In Earnest

Former Gator Earnest Graham scored two touchdowns versus the Bengals Monday night. Despite scoring the only touchdowns in the Buccaneers' victory Graham is still a long shot to make the team. His toughness around the goal line would have most certainly come in handy last year, and this year's depth at running back will be waiting until week four to surface.

Jamel White showed flashes of what he was doing during training camp. Fans turning to ask "who is that 22 guy?" The answer is a quick tailback that can slice and dice, he was supposedly too small for Cleveland. He has the chance to make an impression in the first three weeks of the season. That makes Graham's chances all the slimmer because he does not have good speed, and a healthy Mike Alstott will get the short yardage duties in real games. On the bright side, this exposure can only help a resume.

The race for safety saw action as well. Jermaine Phillips had three tackles, and an assist to go with half a sack. Scott Frost and Will Allen recorded two solos, John Howell had 3 and a helper that were overshadowed when he was hit in the chest with what would have been a gift interception. In the end it was in fact Phillips who solidified his chances the most.

Chris Simms looked sharp when he replaced a three for three Brad Johnson. Michael Clayton and Simms were clicking to the delight of those with foresight. Brian Griese had a similar completion percentage and yardage total to the game high passer Simms. The performance bought praise from Jon Gruden; he was as impressed as Buc fan.

Depth chart races aside the night was not without the haunting nightmare of missed field goals and an endless flow of yellow. Even scarier was the fact that it was the offensive line again. In these cases it seemed as if last year never ended. The Bengals did not play well, but a win is a win no matter when it happens in an NFL season.

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