Wednesday, Sept. 5
Adams says he's ready
He says he's ready. We'll find out on Sunday.
Rookie Gaines Adams should start the season opener on Sunday at right end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as it appears Patrick Chukwurah — the veteran starter in front of Adams — will not play on Sunday.
Jon Gruden hasn't totally ruled out Chukwurah, but neither the head coach nor the seven-year veteran were that optimistic he would be ready for Sunday in Seattle.
That means that Adams not only will start in his first regular-season game, but that the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft will square off against one of the NFL's elite tackles, Seattle's Walter Jones.
"You get challenges every day in football," Adams said. "That's what makes the game so great. He's a great player and he's the best of the best. I'm going to go out there and work hard and play my game."
This season has been anything but dull for Adams. First, right before the first practice of training camp, the Buccaneers released veteran right end Simeon Rice, automatically putting Adams into the mix to be a starter.
Chukwurah took over the starting role in training camp, but Adams saw plenty of practice time and preseason reps, and that only increased when Chukwurah partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee against Miami on Aug. 25. The injury typically takes 3-6 weeks to heal, though Chukwurah hopes it will be closer to three weeks.
Adams played into the second quarter against Houston in the final preseason game before a cheap shot by a Texans lineman took him out of the game as a precaution.
Adams said he's ready to go.
"I've made some steps," Adams said. "I won't say they're humongous steps, but they're steps to get better."
He's not concerned about the speed of the game, either. He felt he received a good indoctrination into that during the preseason.
"I felt that in the first preseason game," Adams said. "The speed of the game and the smartness of the offensive linemen, I figured that out the first play. So I have to come in and work hard in practice and try and get better."
As I explained last week, I went to the same college as Jeremiah Trotter — Stephen F. Austin State University in sleepy Nacogdoches, Texas.
Now, the Lumberjacks have produced some pretty good football players. Washington kicker Mark Moseley and former NFL fullback Larry Centers are the best-known. But running back Derrick Blaylock is in the league right now, and tight end Mikhael Ricks played a few years for the Lions.
But Trotter is probably the most decorated, with four Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance. At one point SFA will retire his jersey.
I watched Trotter during his first two years of college in 1995-96, but I never had occasion to meet Trotter. Not even at Super Bowl XXXIX when I interviewed him for my former student newspaper, the Pine Log. It was one of those riser interviews when you don't get much in the way of one-on-one time.
So, after we were done, I made a point of introducing myself to Jeremiah.
"Hi, I'm Matthew Postins with Bucsblitz.com — and SFA Class of 1994."
"No way man!" Trotter said with a smile. "You're a Lumberjack? That's great. I don't get to see too many of those nowadays."
And I've certainly never seen one since I moved to Florida nearly three years ago. So at least Trotter and I can form our own alumni chapter.
And no Chris Simms today, at least not in the locker room. Maybe after practice. He's been traveling incognito lately. MP
Thursday, Sept. 6
It's been a busy day already
Two bits of news to report today from One Buc Place.
First, the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that wide receiver David Boston will face a DUI charge for his arrest last month. While the Pinellas Park Police Department isn't releasing the results of Boston's urinalysis test, the department did tell the Times that they will pursue the DUI charge.
Boston has been relatively silent since the arrest, which came before the Miami preseason game. The Bucs have publicly backed him, which was an interesting move since the results of this test were not back when they did so. Plus, the Bucs said they conducted their "own investigation," whatever that means.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden was mum about the news after practice.
"We don't have any information for you right now," Gruden said.
What this means for Boston, in terms of league discipline, is unknown. Boston has already suffered a four-game suspension during his career for violation of the league's steroid policy. It's unclear if this offense would result in a stiffer punishment from the NFL, or when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might act on the information. If the Michael Vick saga taught us anything about Goodell, it's that he's willing to wait until all the facts are in.
Second, there's a decent chance that rookie Tanard Jackson will start at free safety on Sunday against Seattle. Apparently Jackson has been seeing first-team reps at free safety this week. The news first broke a few days ago via a former Buc — Ellis Wyms — who talked about it during an interview with Sirius Satellite Radio.
