Monday, Aug. 27
I took a break
I've missed the blog the past couple of days, mainly to cover the Bucs-Fins preseason game. The thing I had about preseason football aren't the games themselves. It's those start times. 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. — that's murder on a deadline, since I work for a newspaper, too.
Practice just started a few minutes ago. The offensive line and quarterbacks waited until the last minute to venture outside into the head, as the Bucs were doing mostly special teams walkthroughs. The Bucs practice today, Tuesday and Wednesday entering Thursday's final preseason game against Houston.
Of course, anywhere from 10-12 of those players won't be there for Thursday's game. The first cuts are Tuesday by 4 p.m. The Bucs usually wait until the last minute to announce the cuts. Don't expect any earth-shattering releases in these first cuts. It's usually third- and fourth-string players that never had a chance to make the team anyway.
I'll have a full report after practice, plus the usual transcript from head coach Jon Gruden.
Bucs stories around the Web
Of course, thanks to my break, there are plenty of Bucs stories out there to catch up on.
Here at Bucsblitz.com, there's plenty of post-game material to get you caught up. Here are the links to our free and premium pieces the past 48 hours:
You can expect that kind of coverage every week during the regular season. I'm working on my "Film Session" piece off the Miami game, along with our final edition of "Training Camp Battles" as the Bucs prepare for Houston. With the short week, "Behind Enemy Lines" will take a break.
And, don't forget — the final cuts are Saturday. Bucsblitz will be keeping you as up to date as possible on who's being cut and who's not.
Off-site, at the Tampa Tribune, Anwar Richardson filed this story on Cadillac Williams and his frustration at how he's being used. What's most disconcerting to him are the breaks between carries. Plus, the Buccaneers gave themselves mixed reviews on defense after Saturday's win.
At the St. Pete Times, I liked this column by John Romano on the importance of Williams to the offense. Meanwhile, you may have noticed that Ike Hilliard started on Saturday. What you may not know are the off-the-field battles Hilliard has dealt with the past couple of years, including the death of his mother. Hilliard talks so sporadically and has such an even keel that you would never know what he's been through. Stephen Holder did a great job of illuminating Hilliard's story.
And at the Bradenton Herald, staff writer Roger Mooney explores the up and down performance of the first team defense on Saturday.
He's tired of talking about Chris
Simms, that is.
Naturally, we wanted to know about how the Bucs might use Chris Simms during Thursday's final preseason game against Houston. Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden made it pretty clear that he's sick of talking about the fifth-year quarterback.
|Jon Gruden. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty images)|
Naturally, we pressed him on the issue.
"I don't know how much he's going to play, I really don't," Gruden said. "We're going to do our best to get him out on the field."
And pity the poor guy that showed up late and asked him again.
"You're only allowed to keep 53 guys and only one quarterback plays, unless we put in the Arkansas offense, where you play two at once," Gruden said. "There's a lot that goes into it. We're going to try and keep the best players. Not a lot of teams keep four. Some teams keep two. So we have some tough decisions to make and we'll make them.
"I'm not talking about it anymore. I'm not talking about it anymore. I've been, every day, talking about this issue, OK? We're going to do what we feel is best for our football team. We have a lot of respect for Chris, certainly, and what he's been through. At the same time, we have a helluva schedule facing us in 10 days and we'll make the decisions that are the best for our team."
Gruden has been weary of the Simms questions for some time. But the questions are going to persist at least through the weekend, as we keep track of whether Simms will make the final roster cut or not — and what might happen afterward if he doesn't.
I think Gruden may be under pressure here from the organization to keep Simms. He's a fifth-year pro, he's a great face for the organization because he works hard and he always talks openly with the media. Plus, there's what happened last year, which makes him a sympathetic figure.
The Bucs should keep him, but I don't think they will. That's been my position the last three weeks and I'm sticking to it.
That's all for now. Check Bucsblitz.com later for the first roster cuts. MP