at DT, and we'll see if he can make the team or not. I'm a little luke warm on this particular pick.

The Bucs' picks in the 7yh round are...bleh. OT Chris Denman isn't likely to be anything more than a back-up. The Bucs' first compensatory pick was CB Marcus Hamilton, who has so-so speed, but has a good knack for the ball, and can likely be a pretty solid Cover 2 corner, but he's not likely going to make the team, as the Bucs are stacked at CB after FA. Then the Bucs' second compensatory pick, and their last pick in the draft, was RB Ken Darby from Alabama. He's a decent RB, but he's not likely to make an impact on this team, and will have to fight hard for a roster spot.

With the exception of the 7th round, I think the Bucs did an outstanding job adding team speed and nailing some key needs. In the end, I think the Bucs will look back at this draft, combined with the FA period, as being a big turning point for the future of this defense. The future linebacking corps and safeties are going to bring speed and ball instincts to the Bucs, which should lead to many years of big plays and frustrated QB's.

Overall, despite missing out at DT (in my opinion), I give the Bucs an A- for this draft. They appear to have done a much better job on day 2 this year, than in the previous 4 years. Of course, we won't be able to truly grade this draft for another 3 years, but it's always fun to stamp a letter grade on it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Draft Day 1 Wrap:

First, I must apologize for not having a constant blogging of the draft (which I had originally intended to do), but I've been quite sick the past couple days and needed to just rest. Nevertheless, it's time to take a look at the Bucs' first day picks and analyze them.

In the first round, at number 4, the Bucs stood pat and took DE Gaines Adams, who is a guy of similar ability to Rice, but probably thought of as a slightly better run stopper that Rice was regarded as coming out of college. Run stopping is, however, considered to be his weaker point, but one that Kiffen and Coyer both believe can coached up. While I would have preferred seeing the Bucs land either Johnson or Thomas, Adams is a very strong pick that will instantly upgrade our pass rush from either end.

In the second round, the Bucs made a move that I initially questioned since Kalil was still available. That move was when the Bucs took G Aaron Sears. However, when I sit back and think about it, it appears the Bucs feel comfortable that Buenning has a shot to win out the Center position, and Sears is, quite frankly, one helluva powerful and quick guard. He's a road grader, and you can certainly expect there to be running holes in front of him. That's something the Bucs desperately need. Clearly Sears will upgrade the LG spot. If Petitgout stays healthy, the Bucs could have a very solid offensive line all the way across, especially if Buenning, or someone else, beats out Wade. There is still a risk at Center, however, and that could make this a pick that comes back to hunt us, but we'll see.

With their second pick in the second round, which closed round two, the Bucs selected SS Sabby Piscitelli. The safety pick is one with excellent speed (4.44 40), good size, and solid pass coverage skills. He's good at run stuffing, but not great, and will need to work on being more physical when attacking the runner, but that shouldn't be a problem. He's a solid pick up at Safety, though he may have been drafted a little high.

In the third round, finishing off their first day of selections, the Bucs picked up LB Quincy Black. While Quincy is extremely athletic and very fast, he's also very raw, and might be a big reach in the third round. Now he ran a 4.48 40 and goes 6 2" 240lbs and managed a 40 vertical (that's just 2 inches less than Calvin Johnson, by the way), which means he has some freakish athleticism. But will he be able to learn how to handle the run, being more physical and shedding blocks? The Bucs seem to think so. If they are right, and Quincy can get a little tougher against the run, and learn to better use his skills, he could be a gem pick up. Right now, he's a head scratcher, as most had him going on the second day. It's hard to pass up that kind of speed and ability to play in coverage, though, as those aren't really as coachable as the areas he's lacking are. Coaching to play the run is always easier than being able to coach coverage ability, as that requires a lot more natural ability. We'll see if this pick works out. I hope it does, as a lot of the Bucs' reach picks haven't managed to do that recently.

All in all, I'd give the Bucs a "B" on day one. A good day, but not exceptional. There are some players I would have preferred, but the Bucs addressed some key needs. Now I hope they take a shot tomorrow and draft Marcus Thomas in the fourth round. Why? Because if his head is on straight, which I think it is, he'll be a dominate force at the UT spot for years to come, and will make Gaines Adams that much better, and vice versa. The Bucs also need to look at finding a return specialist, and good depth players. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quarles...Say Hmm...

Well, Quarles came out and said that his injuries aren't a degenerative hip, nor head injuries (this contradicts his comments to the local rags). But, when the little woofer asked him if he could pass a physical, Quarles said "No comment". I think it's clear he's got an issue. What it is, is still anyone's guess. But, nevertheless, all of this continues to fuel the Gruden/Allen haters that flock to the dumb dog. It's really sickening because there really isn't any good way to let a player like this go. Can you imagine what it was like when the 49ers whacked Montana? Or Rice? What about all the other stars that have been whacked by their long term teams?

