Thoughts from the pre-season opener in Kansas City
So having sat and watched the game over breakfast this morning (sorry but staying up all night for pre-season games is too much even for me), some random thoughts and jottings from the seventh shutout the Buccaneers have inflicted in pre-season franchise history.
Talk about making a first impression - Michael Koenen boots the opening kickoff through the endzone for a touchback and the defense forces a three and out.
For Josh Freeman, a Kansas City homecoming having grown up and played college ball in state. And how much time did he have in the backfield before running for the opening touchdown? He looked ready for opening day and his interview with the overly-made-up Laura Okran (is there any other kind of sideline reporter?) showed the maturity we all know he has.
The Buc backfield still worries me. LeGarrette Blount still has the same stutter step in the backfield and no real moves although he does look like he can catch the ball now. Rookie Allen Bradford showed me nothing at all. Anyone still got Cadillac's number on speed dial in case it doesn't work out in St.Louis? Thank heavens for Earnest Graham.
Nice initial impact by the defense with Mason Foster making a splash in the middle and Quincy Black causing a fumble. Geno Hayes still has the ability to over-pursue most plays but did anyone really miss Barrett Ruud making a tackle eight yards downfield? And all the tackles weren't eight yards downfield so the line was doing a better job too.
Having the Fox commentary crew of Thom Brennanman and Brian Billick was the icing on the cake. Long may Billick never get another coaching job because he is so far and away the best colour analyst in the game. And how good is former NFL official Mike Pereira?
Look at who was missing for the Bucs - Arrelious Benn, Kellen Winslow, Aqib Talib and Gerald McCoy amongst others. This is one seriously talented team.
Great comment from Billick on how the Bucs have progressed - "Raheem Morris even has me drinking the Kool-Aid now". Where are all those people who were slamming Raheem and the front office in the middle of 2009 about him not knowing what he was doing? Think there are around 25 other NFL teams who would rather have him coaching their teams right now?
Foster definitely has enough tattoos to play in the NFL. He and back-up offensive lineman Brandon Carter are definitely trying to compete with Jeff Faine in that category.
Josh Johnson has enough moxie and ability to play in the NFL. And he is only No.2 to Freeman. I will take JJ and his abilities over any other back-up in the league right now. And he is OK with the situation too meaning there is no kind of disharmony that someone like a Jeff Garcia would cause. JJ will get his payday and chance in the NFL soon enough and good luck to him when he does.
Robert Malone will lose his punting job to Koenen but is putting together enough highlight reels to earn a job elsewhere in the NFL. Unlike Devin Holland who flattened a punt returner albeit without a ball. Clear your locker out son, you're toast.
Talking of toast, anyone notice Sabby Piscitelli on the Chiefs' roster. He even had a pass defensed when a Freeman bullet deflected off his helmet whilst chasing a receiver.
Yes that was Jeremy Trueblood sniggering on the sideline when his competition for the right tackle spot, James Lee and Demar Dotson, both spent the second half getting called for penalties. But he needs more tattoos to fit in with the rest of the starting line.
You've been great, enjoy the Thompson Twins.