Two cents on Bucs-Saints game
Maybe instead of jacking up teammates at the rookie symposium, first-round pick Aqib Talib should have been brushing up on the first chapter of "Defensive Backs for Dummies," which states, "Never, ever let a wide receiver get behind you!"
Down 7-0 right out of the chute, the Bucs go to the "no-huddle" offense in the noisy and chaotic Superdome. "Very ambitious with this crowd to come out and run a no-huddle,'' Fox analyst Brian Billick said Yes, some might say "ambitious." Others might use a different word, such as "asinine."
It's true that LB Barrett Ruud seems to be our little secret here in Tampa Bay, but geez, he did enough last season to have his name pronounced correctly, didn't he? At game's start, Fox analyst Brian Billick kept calling him "Rud" — like "mud.'' It's Ruud — like "How rude of you not to pronounce the name of the leading tackler on one of the NFL's best defenses correctly.''
Thankfully, he figured it out by the second quarter. Billick, in his Fox debut, was okay. Just okay. At his best moments, he showed a little humor and insight. At his worst, which was much of the time, he relied too much on the game notes and simply stated the obvious. It was his first game and he knows his stuff, so expect him to get much better.
RT Jeremy Trueblood wrecked a Bucs drive in the second quarter with a personal foul/late-hit penalty. "A bonehead move by Trueblood,'' Fox analyst Brian Billick said. Know what? I didn't have a problem with it. Trueblood was sticking up for teammate Jeff Faine, who was getting worked over in the pile by a Saints player who should have been penalized for starting all the funny business. So Trueblood came in and gave one little shove. Hey, this is the NFL. Telling an opponent, "Uh, pardon me, my good man, but when you get a chance, could you please remove your fingers from my teammate's nostrils if it's not too much trouble'' doesn't usually do the trick. What game was he watching?
I'm a Terry Bradshaw fan, but are we sure the Fox analyst was actually watching the Bucs-Saints game when he said at halftime, "The Saints have dominated this football game''? Really? At the time, the Saints had eight first downs compared to the Bucs' seven. The Saints had run 34 plays for 186 yards (5.5 average), while the Bucs had 28 plays for 145 yards (5.2 average). The Bucs had created a turnover and had twice as many return yards. And the Bucs had a three-point lead. Bucs fans should hope they get "dominated'' like that all season.
New Fox analyst Michael Strahan, below, doesn't think much of the 2008 Bucs. In fact, he didn't think much of the 2007 Bucs either. They made the playoffs last year. This year? "I don't see it,'' said Strahan, who then kicked sand in the Bucs' faces. "They were the one team that we played in the playoffs last year that we weren't afraid of. We went into Tampa Bay and knew we were going to win that game. Now you have Jeff Garcia, who hasn't played well in the preseason, and I think his feelings got a little hurt, which I can understand, with all the Brett Favre talk.''
Radio talk shows today certainly will have a few callers pining over Brett Favre, below. Should the Bucs have gone after Favre? No way, says Fox pregame analyst Jimmy Johnson. "Why is it that everybody gives Jeff Garcia no love?'' Johnson said. "All he does is win, protect the ball and go to Pro Bowls. The last three years he was fourth in the league in QB rating, and he's fourth all time in interception avoidance. For them wanting to replace him with Brett Favre was wrong. Jeff Garcia gets no love. He's a heck of a quarterback."
It doesn't matter how hard you hit a guy (as Bucs DB Jermaine Phillips hit Saints TE Jeremy Shockey), if the guy holds onto the ball for a first down (as Shockey did), you don't get up talking smack (as Phillips did).
Did you see that play when Bucs WR Joey Galloway ran deep, then looked like the most surprised man on the planet when the ball bounced near him? Yeah, you're the team's best receiver, it's the fourth quarter, your team is behind and you're 40 yards downfield. Why on earth would you expect the ball to be thrown to you?
Coming into the season, RB Warrick Dunn had caught 463 passes for more than 4,000 yards. He made a nice catch for an 11-yard gain in the first quarter Sunday, then didn't catch another pass. For all the dinking and dumping the Bucs do, you would think they would toss a few more his way.
Suddenly, next week's game against the not-so-hapless Falcons doesn't seem like a gimme anymore.
Tom Jones, The St.Petersburg Times 8 September 2008