Postscripts — Aug. 18 blog

This is "Postscripts," my personal blog. Here, each day, I'll write on random topics, both Bucs related and non-Bucs related. This blog also includes links to the top Bucs stories on the Web. Why? Because, well, I can never write enough, and sometimes the things I learn on this beat can't be fit into a story. So, until the carpal tunnel sets in, I'll keep typing.

Saturday, Aug. 18

Preseason thoughts

I'm not much of a preseason football junkie. It's actually everything I can do to watch my favorite team, the Cowboys, play a preseason game. I know it's necessary, but it's just so anti-climatic when it means nothing.

But, of course, for fantasy owners, the preseason has a lot of value. So I put together some random thoughts, based on what transpired Friday night.

First of all, Miami beat Kansas City 11-10? Sounds like an exciting baseball game. The Chiefs' running game stinks on ice without Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes (but we already knew that, right?). I can't imagine recommending anyone that could pick up Johnson's slack if this holdout drags on. QB Casey Printers was the second-leading rusher. Last I checked, Printers was about as mobile as a barco-lounger. But the Fins' Ronnie Brown had a good game, rushing for 57 yards (almost outgaining the Chiefs' backs himself). I think Brown finally has a chance to make some noise this year because defenses will actually HAVE to respect his quarterback, Trent Green.

Atlanta QB D.J. Shockley left the game in the fourth quarter of Friday's 13-10 win over Buffalo. No word on the injury, but he was carries off, and in my experience being carried off usually isn't a good sign. Buffalo backup QB Trent Edwards had a nice night. Also, Atlanta RBs Jerious Norwood and Warrick Dunn did not record a carry. The Falcons may just have wanted to look at the third teamers. I've heard nothing about an injury to Norwood.

Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb. (AP)
Donovan McNabb is back (I kept telling my girl not to worry when she chose to protect him in LSFL). The Eagles won, 27-10, over Carolina. McNabb was 6-of-9 for 138 yards. This guy's like Lazarus. You could amputate one of his legs and he'd find a way to compete. And here's a touchdown vulture alert. Eagles FB Tony Hunt had two touchdowns runs from short range. I think the Eagles are going to use this guy, thus decreasing Brian Westbrook's overall value. Carolina QBs Jake Delhomme and David Carr had nice nights, as did WR Taye Biddle, a surprise star at Panthers camp. He's not worth a pickup — yet — but he's had two straight games where he impressed the coaching staff.

Adrian Peterson rushed 8 times for 70 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings in their big win over the Jets. Let's hope this is just a case of getting the rookie extra work, or Chester Taylor's value will go in the toilet in a hurry. Of course, the Vikes are working with what seems like a hodge-podge of QBs. I know Tarvaris Jackson is supposed to be the starter, but I just don't see him making it through half of this season. Don't get excited about the Vikes' 37 points either — 3 TDs came off defensive touchdowns (that's four defensive touchdowns out of five total in two preseason games, if you're keeping track). By the way, Leon Washington had 11 carries for 52 yards for the Jets.

The Titans beat New England, but Vince Young was only 5-of-17. Chris Brown had a big night, though, as he fights for that starting running back job. No Randy Moss or Lawrence Maroney sightings, either.

Bucs stories around the Web

Traditionally there's not a lot of news the day before a game — just plenty of features and analysis to get you ready for the game.

Over at Bucsblitz.com, my "Observation Deck" feature previewing the game is up and can be linked to here. My goal is to give you an idea of what you'll see against Jacksonville — who I think will play, how long they will play and what key players and positions to watch. The second game is always crucial to those players that are third-stringers or worse, because these are some of the guys that will get cut in the first round of releases in a little over a week. Those guys have to show the coaching staff something or risk seeing little playing time in Week 3 of the preseason, which is traditionally the dress rehearsal for the regular season. The starters and the backups will play a lot, but the third- and fourth-stringers won't.

Our "Behind Enemy Lines" series is also up on the site. That's where beat writers from other teams answer each other's questions. I traded questions and answers with Jagnation.com's Charlie Bernstein earlier this week. Here are the links to Behind Enemy Lines: Jacksonville and Behind Enemy Lines: Tampa Bay As the regular season approaches, you'll be able to find links to all of these stories under our main header on Saturdays and Sundays.

At the Tampa Tribune, columnist Martin Fennelly writes about wide receiver Michael Clayton, who admitted that he's not sure if he'll make this team after two sub-par seasons.

Over at the St. Petersburg times, it's all about the offensive line, as second-year guard Davin Joseph is optimistic that all the ingredients are there for a return to the solid play of 2005, when the Bucs won the division.

And at the Orlando Sentinel, staff writer Chris Harry explores the possibility of a practice bubble at Disney's Wide World of Sports. The Bucs had to move seven of their 31 practices indoors due to weather, But they didn't get much accomplished. The Bucs already desire a practice bubble in Tampa (they're wrangling with Tampa Sports Authority on the issue), and it appears they might want to see Disney get one for them, too. BTW, the Bucs pay about $2 million to have camp at Disney every year, and it draws about 20,000 each year, according to the Sentinel.

Fantasy busts

I promised my fantasy busts this weekend, so there they are:

Larry Johnson. (Getty images)
Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City: I hate this situation. He's holding out (but will likely be signed by the regular season), his offensive line is taking hits left and right and his quarterback is now, likely, untested Brodie Croyle. Considering he will likely be taken No. 2 in most drafts, I don't think his production will match the selection. Take Steven Jackson instead.

Vince Young, QB, Titans: I love Vince, but his supporting cast is just plain ugly. Vince may end up having the best rushing season by any NFL quarterback, and it will be because he has no one to throw to.

Darrell Jackson, WR, San Francisco: He's never impressed me. He's coming off a career season. He's in a new offense with a young quarterback. He's injury prone. If you take him before the tenth round you're risking too much. And if you're taking him because you drafted QB Alex Smith, why aren't you taking TE Vernon Davis instead?

Donald Driver, WR, Packers: He'll be taken high because that's what his past production demands. His numbers are amazing considering the lack of weapons in Green Bay around Brett Favre the past few years. But there's no top back to take the heat off the passing game now. Expect Driver's numbers to dip considerably.

Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles: You loved him last year, right? Well, fall out of love. McNabb is back, which means the Eagles will go downfield more (no more Jeff Garcia screen passes). The Eagles are also toying with Tony Hunt in short-yardage packages. That's reduced goal line carries for Westbrook. Plus, there's the inherent injury risk. He'll be taken in the second round by a lot of owners and the production won't match.

Kevin Curtis, WR, Philadelphia: The Eagles are going to want him to play on the edge as a flanker or split end. Guess what Carter is suited for? The slot.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Kansas City: His numbers have declined each of the last three years, and now Trent Green is gone. Expect the decline to continue.

Chicago defense: Yeah, they'll be good. But they're also going to tease a lot of owners into taking the unit too early. Take the Cowboys late. It'll even out by December.

Watch for my in-game blog during the Bucs-Jaguars game tonight. You'll get insight, updates and opinion throughout the contest at bucsblitz.com. Until then, MP.


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