ThePewterPirate: So, are you looking forward to the game?
Matthew Postins: I'm looking forward to seeing if they can sustain the momentum they built last week. Consistency wasn't their strong suit last year.
ThePewterPirate: No, it wasn't. I think it mostly depends on the O-line. And not giving up good yardage on special team plays.
Matthew Postins: That's certainly a big key. I think the line made strides in run blocking and pass protection last week. I'm interested to see if they can build on that and be a little more punishing and productive. So far, the special teams coverage has been solid, outside of the one return they allowed against Seattle.
ThePewterPirate: We didn't give up a sack last Sunday, did we? I was thinking more about the two good runs they had called back for illegal blocking and stuff.
Matthew Postins: Correct. The offensive line gave Garcia time to throw last week. Ah, the returns. Yes, those mistakes were pretty critical in that loss to Seattle.
ThePewterPirate: They really lost momentum after those. I think both of the drives ended in punts.
Matthew Postins: A big return can be a huge boost to a team, and the Bucs have had far too few of those the past few years.
ThePewterPirate: I really like our chances with the Rams. I think we will be able to go down the field more, especially if we continue to take advantage of big plays. The fact that we are even trying for big plays is good in my book.
Matthew Postins: I actually do like their chances as well. The Rams' offensive line is just decimated right now. There's no chemistry and Bulger is taking a beating.
ThePewterPirate: 6 sacks (allowed) to San Fran(cisco last week). We can eek out at least 3.
Matthew Postins: Gruden said he's rather score in two plays than 22, so I think he's with you there. The younger players (on the defensive line) appear to be picking it up just a bit, but the line combination isn't there yet.
ThePewterPirate: Garcia made a ballsy throw to Galloway over the middle, the one he caught and tumbled on. ... I like a QB with the mindset to make that pass, or to attempt it.
Matthew Postins: That was a great play. I re-watched the game the other day and that throw was so precise the DB didn't have a shot at it. Either Galloway was going to catch it or it was going to be incomplete. Not even (Brian) Griese was that precise when he was here a few years ago.
ThePewterPirate: Either way, we should be able to get Caddy (Carnell Williams) some running room once other teams begin to respect our passing game. Last year we were teed off against team after team.
Matthew Postins: I think that's the logic. That's West Coast offense logic. Use the pass early to open up the run, and then hammer away late to protect the lead. To a degree, that's what Tampa Bay did last week.
ThePewterPirate: I agree. Garcia is going to be the one that decides where this team ends up. ... But that makes me worry about him getting banged up. As long as we can protect him like we did last week, all will be good. It's not often that we can sell the play action like we did with the Saints. I wonder if that was just them overcompensating for the beating that they took from Indy in week one though.
Matthew Postins: I talked to our Scout.com analyst (Tom Marino) this week and he's not sure Garcia can make it through 16 games. He said Garcia is playing like he's had 12 cups of coffee right now, but he's not sure Garcia can sustain it. The development of (Luke) McCown and (Bruce) Gradkowski is important. That secondary (New Orleans) is terrible right now. The fact is they'll bite on just about anything right now.
ThePewterPirate: McCown looked shaky when he came in for Garcia in week one.
Matthew Postins: He also hadn't thrown a regular season pass in three years. I'll cut him a little slack. But neither player is a real palatable option right now, as much as I like McCown.
ThePewterPirate: Remember that run Garcia made down to the 1 yard line? You know that Gruden must've went nuts when he took the hit. It's times like those that I wish for a Gruden cam.
Matthew Postins: Oh, yes. He admitted he thought Garcia got his bell rung on the play. He'd rather see Garcia slide there, but he loved the effort and the moxie, plus the message it sent to the rest of the team. Sort of like that windmill hit (John) Elway took in Super Bowl XXXII. Guys love playing for QBs willing to lay it all out there like that.
ThePewterPirate: Yeah, it kinda let the rest of them know that if he was willing to take it like a man, he wanted more than to let (Matt) Bryant take a FG.
