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Tag:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Haynesworth spouting same rhetoric as before

HaynesworthPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With Albert Haynesworth’s first practice complete with his new Buccaneers teammates, he told reporters, including the St. Pete Times, "I’m excited. This is where I should have been like, three, years ago. I think all good things come to somebody who waits."

Forget for a minute that Haynesworth said basically the same thing at the beginning of September when he had just arrived in New England: "To me, it's a career-saving place for me to come. I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here."

The real question is why the Buccaneers -- and, according to PFT, ONLY the Buccaneers -- would put a waiver claim on a guy who’s seemingly still talented but tends also not to give a crap about anything that’s happening around him on the football field.  It’s because, as general manager Mark Dominik told NFL.com, the team was desperate after losing Gerald McCoy for the season with another torn biceps injury.

"If that doesn't happen, this doesn't happen, we don't claim Haynesworth," Dominik said. "The reality, we lost Gerald for the season, we're 4-4 and still in the thick of it, we've lost our last two and we're one game off the wild card. We don't think we're out of it.”

So, the Buccaneers decided to pick up a guy who, as my colleague Ryan Wilson puts it, has “previously shown great skill at lying motionless on the field, and his play in New England rendered him virtually invisible."

Dominik has done his homework on Haynesworth, watching multiple times all 134 of the plays involving Haynesworth this season.

"I saw disruption," Dominik said. "I saw strength, a finisher, a guy with the ability to put a lot of pressure on an offense. He's still able to be a penetrating force. He can hit it and go. I didn't see as much dogging it, but I did see the last play, where he played a 1-gap technique, and I can see why it got them frustrated. He opened up the run lane, and (Brandon) Jacobs walked in the end zone. That said, I didn't see a guy that didn't care. He battled and competed. I think he's worthy of an opportunity."

Apparently, he’s off to a good start. Coach Raheem Morris told reporters that Haynesworth picked up the defensive system quickly. He’s not sure if Haynesworth will play this Sunday, but Morris said Haynesworth could go about 35 plays if need be.

But there’s no doubt Dominik will be watching Haynesworth closely. Because, as we all know, Haynesworth’s previous two places of employment probably wouldn’t give much of a recommendation.

He did have one other interesting comment when speaking to reporters today. He said he didn’t sign with Tampa Bay in 2009 because there was too much water and too much son and he worried he couldn’t focus solely on football after he bought a big boat.
 
It’s a good thing he’s gotten past all those focus issues, eh?



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Posted on: November 9, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Ryan: 'Our concern wasn't Haynesworth' vs. Pats

'He’s not a guy we were absolutely concerned with,' Ryan said of Haynesworth (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It certainly doesn't speak well of John McCargo's NFL prospect when some 18 hours after the Buccaneers signed him, they released him for ... Albert Haynesworth. Comments Wednesday by Jets head coach Rex Ryan, whose team lost to the Patriots in Week 5 and faces them again Sunday night, won't make McCargo feel any better. And they should trouble the Bucs, too.

”To be honest with you, our concern wasn’t Albert Haynesworth,” Ryan said, via the Boston Herald. ”Whether you believe it or not, they got a lot of big guys. Vince Wilfork is the bell cow in that front. Andre Carter is a pick up they had. I think he’s playing well. Getting (Jerod) Mayo back. I don’t think he played in our first game. He’s a tremendous player.

”But Haynesworth, specifically, it’s not like we had to know where he’s at,” Ryan went on. ”He’s just a big guy. But they got a lot of good ones. Vince Wilfork’s the guy. i think that Kyle Love kid is underrated. And they got the big kid from Boston College (Ron Brace) back. Haynesworth does have some good ability and things like that. But he’s not a guy we were absolutely concerned with.”

These comments rank pretty low on the list of incendiary things to come out of Ryan's mouth, but just because he didn't make mention of Super Bowl rings or post-meeting snacks doesn't make them any less true. The Redskins gave Haynesworth a $100 million contract before the 2009 season because he had the ability to dominate the line of scrimmage.

The Pats only wasted a fifth-rounder to kick the tires on Haynesworth, but presumably they were hoping for something more than a guy who was so unimpressive that opposing teams barely noticed him.

Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik told Buccaneers.com that he watched "all 134 of Haynesworth's plays with NE twice before putting in a claim" so maybe he sees something that the other 31 teams missed. 

