Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio:
You knew it all along: And there you have it. Your proof that all of us skeptics are out of touch with reality. Your proof that the Buccaneers were just a couple of players away from being a postseason contender. Your proof that the defense is not yet old, and the offense is starting to grow. Either that, or the Vikings really stink.
Meet the new hoss, same as the old hoss: Simeon Rice gets a sack. Derrick Brooks gets an interception. Shelton Quarles forces two fumbles. Be as giddy as you like about the youngsters on offense, but the season will still be determined by the performance of the old guys on defense.
A clarification: Unlike last season, Michael Pittman did not begin 2005 on suspension. It just looked that way.
Filling up the Caddy: Yes, it's true Pittman did not touch the ball other than a dropped pass. And Mike Alstott's lone carry was a failed attempt near the goal line. But there's no sense bellyaching. For the first time in the Jon Gruden era, the Bucs have a running back capable of carrying a heavy load. And the Bucs should ride Cadillac Williams as far as he will go.
Get-out-of-jail-free card: Next time you want to complain about officiating, please remember this game. The offensive interference call against Vikings tight end Jermaine Wiggins was truly awful. It cost Minnesota a touchdown, and completely changed the dynamics of the second half.
Five reasons the Vikings won't reach the Super Bowl
5. Mike Tice can make more money as a scalper.
4. Without Randy Moss they have no ganga. I mean karma.
3. Still playing Jim Kleinsasser.
2. Daunte Culpepper getting diet tips from Warren Sapp.
1. Without Onterrio Smith, their specimen cup is half-full.
Five implications of the game
1. I'll grant you, the five turnovers were impressive, even though several were flukes. But the more notable accomplishment was the way the defense shut down Minnesota's running game. The Vikings gained 26 yards on 16 carries, and almost half of that was Culpepper scrambles. If the run defense has tightened up after last season's embarrassment, there is hope.
2. Gruden loves to incorporate the tight end in his offense, which means Alex Smith will be among his favorite toys. Alex Smith gets a 23-yard TD in his NFL debut. You know how many times the Bucs had a touchdown pass of at least 23 yards to a tight end last season? One.
3. Just guessing, but Jameel Cook may get more playing time as a lead blocker for Cadillac.
4. Brian Griese is not an all-or-nothing quarterback. He doesn't beat you with his feet, he won't often throw it over a safety's head. His success is based on managing an offense and taking care of the ball. As such, 14 interceptions in 11 starts is not acceptable.
5. Matt Bryant for team president.
Five final words
Gee, I miss Derrick Deese.
The St.Petersburg Times 12 September 2005