Jackson has become a coaching staff favorite during training camp and the preseason for his hitting and coverage ability.
No one is being committal at this time. I talked to Raheem Morris, the cornerbacks coach, after practice Thursday and he told me that Jackson's injury in preseason didn't set him that far behind.
"The guy picks up stuff so fast it's like he stays with it and never lost a bit when he came back," Morris said. "He came back in form. That's a sign of being a good player. He's going to be a great player in this league and we hope to see the start of that on Sunday."
Usually, in Buc land, when someone is noncommittal about whether a player will start or not, it's good to check the question and see who it was about. Since this question was about Jackson, I'd expect him to start on Sunday, even though Allen is at the top of the depth chart. Morris did emphasize that both players will see plenty of playing time on Sunday.
I just watched the Bucs run up a Bucs flag at their facility about the size of the Pirate Ship in Raymond James Stadium. Time to get back to writing my 10 stories for the day. Look for a feature on Greg White later today, along with features on Michael Clayton and Jeff Garcia and a transcript from Seattle head coach Mike Holmgrem's conference call with the Tampa Bay media in the next 24 hours. Plus, there's the final two parts of "Behind Enemy Lines" with Seahawks.net's Doug Farrar.
And I can't wait to get home for the Saints-Colts game. I have Deuce on two fantasy teams. I've got my McAllister jersey ready to go. MP
Friday, Sept. 7
Don't judge on one game
I can already see the message board posts. They'll be something along the lines of:
"See, I told you the Saints weren't for real."
Don't judge the Saints on one game. Yes, the Colts smacked them around last night, but it's only one game. The Saints are still, in my opinion, the best team in the NFC South. Drew Brees had an awful game (which I appreciate, since I have him in my Scout.com league), but that won't happen week to week. And cornerback Jason David had a horrible game in his return to Indianapolis.
But this is still a very good football team and they'll bounce back because they have too much talent.
It's the same for the Bucs this week. I believe they're going to lose to Seattle, but you can't judge their entire season on one game.
Don't do the same for the Saints. You'll be sorry.
Saturday, Sept. 8
The blotter update
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden talked about both Jerramy Stevens and David Boston on Friday before the Bucs left for Seattle.
Stevens, the tight end, was at practice for the first time since Monday. He had been in Arizona for two days to stand trial for a DUI arrest in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March. A jury found Stevens guilty on Friday of three counts of DUI.
Gruden said he had no updates on Stevens' situation.
"We said, the process, rightfully so, is going to run its course and when it was over he would be back here," Gruden said. "And here he is, and it's great to have him back."
But how long will he had him? This is the 11th brush with the law of Stevens' career and, amazingly, the NFL has never suspended him. That will likely change this time, as the NFL is reviewing the case, and given that commissioner Roger Goodell has doled out player suspensions to just about everyone that has been involved in off-the-field incidents this year, Stevens will likely miss some time this year.
Boston will make the trip to Seattle, Gruden said, and he seemed almost surprised anyone would ask such a thing.
"No, all I can say is that David has assured me he is innocent, and I believe him," Gruden said. "I apologize if that makes anybody mad. I believe the man."
That's fine, but tests are tests, and urinalysis tests are usually accurate. It would help tremendously if we knew what Boston had tested positive for. All we know is that he tested for at least one banned substance after his DUI arrest last month in Pinellas Park.
Boston's past will make a difference in whatever suspension the NFL dishes out. Boston served a four-game suspension several years ago for testing for a banned substance (read: steroids). Depending on the substance he tested positive for this time around, it could lead to a longer suspension.
Gruden gave the clearest indication yet that he'll start three rookies on Sunday in Seattle.
Gruden has proved cagey on the starting lineup all week, but he mentioned three rookies after someone asked him Friday on the progress of the team's draft picks from this April.