Haynesworth's previously shown great skill at lying motionless on the field, and his play in New England rendered him virtually invisible. Maybe Dominik has some thoughts on how to turn that perceived weakness -- disappearing for large stretches -- into a strength. Like, say...

The Invisi-Sacker: he's invisible ... and he sacks quarterbacks.

Worst football-playing superhero? Without a doubt. But at this point in the proceedings, that might be Haynesworth's best chance at salvaging what's left of his NFL career.

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Buccaneers claim Albert Haynesworth off waivers

Posted by Will Brinson

On Tuesday, the Patriots made the somewhat surprising decision to release defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. And on Wednesday, Haynesworth was claimed by the Buccaneers off of waivers.

To make room for Haynesworth, the Bucs released the recently-signed John McCargo.

This is shocking because, as we noted recently, there weren't many teams that were a fit for Big Al's style of not trying hard. But it does make sense because the Bucs recently lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the season due to a torn biceps muscle.

This isn't even the first time Tampa Bay's been interested in Haynesworth -- they flirted with the defensive tackle in free agency before Haynesworth decided to sign with the Redskins. (Presumably the whole "more guaranteed money with less guaranteed effort" thing was too valuable to pass up.)

Bucs GM Mark Dominik says he watched "all 134 of Haynesworth's plays with NE twice before putting in a claim" and that he planned on having Haynesworth in for practice as early as Thursday.

"I have had a chance to talk to him already and he was – as you would hope – excited and fired up," Dominik said, via Buccaneers.com. "He asked how soon we could get him a flight because he wants to be in tonight and go to practice tomorrow.  That was very encouraging."

Now Haynesworth joins a defensive line rotation that features young players like Brian Price, and will hope to shore up the Tampa rush defense.

There's upside to be had here, because a big close to the season for Haynesworth could net him another contract with a team. But given that he couldn't even get things going in New England, football's version of the Betty Ford Clinic, it's hard to imagine him playing hard for Tampa now.

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Posted on: November 6, 2011 11:19 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Report: Gerald McCoy lost for season again

G. McCoy apparently has torn his biceps muscle (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For the second straight season, Gerald McCoy, the Buccaneers first-round pick in 2010, apparently has been lost for the year after tearing his biceps muscle.

That’s what players told reporters, including the St. Petersburg Times, and the loss for Tampa Bay -- which played the past two games without McCoy, struggling with a bum ankle -- is a tough one for the Buccaneers defense.

“It’s unfortunate,” cornerback Ronde Barber said. “You hate to see that happen, especially with a young player. We’re a different team without him.”

McCoy was a No. 3 pick in 2010, but, assuming he goes on IR, will have played only 19 games in the first two seasons of his career.

“Hey, stuff like that happens, man,” defensive tackle Brian Price said. “I feel bad for him because he had the same injury last year, just on the other arm. My heart goes out to him because I know how hard it is being on IR. I just hope he gets better.

“We can’t count our losses and be sorry for ourselves. We just have to keep pushing.”

This might be a good good chance for Da’Quan Bowers to get more playing time, but at this point, he’s considered undersized to play much on running downs.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Saints turn in Bucs for misleading injury report

We'll have to see if Raheem Morris is as happy with Sean Payton as he appears in this picture (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you expected many NFL teams to play nice and be completely honest with their weekly practice reports and their Friday injury reports, you’re probably a little naïve. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been accused in the past of not listing those players who actually should be on the injury list or vice versa, and the Colts weren’t exactly forthcoming about Peyton Manning’s neck problems from last year (he wasn’t listed on the injury report at all).

Call it gamesmanship or, you know, cheating but if there was a league-wide investigation into how many teams misused their injury reports for their own gain, there’s a pretty good chance plenty of franchises would be found guilty.

And if another team thinks it can get ahead by turning in a future opponent to the NFL, it’s not out of the question that it will do exactly that.

Which brings us to Saints coach Sean Payton admitting Friday that he turned in the Buccaneers for their failure to make any mention of the sprained thumb suffered by quarterback Josh Freeman in the Bears game.

"Listen, I think when your quarterback's on NFL Network with a splint on his thumb, normally he's on the injury report," Payton said, via WWL TV. "At least take the splint off before you go on NFL Network, right?"

