Harvin to the Vikings

April 25, 2009

Percy Harvin didn’t fall out of the first round after all.

The Minnesota Vikings picked him up, which isn’t a bad place. They’re close to contending, but the black hole at quarterback looms large. Harvin and Peterson make two of a great Big Three, but they won’t go over the top without something better than Tavares Jackson under center.

Cornelius Ingram is probably the next Gator off the board.

Meanwhile, my Bucs didn’t just fall for Josh Freeman, but they traded up to get him. Raheem Morris coached at K-State so that’s why he likes Freeman, but that’s only going to make it messier when he doesn’t work out.

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Psst, New England

September 8, 2008

Hey guys. I know we don’t know each other, but I’m a Bucs fan. You know that team that won the Super Bowl the year after you got your first? Yeah, that one.

Chris Simms is not the answer, even though you think he might be. Weak arm, doesn’t play tough, gets trapped in indecision. Just stick with your backups that already know the system.

This is not the quarterback youre looking for.

"This is not the quarterback you're looking for."

You’d be better off reuniting Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper. Just saying.


The Draft: How Did the Bucs Do?

April 28, 2008

First Round: Aqib Talib, CB Kansas

The Bucs definitely had a need at corner, and on the field Talib fits in well with Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme. He tends to take some chances, but the safeties will be there to erase mistakes. He has the potential to be a playmaker and really rack up interceptions.

So why was he still around at 20? The all important character concerns. He’s failed drug tests, been late to meetings, and shown an all around lack of maturity. The Bucs once upon a time took a chance on a guy like that, and Warren Sapp turned out all right.

If the organization can get his head screwed on straight, Talib could be a mainstay of the defense for many years. If not, he’ll be a total headache, and the fans will probably complain about them not taking CB Mike Jenkins from USF.

Second Round: Dexter Jackson, WR Appalachian State

The last Dexter Jackson to play for Tampa Bay went on to become the Super Bowl MVP. This one has a long way to go before he gets close to that, but he’ll get a shot at playing since the team had a need at wide out.

He comes into the NFL with two strikes against him – he went to a smaller school and he played in a read option spread offense. The former is not as big a concern since App State was better than a lot of I-A teams. The second is more significant. The pure West Coast Offense that Jon Gruden runs is incredibly complex, whereas the read option is a very simple offense.

Jackson has the speed to become a productive slot receiver, but I would not expect him to become that yet in just his rookie season.

Third Round: Jeremy Zuttah, OG Rutgers

You can never have too much depth on your offensive line, and you could do a lot worse than a guy who’s been opening lanes for Ray Rice the past couple years. He played both guard and tackle in school, showing some versatility. As I understand it, he’ll need to bulk up and get stronger to become a starter.

It probably would have been better to take a higher quality lineman in the second round and pick up a receiver in the third. It was clear that receivers were undervalued in this draft since none went in the first round. The team should have realized that a future slot receiver like Mario Manningham, Early Doucet, or Andre Caldwell would be available with this pick. All but Doucet were still there when the Bucs made this selection.

Fourth Round: Dre Moore, DT Maryland

I don’t know much about this guy. He’s big, but apparently he’s got no consistency, technique, or instincts. But hey, he’s got a burst!

Defensive line depth can always help, especially when blitzes are so infrequent in the Tampa 2. Kiffin has a good track record on drafting linemen, so I’ll trust him on this one for now.

Fifth Round: Josh Johnson, QB San Diego

I know there needs to be a long term plan for succession of Jeff Garcia. Chris Simms is not the answer; neither is a McCown brother. I also suspect neither is a guy from San Diego taken in the fifth round. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but I have no idea what this pick was for.

Maybe Gruden saw that he’s a mobile quarterback and decided to take a flier on him. The whole point of my satirical piece about his secret draft card, though, was to make fun of his habit of stockpiling QBs. I never expected him to actually take one. Looks like the joke is on me.

Sixth Round: Geno Hayes, LB Florida State

You can call me a homer for not liking this pick, and that’s fine. I don’t care. I just don’t want a guy who antagonizes his biggest rival’s quarterback and then forgets to show up for the game. He had only one tackle against Florida, and he got to watch the guy he talked trash about account for 5 TDs in an easy 45-12 win.

I’m sure he played well over his career, and the Neanderthal offenses he saw in the ACC are what he’ll see in the pros. Still, he’s an idiot. I don’t want idiots on the Bucs.

