Tom Jones' Two Cents
Seeing as most Bucs UK members were watching the game live via various means thanks to the likes of Alex Howells and Nick Houllis, Tom Jones' comments on the TV coverage are pretty relevant this week.
Host T.J. Rives took a little shot at USF football on the pregame radio show. When talking about the condition of the field at Raymond James, Rives mentioned USF played a game against Rutgers there on Saturday. "Well, USF sort of played,'' Rives cracked about USF's 49-16 loss. "It was Rutgers that did most of the playing.'' That'll leave a mark.
Tim Ryan is becoming one of my favorite pro football analysts. For starters, he rarely says anything flat-out stupid — something most analysts in every sport can't help but do with all-too-often frequency. Ryan isn't especially funny but doesn't try to be. He isn't overly opinionated but doesn't say outlandish things just for shock value. He wasn't a great NFL player, so he doesn't club you over the head with a bunch of "when I played … '' quotes. Ryan goes about his job quietly, but he is consistently good. He does his homework, has a well-rounded vocabulary and is excellent when breaking down the X's and O's. His analysis Sunday on how to defend the run — he complimented Sabby Piscitelli on one example and criticized Ronde Barber on another — was top-notch.
The 'no duh'' quote of the day
Okay, how many dumb penalties is Bucs offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood going to take this season? His unnecessary personal foul late in the first quarter deep in Vikings territory might have cost the Bucs a touchdown. That led Fox analyst Tim Ryan to state the obvious: "His aggressiveness gets him in trouble sometimes.'' Would've been nice right there if Fox had pointed out some of Trueblood's other incidents this season, including taking off his helmet in a game against Dallas, as well as some extracurricular activity in the Bears game.
That Ray Edwards hit on Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia was about as dirty as they come. Garcia was totally vulnerable and had taken more than two steps after releasing the ball when he was blindsided by the vicious cheap shot. "I have a feeling (Edwards) is going to be a little lighter in the wallet,'' Fox announcer Sam Rosen said. "That's brutal,'' Fox analyst Tim Ryan said. "Guys get fined when it's close. That's not even close.''
Fox sideline reporter Chris Myers dropped a good piece of information by relaying that referee Mike Carey told both coaches and benches to turn it down a notch on the late hits and that more shenanigans could result in ejections. Want to send a message? Actually eject someone and you'll see teams turn it down a notch.
What does that mean?
Former Bucs star Warren Sapp is a refreshing and outrageous voice (would you expect anything less?) on the NFL Gameday Morning, the NFL Network's pregame show. He said this on Sunday about Bucs 305-pound tackle Donald Penn, above: "He's blocking the sun right now.'' Is that supposed to be compliment or an insult?
As frustrating as it might have been to watch for Bucs fans, kudos to Fox for dialing up the replays that showed Jerramy Stevens and Davin Joseph did, indeed, commit holding penalties that nearly derailed the Bucs' first drive of the second half. By the way, after B.J. Askew's touchdown plunge, the Bucs became the last team in the NFL to get points on their first second-half drive.
Questionable call of the day
Not that Bucs fans are complaining, but don't you have to question Vikings coach Brad Childress going for it on fourth and 3 from the Vikings 27 with 2:29 left and two timeouts plus the two-minute warning? Seems like there was too much time and too far to go. It worked out because the Vikings got the ball back but only because Matt Bryant missed a 46-yard field goal.
So the Bucs play the Lions next. Yeah, the Lions team that is 0-10. If you're a Bucs fan, you might be breathing a sigh of relief. Or more likely, you're starting to get really, really nervous.
Tom Jones, The St.Petersburg Times 17 November 2008