Funny about that: Freeman magically appeared on Tampa Bay’s injury list soon after, though Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said the team had no worries about Freeman’s health and whether he could play this weekend.

"That's why we reported it, because the league asked us to,” Morris said, according to the St. Petersburg Times. “(Freeman) sprained it in the Chicago game, came in and practiced during the bye week, and didn't miss anything this week."

Considering the Saints and Buccaneers face each other this Sunday, we can’t wait to see the postgame handshake/fireworks show. Or the two could just laugh about it and chalk it up to the old, “Ah, whatcha gonna do?”

“It was probably a little gamesmanship,” Payton said. “But you gotta list those guys, the same way we do.”

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 9:27 am
 

Pick-Six Podcast: NFL Week 9 Film Room

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 9 of the NFL season is upon us and that means it's time to break down some film with Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit.

(You can read Andy's breakdown of Pittsburgh-Baltimore right here, as well as his breakdown of Tampa Bay-New Orleans right here.)

Andy and Will discuss whether or not the Steelers can be as effective defensively without their top linebackers, who's better between Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, what the Giants can learn from the Steelers' win last week as they prepare for the Patriots, whether or not we should sell the Saints and buy the Buccaneers, if we're worried about Philip Rivers and the Chargers, and if the Chiefs are playing a trap game this week.

All that, plus much, much more below.

Just hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


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Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 9:35 am
 

Film Room: Saints vs. Buccaneers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Back in Week 6, the Bucs beat the Saints 26-20 to move into first place in the NFC South. They enter the Week 9 rematch coming off a bye and once again playing New Orleans for the division lead. The Saints are coming off a surprising loss at St. Louis in which they didn’t fail to show up, but rather, simply got outplayed.

An analyst loves nothing more than to break down a matchup involving two teams that recently played each other. The previous film notes are fresh and applicable. Let’s look forward by glimpsing back.


1. Blitzing Freeman
Gregg Williams is the most aggressive blitzing coordinator in the league. It’s not just that he blitzes frequently, it’s that he blitzes with six pass-rushers (as opposed to five). And they’re fast defenders. The Saints’ nickel defense offers a lot of speed. Strong safety Roman Harper essentially serves as a swift linebacker.

Actual linebacker Jonathan Casillas is a lightning bolt when going downhill. He wouldn’t thrive as a traditional read-and-react run-defending linebacker, but as a read-and-attack blitzer, he’s fervid. Something that stood out in the Week 6 game was that when free safety Malcolm Jenkins dropped into the box, he almost always blitzed. He too does so with speed.

The Bucs offensive line did a phenomenal job at picking up New Orleans’ blitzes in the last meeting. However, the nature of those plays left Josh Freeman with minimal room to step into throws. This revealed that a lot of Freeman’s throwing power comes from his lower body (this could be why he’s a more dynamic passer outside the pocket on the run). Big as Freeman is, his ball floats a bit when he has to rely solely on his arm.

2. Saints coverages
Knowing what they know about Freeman’s arm, it will be interesting to see what coverages the Saints design to allow their corners to jump routes behind the blitzes. A floating ball is an interception opportunity. Tracy Porter is particularly good at route-jumping from his off-coverage techniques in the slot.

The Saints should feel confident in Jabari Greer’s and Patrick Robinson’s abilities to stay with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn in man coverage outside (neither wideout is particularly quick or fast). If the outside is handled with no help coverage, Porter will have more freedom to take chances from the inside.

Of course, if WE know this, then so do the Bucs. Look for them to design a few routes that could take advantage of Porter’s aggression. The fourth-year corner has been somewhat vulnerable against downfield patterns this season.

3. Running Backs
Earnest Graham started for the injured LeGarrette Blount in Week 6 and wound up rushing for 109 yards on 17 carries. It was plain to see that Graham, with his decent quickness and tempo-changing ability, gave the Bucs’ rushing attack more dimension than it has with the lumbering, bulldozing Blount. And because Graham was a good pass-blocker and receiver, the Bucs could camouflage their run/pass play-calls with him on the field. With Blount, it’s a safe bet that the play is either a between-the-tackles handoff or a basic three/five-step pass.

Blount is healthy now. It would have been interesting to see if some of his spotlight shifted over to Graham this week. We’ll never know; Graham tore his Achilles in London two weeks ago. Tampa’s No. 2 running back is now Kregg Lumpkin. And Tampa’s running game is now one dimensional.