Seventh Round: Cory Boyd, RB South Carolina

He’s a tough guy, and he can play. He won’t be a lead running back, but he’ll probably play a part in the committee that will end up at the position when Cadillac Williams inevitably gets hurt.

What I don’t get is this: if you wanted a backup running back, why not draft Mike Hart in the sixth round? He’s a tough runner, a class act, and he fumbled once in his entire college career (not counting the Citrus Bowl against Florida). He’s also not an idiot, which Geno Hayes most certainly is.


Jon Gruden’s Secret Draft Card

April 24, 2008

Thanks to a little birdie I know down in Tampa, I have obtained a copy of Jon Gruden’s secret draft card. These are the guys he’s targeting in each round, with his commentary edited to add coherence and reduce profanity. It was a bigger task than you’d think.

Round 1 – Joe Flacco, QB Delaware

Man, what a cannon of an arm this guy has. He’ll be a heck of a lot better than that noodle-armed wuss Chris Simms. When does he come off the cap again? I need to ask [Tampa Bay GM] Bruce [Allen] about that.

Round 2 – Andre’ Woodson, QB Kentucky

He’s a big dude from the SEC, kind of like JaMarcus Russell. I can’t believe we could get in the second round what Oakland got with the first overall pick last year! Good thing I left those losers behind.

Round 3 – Erik Ainge, QB Tennessee

He’s tall and looked great in the Senior Bowl. He’s got to be a winner since his uncle won a couple championships. That reminds me, we need to lock up Chris Simms for another couple years. He comes from winning stock, and you can’t let that get away.

Round 4 – Colt Brennan, QB Hawaii

This guy put up incredible numbers out there in a pro-style offense rather than that new age spread garbage. Plus he took a pounding in the Sugar Bowl and kept on going. We need some more toughness around here from the backup quarterbacks, instead that weakling Simms who couldn’t even keep his spleen in one piece.

Maybe I can pawn Chrissy off on Al for another third or fourth rounder. That Booty kid from USC looks pretty sharp.

Round 5 – Dennis Dixon, QB Oregon

He’s electric, and he showed some real grit trying to play on a half-torn ACL. We could do some real damage playing him as a change up for a drop back passer like Chris Simms.

If we could put receivers on the field from sideline to sideline, it would open up some great running lanes for him. We could even give him the option to run or throw from the same set… this is getting good. I need to call up Bruce and see what he thinks about this.


Off-Topic: A Note on Gradkowski

October 9, 2006

I know, I know, it’s another Bucs post, but I figure if I talk about Chris Simms going out and Bruce Gradkowski replacing him, I should at least mention something on how the rook did.

As it turns out, he did just fine. Statistically, he had an excellent day, going 20/31 for 225 yards and 2 TDs. He did have one major bad play, a fumble that the Saints would convert into a touchdown of their own. Still, for a 6th-round draft pick making his first career start in his rookie year, and on the road to boot, that’s excellent. He even showed some mobility that caught the Saints by surprise a little bit, though it won’t take long for defensive coordinators to see it and catch on.

“There is a lot of promise in that young guy. He played his brains out,” Gruden said. “I like everything about him.”

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Gradkowski said. “There’s a lot of good that came out of this game. Guys made great plays, the receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen were blocking their butts off … running the ball well.”

The Cadillac finally got back on track, and Gradkowski made some plays, but a Reggie Bush punt return ended up winning the Saints the game. The AP writeup for the game, which is where the above quotes come from, spent most of it fawning over Bush, and that’s fine because most of the coverage of the game did. Lost in all of that though was a rookie quarterback who made a very impressive debut and, if he can keep it up, looks to have a very long career in the NFL.


Off-Topic: Chris Simms

September 24, 2006

This has nothing to do with the Gators, but the Bucs are my favorite NFL team. Forgive me, but this is too weird not to say something.

Chris Simms had his spleen removed today after having it rupture against the Panthers today. Now, I am not now nor have I ever been a Chris Simms fan, but I certainly don’t want to see this. He’s basically done for the season since he’ll be out 2 – 3 months. The Bucs aren’t going to the playoffs after starting 0-3, so I think they should keep Simms out even if cleared to play for say, Week 14 or 15, just to make sure that he fully recovers from this.