This is the NFL, and sometimes you have to move on. The fact that Quarles has missed 10 games during the last 4 seasons, and that he turns 36, probably has them somewhat concerned and they felt they needed to move on now before they took the additional cap hit that keeping him would have entailed. It's unfortunate, but it's going to happen to every player that stays in the game longer than a team thinks they should. The only way these things become easier is if the player retires. Barring that, the player is going to get cut, and people are going to scream and moan about it.

Quarles is truly a class act, and I hope he ends up on our staff at some point. I also hope he doesn't play much longer, if any, for the sake of his health. Of course, players have an immortality complex about them. I don't think we ever want to see him permanently injured because he played this game for too long.

Good luck, Quarles. May we see you back on this team in another role whenever you decide that you are done playing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quarles Released:

What was thought to be likely, finally happened. The Bucs released Quarles on the grounds of his previous failed physical for which he had gotten other opinions on. Over the past few years, Quarles had struggled to stay on the field, missing numerous games due to injury. In '05 he managed to stay relatively healthy and had one of his best seasons. Unfortunately it appears that he's simply too banged up, and the Bucs feel they no longer want to risk his health, risk the loss of their MLB for games, and the cap hit that comes with the signing bonus he would be due if they retained him.

While some believe it's part of some big scary conspiracy to "rip the team apart", it's really just an unfortunate fact that Quarles, at 36 (which he'll be in September), is starting to really feel the effects of aging. I'm sure Quarles probably felt he could still play, but the risk was only going to get greater. It's sad to see this moment, as he's been a mainstay with the team for a decade, but, unfortunately, time takes them all.

Hopefully the Bucs will bring him back as a part of the team in either a coaching or promotional role. He's been a fixture on the team too long to not consider keeping him involved.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Draft Almost Here

Well, there hasn't been a whole lot going on other than rumors. The Bucs have been said to be doing everything from trading down to trading away the entire first day slate of picks for the number 1 pick. One trade, that is all rumor, but might possibly occur, is for the Bucs to trade Rice to Detroit to move up to number 2 where they are guaranteed a shot at either Calvin Johnson or Joe Thomas, or both. The Bucs don't seem to really covet any of the defensive players, at least at number 4. So if the Bucs don't get a shot at CJ or JT then I look for them to try and trade down. If both of those guys are off the board, then it means that at least one of the coveted QB's is still there, and there will be teams looking for a shot to move up and nab said player.

I still think the Bucs' most likely pick-up is Calvin Johnson. Thomas isn't likely to slide down to the Bucs, though anything is possible. Either player would look good in Red and Pewter. Johnson would give Gruden that T.O. type receiver without the attitude and the speed to run with Galloway. Johnson would make it a lot easier to hit deep balls, ala Randy Moss style. Joe Thomas would give the Bucs an anchor at LT for many years, and actually help the Bucs get their Tight Ends out on patterns more often. Quite frankly, I would be happy with either of these two players. I'm just hoping the Bucs avoid picking up a QB. I'm not sold on either Russell or Quinn, and think the Bucs have other needs for now.

Just a few more days until all of the speculation is over. Once the draft is done, I will review the picks in full and their possible impact to the team. With the Bolts out of the playoffs, it's going to be a somewhat long off-season, and the draft is always a good way to break things up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Schedule Out As Draft Nears

Well, the schedule finally came out, and it looks somewhat favorable for the Bucs with only two division games in the first 9 games, with a November BYE week, which is much better than last year. There also appears to be no real threat of a real cold game. The Bucs mostly play at 1 on Sundays, again, with the road trip to San Fran on Dec 23 being a night game on NBC. No MNF (no biggie).

Now we can look forward to the last couple of weeks before the draft. The rumors are swirling for the various teams. I still think that either Joe Thomas or Calvin Johnson will be there when the Bucs pick, and that individual will be the player the Bucs select. It does appear, however, that Johnson may actually be higher on the Bucs' draft board than Thomas. We'll see. Don't pay any mind to the rumors of the Bucs trading up, as that's not very likely. The Bucs need all the picks they have to rebuild this team.

The Bucs are also going through the first OTA's. So far Quarles and Kelly aren't there, but BK has missed OTA's before (he lives in California)and Quarles is still undergoing evaluations by a number of Doctors, reviewing his current health. I have a feeling that the Doctors are telling him to retire and he's trying to get someone to tell him otherwise. I suspect that he may well retire this off-season. If he does, the Bucs will recover over three million in cap space, but they'll lose their starting MLB. It would give Ruud the chance to finally start regularly and move on, though. Ruud was pushing Quarles hard last year, and it's possible that Ruud could beat him out of the job even if Quarles came back healthy. So we'll see.