The Saints are also dinged up at running back. Rookie Mark Ingram missed last week’s contest with a bruised heel. Veteran replacement Pierre Thomas played in his stead. Thomas’ screen pass receiving prowess gave the offense a little more dimension, but his lack of phone booth power became a problem when the Rams swarming front seven congested the lanes against New Orleans’ pull blocks.

Style-wise, the Bucs’ front seven is similar to St. Louis’ and, while not great against the run, it’s capable of invoking similar disruption.



4. Facing the Saints offense
Any team that plays the Saints this season should closely study what the Rams did last week. It was simple, really. The Rams started the game with high blitz frequency but backed off after it quickly became apparent that New Orleans’ offensive tackles could not block the defensive ends.

With pressure coming out of a four-man rush, Rams corners played tight press coverage against the Saints receivers, which took away the quick routes that Drew Brees and this offense love. On the inside, the linebackers defended the underneath lanes and the safeties jumped lanes from over the top (that’s traditional two-deep coverage). This mix of man and zone principles requires physical strength at cornerback and speed at linebacker and safety.

The Bucs have the personnel to mimic this gameplan. Rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who has a terrific combination of speed and power for trench play, destroyed left tackle Jermon Bushrod in Week 6. To be blunt, Bushrod gets destroyed often. He’s probably the worst pass-blocking left tackle in the league.

Right tackle Charles Brown had been equally as shaky. He improved his mechanics over the past few weeks but still got abused by a surprisingly explosive and always-fundamentally sound Chris Long last week. It’s a moot point now as he just landed on injured reserve (hip). The unspectacular but experienced Zach Strief is back from injury and once again starting. He’ll be facing Bucs end Michael Bennett, who is not beast but is having a career-year. It’s a matchup that favors the Bucs.

As far as the coverage goes, Tampa has drifted from its Cover 2 tradition and gone to more of a man-based scheme. Their corners are hit-or-miss jammers at the line of scrimmage but all better athletes than those the Rams put on the field. The Bucs linebackers have enough speed to perform in underneath coverage, but the same is not true of the safeties.

A lot of people think Tanard Jackson is an “oh wow!” success story because he picked off a pass in each of his first two games back from suspension. But those picks came off fortuitously tipped balls. On a down-to-down basis, Jackson has shown limited range in coverage.

5. Defending Jimmy Graham
This is always the $64,000 question for defensive coordinators. In their last meeting, the Bucs treated Graham as a wide receiver and defended him with Ronde Barber. This posed a major size differential that the Saints took advantage of (Graham finished with seven catches for 124 yards).

But don’t be surprised if Tampa uses the same tactic again. It fits well into the rest of their defensive scheme. And you can play nickel against the Saints’ base personnel because the Saints don’t have a dominant ground game right now. Tampa’s nickelback, Barber, is an excellent run-defender anyway. Besides, the more overall speed the Bucs have on the field, the better.

After all, they also have to deal with Darren Sproles.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 9 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:39 am
 

Ex-Bucs QB King: Gruden 'is inherently dishonest'

Posted by Will Brinson

Keyshawn Johnson had some interesting things to say about Jon Gruden, a fellow employee at ESPN and his former coach, when he recently ripped the environment in Tampa Bay.

On Tuesday, former Buccaneers quarterback and current radio host Shaun King said on WQYK-AM 1010 (via JoeBucsFan.com) expounded on some of that talk, ripping Gruden pretty thoroughly.

"Jon has a major character flaw in that if he's not the center of attention, it's a problem," King said. "It is what it is. Ala the 'Chucky face.' You look at the NFL Films, it's just ironic, anytime that he's mic'd up or filmed, the 'Chucky face,' you know, it's showcased a lot more than normal."

King went on to say that Gruden "wasn't a guy that a lot of his players were endeared to" and that the coach-turned-broadcaster "is inherently dishonest."

That's a lot of mud that just got slung Gruden's way, but if anyone has actual knowledge of Gruden's behavior with the Buccaneers, it's King, who led the team to an NFC Championship Game.

That being said, you could pretty easily argue that all of mankind is "inherently dishonest" and that none of the traits that King described will keep Gruden, who recently signed a five-year extension with Monday Night Football, from being a popular name rumored as a candidate for open coaching positions around the NFL.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com