Based on what happened today, Bruce Gradkowski will become the starter over Tim Rattay. I think Gradkowski is going to be fine too. He won’t be anchoring anyone’s fantasy team, but he’ll be solid. I don’t think he’ll be like Ben Roethlisberger coming out of the MAC (Gradkowski went to Toledo), but I like his chances of staying poised at the end of games more than I like Simms’ chances.

Anyway you look at it, this was a bad day for the Bucs. They lose on a last-second field goal to fall out of the playoff race after just three games, and the starting quarterback ruptured his spleen in the process. You just have to wonder when Jon Gruden will start falling into Larry Coker territory – on the hot seat because though he won a championship with someone else’s players, he hasn’t done anything since. At least they’ll get another high draft pick.


Weekend Primer

September 15, 2006

A few thoughts on the weekend while watching the acronymically-challenged University of Kansas and the Toledo (former) Fighting Gradkowskis. KU Kansas QB Kerry Meier looks pretty sharp for a freshman, like a young, more mobile Jay Cutler, really. Plus he looks like a less beefy A.J. Hawk. The poor Toledo QB Clint Cochran keeps getting knocked around, but it’s a close game so far in the first half.

And speaking of Gradkowski, he should be starting ahead of Chris Simms for the Bucs. Tamps needs to trade Sims while there’s still the illusion that he’s not the next Trent Dilfer. Please Bruce Allen?

While watching football I try to pick out two good games per time slot so I can just use the channel-switcher button on the remote rather than worry about flipping all over the channels. At noon, there’s really no choice. You’ve got the Battle of Iowa, and if you’re in the South, Arkansas and Vandy. Arkansas has been disappointing, and Vandy had looked relatively good for 3 out its 4 halves this year, so it could be pretty close at the end.

At 3:30, the good games get started. One of the games has to be Michigan and Notre Dame on NBC and the other LSU and Auburn on CBS. Two of the three regional ABC games look good, with OU vs OU and Miami at Louisville. Michigan State and Pitt is a dog though. I might make an exception and check around the three networks, but forget it if Louisville or Notre Dame starts to run up the score. I have more faith in Michigan keeping it close than I do Miami though.

Yes, the ESPN announcers just had one of them hit the other with a foam sword. Ah, weekday night games. I think Fowler and Herbstreit maybe called about 10% of the plays in the second half last night with West Virginia running it up on Maryland. But I digress.

In the awkward in-between time after 3:30 and before prime time, you’ve got Texas Tech at TCU at 5:30 on OLN (bringing you exciting Mountain West football all year!) and Rice at Texas at 6 on The Deuce. That’s it. There really should not be a reason to leave OLN in that time.

At night, I will be watching Florida at Tennessee at 8 on CBS, and only that game. There will be no flipping because it’s too important. The only other game to watch is Nebraska visiting the University of (soon-to-be) Surrendered Championships. But really, it’s all about the Gators and Vols regardless of ESPN’s ridiculous hype of a blowout in the making.

But speaking of USC, it’s looking really bad. Even if only one of the incidents that Yahoo is detailing is true, it should be enough to take away his eligibility for last year. That would not just wipe out his stats, but also make him ineligible for the Heisman. If all of it is true, then USC probably would have to forfeit all of its games from the past two years, lose scholarships, and go on probation.

It’s hard for me to believe that if the allegations are true that USC had no knowledge of it. If so, Pete Carroll would have to be even stupider than Bill Simmons makes him out to be. The NCAA doesn’t give out national titles, but it would be hard for the BCS to keep recognizing an 0-11 team as its champion in 2004. Same for the AP.

Once again, nothing has been proven yet. However, the NCAA needs to come down hard on USC if this is all true. The reports indicate that the Trojans’ program has been infested with agents for the past couple of years. That is huge trouble. All Florida fans know this after the Tank Black scandal in 1996. If the NCAA wants to keep up its policy of atheletes being amateurs, then agents should not be allowed anywhere near teams. Not at practice, not in the locker rooms, not anywhere. This all illustrates why.

USC is a glamor program, and one of the biggest moneymakers for college football today, so I am thinking that almost nothing will happen. It’s sad, but true. In reality, an example should be made of USC. I’m not suggesting the Death Penalty like SMU got, but at least 3 years of probation are in order. I’d feel better about five. And while they’re at it, they should ban agents from making any contact with athletes until they are going into the draft. They have the full Spring semester after the season to pick an agent and work on deals. There’s no reason for them to deal with them before then.

(As a side note, Toldeo is looking a lot better and Meier is looking a lot more like a freshman now. At least it’s a pretty good game.)