"We're expecting [Arron] Sears to do it," Gruden said. "We're expecting [Tanard] Jackson. We're expecting Gaines Adams, other guys to do it, and we need them to. We expect them to."
Sears is a lock to start at left guard. All indications are that Adams will start at right defensive end and Jackson will start at free safety, though Gruden has not confirmed that either will be a starter this week. It is known that Jackson has worked out with the first team since the end of the preseason.
Have to go watch some swimming now, one of my other four writing jobs. Catch you tomorrow during the in-game blog. MP
Monday, Sept. 10
My brother's birthday was yesterday and I forgot to call. Damn football!
By the end of Sunday's Tampa Bay game, I felt as if I had traveled back in time to the end of 2006 — lifeless offense, tiring defense and injuries aplenty. Yes, this team started well on Sunday. But it certainly didn't finish the way anyone hoped.
Given all of the changes the Buccaneers made this offseason, more was expected. Maybe not a win, mind you, but certainly a better performance throughout the game, and not just the brilliant first quarter they put together.
Even that should have been an indication that bad things were ahead. The Bucs had two wonderful drives against a bewildered Seattle defense and scored just six points.
Just like last year.
The Bucs returned to Tampa early this morning. Jon Gruden will speak late morning and will likely have updates on Carnell Williams, Jeff Garcia, Brian Kelly and David Boston, all of whom were hurt on Sunday. Check back at Bucsblitz.com for an update, plus a transcript of Gruden's entire Monday press conference.
Tuesday, Sept. 11
Boston's saga continues
David Boston had GHB in his system when he was arrested in Pinellas Park for DUI, according to the Pinellas Park Police Department, which released the information on Monday.
GHB is commonly referred to as a date rape drug because it can render a user unconscious. Boston was found unconscious on a road in Pinellas Park on Aug. 23.
According to published reports, Boston had 870 micrograms per milliliter of GHB in his urine. Cynthia Lewis-Younger, medical director for the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, told the Tampa Tribune that the amount is four times what one would expect to see in the urine of someone who received a prescribed, legitimate dose.
The drug is believed by some of to have bodybuilding properties, but that has not been proven. GHB is an illegal substance under law, but the NFL does not test for the drug, so it does not fall under the league's substance abuse policy. Nevertheless, NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said a violation of substance abuse law is a violation of the league's personal conduct policy.
So the NFL will continue to monitor the case until its conclusion.
Boston's previous legal issues include a plea of no contest to two misdemeanor counts of testing positive for marijuana and cocaine after a traffic stop in 2002. He also earned a four-game suspension in 2004 from the NFL for violating the league's steroid policy. Boston appeal, but the appeal was denied.
Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen — who vehemently supported Boston on Aug. 25 — had this to say through a statement on Monday:
"We are taking the allegations in [Monday's] report released by the Pinellas Park Police Department very seriously and we will continue to review all information as it becomes available," Allen said. "We will reserve further comment until all the facts surrounding the investigation are complete."
My take: I feel the need to set off my opinion because I don't want it confused with the facts of this case as we know them. GHB is becoming a common drug in the athletic community because some believe it has bodybuilding and recovery properties, and because the NFL doesn't test for it they believe that makes it a better alternative to steroids. But if you take a good amount of GHB, as Boston must have for his test to be considered that extreme, it can cause hallucinations and even psychosis, according to doctors. That may explain reports that Boston told police he was on his way to Tampa International Airport from Orlando to leave for a preseason game a full day before the Bucs were to depart for Miami, and more than a week after the Bucs returned from Orlando and training camp.
I think this will likely lead to a suspension for Boston, at least for four games, given that he has a history with the NFL. Boston hasn't given an explanation yet, though he said he's innocent. The NFL usually conducts its own investigation in these cases, so a suspension could come before the trial, if the NFL feels it has Boston cold. If he's found guilty, the NFL could suspend him longer than four games. I would expect, though, that Boston's lawyers would seek a plea agreement of some kind.
And, maybe it's time for the NFL to consider making GHB a banned substance. Why? Well, read this story on a young Tampa athlete and you'll find out why.