Just some random thoughts about the team after the conclusion of tonight’s game against the Jaguars:
Josh Johnson’s development continues
The backup QB was 9-14 for 122 yards and a TD. Once again, he looked calm and in total control of the offense. That said, I would like to see more than three first half first downs. I think they got a fourth on a defensive holding call. The attitude and smooth ball delivery (minus the Stevens overthrow) was encouraging. I think the play tonight of both QB’s clearly showed us who the #2 QB is.
Reggie Brown didn’t earn a roster spot tonight
Man that was disappointing. He was targeted at least four times in the game and was unable to snare a single reception. I’ve still got him on the roster because I figure the Bucs would like a non-Clayton veteran presence at the position. He sure didn’t help himself tonight.
Earnest Graham is still a great red zone threat
The move to FB might not keep Graham from being a big offensive factor this season. His second quarter score was a nice reminder of how great of a weapon he can be down in close. Graham was a hard goal line / short yardage runner as a lead back, and I could see that happening again this year with the way the Bucs have been working Adam Hayward and Roy Miller at FB. Imagine a formation with Miller and Hayward both lining up in the backfield as lead blockers for Graham. Fire them cannons!
Barrett Ruud needs to get physical
Bravo for the INT and 80 yard return! We definitely need to see more momentum shifting plays like that from our MLB, but more importantly in my opinion, once the regular season starts, Crash needs to be Ruud’s middle name. He’s never been a great thumper, but I feel that he’s going to need to expand his portfolio if he hopes to continue his South Florida residency. Nothing stuck out from tonight’s game in this area, but I feel his physicality is going to be key to this defense’s success.
Derrick Ward’s roster spot should no longer be tentative
The Bucs have to be scouting other teams and be ready to pounce when cuts are made across the league. I know Ward had a couple of nice runs in tonight’s game, but that’s not enough for me to change my overall thoughts on the guy. I think he’s got to go. They certainly will be able to find a more effective, cheaper alternative in free agency. My top target would be Mike Goodson if the Panthers cut him, and I’m also fond of James Davis with the Browns. I’ll try to spend a little more time on this area this week and see if a little more digging reveals more possibilities.
OL needs to get better at handling pressure, establish a pocket
I’d have to do a rewatch to provide much analysis on this, but from watching the action live, I continue to be unimpressed with the resistance being put up by our front five. There’s little pocket for the QB to work in, and it resembles more of a thin rectangle than a circle. I saw Zuttah get zooted a few times, but he wasn’t alone.
Oh, and if anyone happens to know where Kyle Moore was while his team was playing football tonight, please let me know. I’m so glad he’s “earned” that starting job of his.
My revised 53
This is how I’d fill the 53 spots:
QB (3) – Josh Freeman, Josh Johnson, Rudy Carpenter
FB (1) – Earnest Graham
RB (3) – Cadillac Williams, Kareem Huggins, FA
I think they’ll have a third back to go with Cadillac and Huggins, but I’m not sure who that player will be. I just don’t think Ward is worth the $3 million plus he’s due. Question is – will the Bucs admit the mistake in signing him by cutting him in the second year of his deal? Mike Goodson (Carolina) and James Davis (Cleveland) would be my top targets if they were to be cut by their teams. The Bucs should be burning the phone lines trying to deal Ward to a team like Houston or St. Louis this next week.
WR (6) – Mike Williams, Maurice Stovall, Sammie Stroughter, Arrelious Benn, Reggie Brown, Micheal Spurlock
Same six, but Reggie Brown certainly didn’t cement anything tonight.
TE (3) – Kellen Winslow, Jerramy Stevens, John Gilmore
OL (9) – Donald Penn, Jeremy Zuttah, Keydrick Vincent, Jeff Faine, Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood, James Lee, Jonathan Compas, Demar Dotson
DL (8) – Stylez White, Kyle Moore, Tim Crowder, Michael Bennett, Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Roy Miller, Ryan SimsLorig gets bumped this week. Again tonight he broke containment and bit on misdirection. I think he could use work on the practice squad.
LB (6) – Geno Hayes, Barrett Ruud, Quincy Black, Adam Hayward, Jon Alston, Dekoda Watson
No change, but Niko Koutouvides had a nice game tonight.
CB (5) – Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber, EJ Biggers, Elbert Mack, Myron Lewis
No change; guessing Derrick Roberson is a numbers victim and makes the practice squad
S (5) – Tanard Jackson, Sean Jones, Sabby Piscitelli, Corey Lynch, Cody Grimm
It looks like Grimm will make the team, and I’ve got to think Lynch has earned a spot as well. The question is – will the Bucs cut ties with Piscitelli? Personally, I think that would be a foolish move at this point. He’s a pissed off dude right now, so why not try to utilize that and see if you can more out of him? Demand growth? Yes. I just feel that a team lacking in talent should be a bit hesitant in dropping a former starter whose problems are mental not physical in nature.
ST (4) – Andrew Economos, Connor Barth, Brent Bowden, Clifton Smith
Practice squad candidates:
George Johnson, DE
Erik Lorig, DE
Preston Parker, WR/returner
James Ruffin, DE
Lee Robinson, LB
Chris Pressley, FB
Rendrick Taylor, FB
Ryan Purvis, TE