Bucs chat wrap — Aug. 26

Michael Pittman's use at fullback, finding a tandem back for Cadillac Williams and the first round of cuts were among the topics for discussion during Sunday night's user chat with Bucsblitz.com's Matthew Postins. Read on to see what users had to say, plus check the message board for future chats.

Matthew Postins: This is the Bucs post-game chat. We'll have one every week after each game for the rest of the season. If you have questions about the game -- or any other Bucs issues -- now is the time to ask. I'm assuming you watched the game Saturday. What were your impressions?

The Pewter Pirate: Sure did. I liked the way that the o-line played, for the most part

TPP: Nothing really stood out that made me scream at the television.

TPP: Is (Chris) Simms showcasing his abilities for a possible trade? That's the one thing I was wondering

MP: Hard to showcase your abilities when you get one possession. The Bucs say he'll play more on Thursday. But at this point I can't imagine any interest in him.

TPP: Gradkowski looked pretty good last night.

MP: He did. He piloted two drives for touchdowns. He had just the one deep pass that exposed his weak arm, but I think he's pulled even with McCown.

TPP: Are we gonna keep all the QBs? Allen is less than forthcoming on this.

MP: Allen is usually less that forthcoming (most GMs are nowadays). I'd like to see the Bucs keep four QBs, but I can't imagine it will happen because they'll need the roster space for somebody.

TPP: Do you think it's his (Gradkowski's) arm strength, or his timing on long plays?

MP: I think it's arm strength on Gradkowski. I've seen him throw deep enough times to get the picture that, while accurate, he's never going to be a QB that will get the ball 50-55 yards downfield.

TPP: Were there any cuts today, I didn't check.

MP: Not that I'm aware of. I've done some hunting around and haven't seen any. The Panthers have already started cutting some players. The first cuts have to be made by 4 p.m., and the Bucs don't usually make the announcement until the very last minute.

TPP: I am thinking we lose TE (C.J.) Leak, and one of the FBs from last night. I don't like DEs that let their opponents get their hands up like last night.

MP: Leak is a goner. He didn't play. In fact, count Matt Herian among the cuts, too. I don't think he played last night either. Most of the cuts Tuesday will be guys who never had a chance to make the roster in the first place. Since they only have to cut 11 players, so I don't think anyone big will be released. Tim Jones also didn't play last night. Expect him to be cut. Enoka Lucas is a good possibility, too. Jabari Levey, Nick Milhauser.

TPP: What are the chances of (Michel) Pittman moving to FB?

RiverBiatch: I think they'll trade (Chris) Simms for a fullback.

MP: Moving to fullback? Not per se, but he will be playing a lot of fullback this year. They're not going to use him as a true lead blocker, at least in the formations I've seen in preseason. Pittman's being used a lot in motion and offset I formations with Cadillac.

MP: I think they're happy with Askew as a lead blocker. I'm not sure what type of fullback you'd get in return for Chris Simms. There aren't many I'd trade for.

TPP: If he does go to FB, we could make room for Darby behind Williams.

RB: We need a fullback on his own. If Pittman gets hurt, then what?

MP: I think (Kenneth) Darby will make the team regardless. But Pittman's never going to be a "dedicated" fullback. I think they see Alstott's injury as an opportunity to diversify the offense more to Gruden's liking.

TPP: He's (Pittman) a strong RB, and can catch pretty well. If we used him like we did like Alstott catching balls outta the backfield, he could get more playing time than sharing carries with Caddy.

MP: Agreed. And since the Bucs are not going to use Pittman at kick returner, he'll probably see anywhere from 10-15 touches per game, which I think is a good thing all the way around for the offense.

RB: Then you would have the tendency to burn him out.

TPP: I think just having Pittman lining up as FB more often would keep a LB trained on him more. It can create holes in a passing scheme

MP: Pittman's never had an injury history. He's particularly durable. 10-15 touches per game won't hurt any back.

MP: And, yes, Pittman's presence will create doubt with linebackers and safeties as to what the Bucs are going to do.

TPP: Exactly, for that reason alone I'd call more plays with him in there. <

RB: If Caddy is out, we lose two players.

TPP: Caddy hasn't done much over the last two years as it is

MP: If Caddy's out you move Pittman to RB and the Bucs use Askew as a full-time FB. But using Pittman more is going to reduce Williams' wear and tear, I assure you.

TPP: Darby is showing more of an upside. <

RB: OK put him as FB.

TPP: Caddy? He's too fragile for that.

MP: Darby's level of play has fallen off since the first preseason game. Still playing well, but it's fallen off.

RB: He still has time to regroup.

MP: Pittman won't be a full-time fullback, either. Askew and he will share time. Askew is more of a true lead blocker and he'll be in there for running plays when they need that presence in front of Caddy.

RB: The Bucs were sloppy.

MP: Yes they were. The defense was up and down all night. One drive they looked great, the next they looked shaky. I made the point in my column today and they may be that way for a while. They're blending old players with new ones and that leads to inconsistent play. <

RB: Simms doest seem to have the strength or the gumption.

MP: I don't know about that. Physically he's 100 percent. Throwing, he's not. He admits that. His full recovery from the injury has taken a lot longer than he expected. There's no track record for the injury.

