2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Friday, February 29, 2008

First Big Splash - C Faine Now A Buc!

Pewter Report just hit the net with official word that Center Jeff Faine is now officially a Buccaneer. His contract is a lucrative $37.5 million deal (just over $6 million per year) and makes him the starter by default. Faine was the Saints' starting Center the last two seasons and is a younger version Wade, but a much better pass blocker and a slightly better run blocker. We should see a LOT less rushes getting success up the middle, and the Guards can better concentrate on their blocks rather than trying to help out an aging Wade, who was begginning to get blown off the line with regularity.

The Bucs really needed to address this position and Buenning was apparently too much of a risk in the Bucs' minds. Signing Faine is an excellent move, and should allow the Bucs to really form a nice pocket for Garcia, and even allow the Bucs to run up the middle with more success.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free Agency Almost Here

With FA almost upon us, speculation has been running rampant From Shockley, to Coleman, to Crumpler, to Samuel, a list of players are popping up under rumors and agent talk. Whether or not the Bucs will truly be a player in this FA period remains to be seen, but there are some good players out there that address some key needs.

The Bucs main off-season needs are Center, Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle, and Corner Back. Running Back and Defensive End are positions that could use some bolstering too, but we could get by with what we have in place now. The CB spot is probably the least worrisome of the needs, but could be addressed by a couple of corners that could hit the market, most notably Asante Samuel from New England. Rumors have him already signed to New Orleans, which would be tampering, but it could all be a ploy to drive up his value.

The Center position has some options out there like Faine and Newberry, but the Bucs may look to draft a Center while relying on Buenning to pick the position up. They could also resign Lehr or Wade, but it's not likely that they want to go with the centers they used last season as most of the pressure came from up the middle. Shoring up the Center position with a long term younger player, like Buenning, would be idle and would allow us to grow our strong OL unit to become one of the upper echelon units (wouldn't THAT be a refreshing first around here!).

Wide Receivers are going to be available in FA, with guys like Stallworth and Moss getting a chance to test the waters (though Moss may be planning to go nowhere). So the Bucs have some options out there. Javon Walker has been linked to the Bucs through trade, but I don't see that happening. If the Bucs don't pick up a top flight FA receiver, count on them snagging one in the first 3 rounds. There's some depth on day one in this draft, but it thins pretty quickly.

But one position I expect the Bucs to try and find some talent to address is the DT spot, more specifically the UT. The Bucs absolutely must get more pressure from the UT spot. If Haye is still here, he may do well enough to make some impact, but the Bucs will likely look to bring someone in that can be rotated through the DT spots to give the Bucs more consistentcy by keeping players fresh. Coleman looks to be the best option there as he can be rotated and kept fresh along with Haye, and we could see double digit sack numbers from the UT spot as a whole. If the Bucs can get the pressure level up to a more consistent level, and maybe add another 10 sacks from the line, then you will see this defense dominate again.

We'll see how the draft will start shaping up by the moves they make here during the next few weeks. Should be a more interesting FA period than last year with more players availble for their need areas. Hopefully, they continue to spend wisely, but make an impact move here or there.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bucs Resign Bennett

The Bucs have decided that Michael Bennett is worth bringing back to keep his speed and home run hitting ability in the back field. With Bennett resigning, it will be interesting to see if the Bucs target another RB in FA or the draft.

I certainly wouldn't be shocked if they drafted another RB in rounds 3-5, especially with a deep class this year. Cadillac isn't likely to play next year, as patella tendon tears take a long time to fully heal. And when it does, there is no telling how he will play. Bennett can definitely compliment Graham as a one-two punch, but Bennett will need to get to the point that he can be in on at least a third of the offensive plays. It was clear Graham got worn down a little bit late in the season, and will need to be rested at times. Throwing solid power and decent quickness at a team, and following up with good power and home run speed, can give the Bucs the mix they need to really burn defenses, especially a Bennett learns how to become a better receiver. But he is 29 years old, so the Bucs need to keep their eye on the future.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm Back...Bucs Finish Coaching Hires

Well, I'm pretty much settling into the new home now. The last month has been horribly hectic, and I just never got around to getting some posts up once the Bucs lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs. Needless to say, I've been itching to get some posts back up here, and now I'm starting to find a little time here and there.

With that said, I'll kind of make a note that the Bucs rounded out their staff by deciding to name Bisaccia the Running Backs coach and letting him and Dwayne Stukes carry the load together for Special Teams. Bisaccia has primarily been a Running Backs coach in college, so he's returning to his roots. We'll see if he can do the job or not. Quite frankly, I don't know what to think. His Special Teams have been Jekyll and Hyde-like during his tenure. I've thought the door should have hit him in the rear a long time ago, but we'll see how he does.

The Bucs also brought in Greg Olson to coach the QB's, reuniting him with Garcia. It shouldn't take long to see how he gels with the current staff. With a couple of offensive staff changes, it will be interesting to see the effect. The Bucs need to get more playmakers and let some of the young guys get on the field more, as Garcia alluded to after the Giants game. Free Agency is almost here, and the Bucs may have their eyes set on some well known targets, such as Dallas Clark, though some rumors have the Bucs targeting Shockley. Defensive line is likely another major target. Should be an interesting March.