Jackson makes rare rookie start

Tanard Jackson became just the fourth rookie to start on opening day for Tampa Bay since 1995 when he started for the Buccaneers on Sunday against Seattle in a 20-6 loss.

Jackson started at free safety for the Buccaneers after earning the job with a tremendous training camp and preseason campaign.

The other three Buccaneers rookies to start on opening day were Derrick Brooks — who started at weak side linebacker on Sunday — Warren Sapp and Regan Upshaw.

Jackson finished the day with three tackles and a pass defensed. He was selected in the fourth round of April's NFL Draft.

SEARS STARTS: One other rookie — second-round pick Arron Sears — started for the Bucs on Sunday at left guard.

Sears had missed the final two preseason games with an injury.

First-round pick Gaines Adams did not start at right defensive end, but he entered the game on the third play. He finished with one assist.

CARTER'S STREAK CONTINUES: By starting at right end, veteran Kevin Carter's consecutive start streak continued to the 100-game mark on Sunday.

Carter's streak of consecutive games played also continued, as he played in his 193rd straight game, the same amount Brooks has played in consecutively. Each has played every game since the pair entered the NFL in 1995 — Carter as the No. 6 overall pick of St. Louis and Brooks the 28th overall pick by Tampa Bay.

The pair's consecutive games played streak is the longest among current defensive players. Oddly, both have the same amount of career starts — 190.

OTHER STARTING NEWS: As expected, Michael Pittman started at fullback, but then moved to running back after Cadillac Williams left the game in the third quarter. Pittman rushed for six yards and caught five passes fro 32 yards.

Also, Earnest Graham returned kickoffs for the Bucs, averaging 22.5 yards on four returns. He did fumble away a catch in the fourth quarter that might have led to a touchdown.

Ike Hilliard started opposite Joey Galloway at wide receiver. Maurice Stovall, who is at the top of the depth chart at flanker, did not make a catch.

INHOSPITABLE ENVIRONMENT: With Tampa Bay's loss, visiting teams in their first visit to Qwest Field are 6-19.

The Buccaneers also continued their ignominious play on the west coast, where they are now a combined 3-21 in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Oakland since 1976.

ARRESTING PLAY: Tight end Jerramy Stevens, who was convicted of DUI and two other charges in Arizona on Friday, caught one pass for eight yards in the fourth quarter and then fumbled. Fortunately, a former Seahawks teammate, Rocky Bernard, committed a roughing the passer penalty to bail Stevens out. The penalty negated Stevens' gain.

INJURY REPORT: Running back Cadillac Williams left the game with about 10 minutes to play in the third quarter with an injury.

Williams left the game with 60 yards on 12 carries, averaging a robust five yards per carry. Williams is believed to have a rib injury.

Wide receiver David Boston did not record a catch as he was said to have a foot injury. It must have come up before or during the game, because he was not listed on the team's injury report all week.

Cornerback Brian Kelly reportedly has a groin injury. He was stretching out his leg in the fourth quarter and it was unclear if he returned to the game or not.

And quarterback Jeff Garcia appeared to have his bell rung in the third quarter of the game. He did return in the fourth quarter to try and lead the Bucs back from a 14-point deficit, but the Buccaneers did not release information on Garcia's condition during the game.

Luke McCown played for Garcia, going 1-of-4 for 9 yards in his first regular-season action since his rookie seasons in Cleveland in 2004.

BUCS BITS: Tampa Bay has now lost its last two opening-day games by a combined score of 47-6. The Buccaneers are now 2-4 on opening day under head coach Jon Gruden. … WR Joey Galloway led all receivers with five catches for 72 yards.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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