RB: Just my opinion

MP: I think Simms has a lot of gumption, but even that may not keep him on the roster once the final cuts come down. I'd like to see them keep Simms because he's the only QB besides Garcia with success as a pro.

RB: > From what I have seen — and mind you only one play — he needs work.

MP: I think we were all surprised that he only saw one possession last night. I think Gruden wanted to work him in slowly. I probably would have left him in there one more series.

MP: Simms will probably see close to a quarter on Thursday.

RB: Garcia, then again, didn't show me much either.

MP: I think Garcia, overall, will move the offense better than Simms, Gradkowski or Rattay did last year. But remember that the bar was set pretty low last year.

RB: Garcia was the MAN for Philly. He doesn't seem to be the same QB.

MP: After watching the last two games, I think Gruden is going to have Garcia throw a lot this year. With Garcia it's all about what he has around him. he can do some things on his own, but he really benefits when the players around him play at a high level.

RB: Thank gosh they usually have a running game.

MP: Williams had two good runs last night, and I think everyone -- Williams included -- was encouraged by that.

RB: He needs to stay grounded and be in a comfortable position.

MP: I think Williams is at his best when he can get through that first hole and take on linebackers in the open field. He made a nifty cut on that linebacker on that second big run. That's what he's capable of when he has space to work with.

RB: We have few good RBs and receivers this year Utilize them.

MP: I think they will, especially the WRs. I think everyone agrees this is the best stable of WRs Gruden has had to work with in Tampa Bay since Johnson and McCardell, and even then there wasn't as much depth as there is in this group.

RB: (The) Best play of the game was Gaines Adams taking the QB to the sideline. That is the play I liked best.

MP: Spent some time watching Gaines exclusively last night in Miami. He didn't show much in the way of pass rushing moves. Can't tell if he's nervous or doesn't have the pass rush repertoire I had heard he did.

RB: He does look nervous. I think that is his look on the field.

TPP: Our front four wasn't doing a thing against the run last night.

iDRIVEaCADDY: I haven't seen the whole game yet, but from what I saw he looked fine.

MP: We talked about the inconsistent defense while you were gone, I think. Actually, the Bucs only gave up 69 yards rushing last night, and Ronnie Brown only gained 3 yards per carry. Statistically, not a bad night. But, that one drive where the Fins went the length of the field in the first quarter, they did run pretty well on the front seven.

IDAC: They passed well too.

TPP: They (Miami) looked good against us.

MP: Fins are a solid team. They'll benefit from having a QB like Trent Green for a whole season.

IDAC: It didn't seem like we could stop them on third down.

IDAC: We need a speed back.

TPP: How fast is Darby.

MP: Darby's not fast enough to be a speed back.

IDAC: Not fast enough.

MP: Your best bet for a speed back, frankly, is (Joey) Galloway, and he's not equipped for that.

IDAC: Someone REAL small that can't take it up the middle but has good speed and hands.

IDAC: I'm talking about RB to clarify.

MP: The Bucs don't have a guy like that, but they don't necessarily need a guy like that.

IDAC: Although I like Caddy a lot. <

RB: > Darby stunned us all in the first game.

IDAC: He needs a speed complement.

MP: I'm thinking back to Gruden's history as a head coach and I'm not sure he's ever had a speed back. Harvey Williams in Oakland may be the closest.

IDAC: It doesn't seem he (Caddy) has the ability to take it to the house.

IDAC: He (Gruden) also doesn't have great receivers like Rice or Brown in Tampa.

MP: I think taking it to the house is overrated, in some measure. Backs like to get 20-25 carries a game and wear down a defense so they can start grabbing chunks of yardage in the second half. Most backs will tell you there's as much value in that than a long TD run.

IDAC: Caddy gets through the whole quick, but doesn't seem to be able to break away.

MP: That doesn't mean he can't be productive. Plenty of backs lack that breakaway speed and generate plenty of offense each year.

IDAC: I agree but even the backs that get 25 carries a game still have the potential to score from any place on the field. Like Rudi Johnson is a big back but he can still go the distance.

MP: Yeah, but it takes him a little longer than, say, Willis McGahee, to travel that distance. Rudi and Caddy are, in my opinion, deceptively fast backs. They don't beat you over the head with it like, say, Reggie Bush.

IDAC: Yea but Caddy seems to run out of gas almost... he darts through the hole gets like 10- 15 yards and then someone chases him down

MP: Yeah, but that 10-15 yards moves the chains and keeps the drive going. It wears down the defense and helps his own offense rest on the sideline.

IDAC: Exactly. I'm not doubting its importance. I'm just saying a fast complement would do him good. Like (Reggie) Bush and Deuce (McAllister).

MP: Or (Warrick) Dunn and (Mike) Alstott.

IDAC: Perfect example. I was never a big fan of the idea of to backs but its starting to grow on me. One grinds, one dashes. And both backs last longer.

MP: I'm not going to deny that a Thunder and Lightning combo wouldn't work. but it has to be the right complement to Caddy, and for that sort of combo, you're right, they don't have him. Maybe they will one day, but Pittman as a complement works well, if you use him more than last year.

MP: If there are no other questions, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate all the questions and I'll talk to you soon.


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