Matthew Postins: After Week 1, no one wanted to see Bryant kick another field goal that early last week. That drive set the tone for the entire game.
ThePewterPirate: In the Bay News 9 Bucs coverage here, they said that Garcia shrugged off a few of Gruden's plays he didn't agree with. For now Gruden seems ok with it since we won. But, if we start losing, I bet that ends really fast.
Matthew Postins: I think that's been WAY overblown. Quarterbacks and head coaches have play discussions all the time. Even Peyton Manning and Tom Moore aren't on the same page every play. I think it was less a disagreement and more a discussion, which is probably healthy in that relationship.
ThePewterPirate: I liked Brad Johnson when he was here, and he was the last QB that I can think of that was a good WCO QB here. Garcia shows a lot more leadership than any memorable Bucs QB has in a LONG time.
Matthew Postins: That's part of the reason the Bucs signed him. The guy plays as if he has something to prove every play.
ThePewterPirate: You're right, but Manning is Manning...it's not often that you see a QB with 5 teams in 5 years make those calls. Most would be worried about job security. He is playing to win or lose trying. I dig that.
Matthew Postins: I think Garcia has always been the same QB but injuries and bad choices in free agency put him in situations where he couldn't be himself.
ThePewterPirate: I knew when Cleveland took him that that was a huge mistake. We played to not lose a few times last year, and our defense didn't hold up it's end.
Matthew Postins: I think that's the one year he played in a non-WCO system and that, plus the injuries and horrible receivers just made him look like he'd lost it.
ThePewterPirate: I can't say how much I despise playing to not lose a game than playing to win one.
Matthew Postins: Playing not to lose is what usually gets teams in trouble.
ThePewterPirate: In times past, we could be trailing by less than a TD in the 4th, and I'd be hopeful that we could pull it off. Last year was the opposite, even if we had the lead in the 4th, I was constantly waiting for us to blow it. I don't like that.
Matthew Postins: This has never been a great come-from-behind team to begin with. They're great with a lead, but horrible coming from behind and it's the fact that they've struggled so much generating offense the past few years.
ThePewterPirate: Do you think this is finally the year we have an offense?
Matthew Postins: Maybe. Garcia offers them consistency at QB, which Gruden values. Caddy may be rounding back into form, and Galloway is primed for a great year. I still worry about the No. 2 WR and the line, but there are possibilities. We'll see this weekend.
ThePewterPirate: I think that this is the year that we have the best shot at it — an accurate QB, good WR, ok RB, and an average line. Most of the time, we sucked in one of those areas.
Matthew Postins: Certainly their best shot since 2002.
ThePewterPirate: I've mentioned this on the forum to see what anyone else thinks. Do we use (Jeremiah) Trotter as a backup, or will we see a 3-4 from time to time to throw teams off?
Matthew Postins: Haven't seen the 3-4 yet. Trotter's been inactive the past two weeks. I don't think he's struggling with the defense. I think he's just not needed right now. He'll be active on game day at some point soon, I think, and he'll be a backup. I could see the Bucs using him as an ILB in a 3-4, too.
ThePewterPirate: I was thinking that we could try a 3-4 if we aren't getting the pressure with our standard 4-3. It can't hurt anything.
Matthew Postins: No, I think the coaching staff likes the change of pace it provides. Perhaps the matchup hasn't presented itself yet. With the number of WRs the Rams have, they could use a 3-4 to help in coverage.
ThePewterPirate: As long as Brooks doesn't end up on another RB lined up as a WR.
Matthew Postins: I bet the next time he ends up in that situation he plays it better. Brooks is too good to get beat like that all the time.
ThePewterPirate: Have you heard anything regarding Brian Kelly?
Matthew Postins: I think he'll play. He participated fully in practice, which is a good sign. (Ike) Hilliard came up with an ankle injury today. Don't know where that came from.
ThePewterPirate: 1,0That means we have to hope for (Michael) Clayton or (Maurice) Stovall to do something then. ... Hmm.