ThePewterPirate: So we signed (Michael) Bennett, that's an improvement.
Matthew Postins: He's a home run kind of back. He broke off a big one against Tampa Bay in 2002. If he can get outside the tackles, he can do some damage. He runs a sub-4.3 40-yard dash. He certainly brings an element they don't have right now.
ThePewterPirate: But (Earnest) Graham has to fail in Detroit before Bennett can get the go ahead?
Matthew Postins: Graham will start. Bennett will see carries this Sunday, if he can grasp the offense. I think, for the moment the coaching staff envisions them sharing carries, with the ratio skewing toward Graham for now. He has a grasp of the offense that Bennett won't for a few weeks. The Bucs will likely use a package of plays for Bennett to make things easy on him at least for a week or two.
ThePewterPirate: He can catch too, that's a bonus.
Matthew Postins: Yes. He's a solid receiver, probably the best of the four backs right now. He said they lined him up at receiver today and he'd never done that before.
ThePewterPirate: Nice, like we did with (Michael) Pittman.
Matthew Postins: Exactly. He'll fill that role Pittman did as a receiver and a blocker, once he picks up the blitz pickup assignments. Bennett said Gruden's playbook was like reading Chinese. It's an extraordinarily complicated offense.
ThePewterPirate: Gruden overcomplicates things. We don't really need 40 ways to run a play that only net us 2 yards.
Matthew Postins: I've heard him call plays from the sideline. It's like a spy code, it's so complicated. I know it all means something, but geez a play call takes 15 seconds.
ThePewterPirate: That might be why (Jeff) Garcia calls his own things sometimes.
ThePewterPirate: It's hard to drag an enigma machine onto the field.
Matthew Postins: I used that analogy today. It's a lot like that.
ThePewterPirate: It's true though.
Matthew Postins: Indeed. The other big news was the conference call with former Bucs assistant coach Rod Marinelli, now the head coach in Detroit. He was a pretty good interview today.
ThePewterPirate: He's done a good job there,...they actually worry me a bit. Any words on us getting an O-Lineman?
Matthew Postins: I've heard nothing. The trade deadline has passed, so any O-Linemen they get will be a free agent. Marinelli has certainly changed the attitude there. The talent's not there, yet, but that team appears to have bought in. And you should be concerned about Detroit's offense. It's lethal when it's humming.
ThePewterPirate: Yeah, and I don't wanna see what they do if we never pressure the QB.
Matthew Postins: Yes. The Bucs really need to get consistent pressure on Jon Kitna. D-line coach Larry Coyer told me today that a player or two needs to step up and start being more dominant and make more plays.
ThePewterPirate: Was he looking at (Gaines) Adams when he said that?
Matthew Postins: No, but he might as well have been. Adams playing with more assertiveness would be a good step, though Marinelli said today that he thought Adams was making good progress. Detroit was interested in Adams before the draft.
ThePewterPirate: I'd have loved it if they would have selected him.
Matthew Postins: That would have allowed Calvin Johnson to drop to No. 4, and considering the track of those two players right now, Johnson may have made a bigger impact on offense than Adams has so far on defense. But you can't evaluate a first-round pick's value to the team in six games. It's unfair.
ThePewterPirate: I agree, but with how little our WRs have done in the last two games or so, it would be nice to have another threat.
Matthew Postins: I think the entire offensive staff is waiting for either Michael Clayton or Maurice Stovall to step up and be the No. 3. Stovall has done nothing, and Clayton has done next to nothing. It's hard to believe.
ThePewterPirate: We have (Joey) Galloway and (Ike) Hilliard...that's about it. Is Alex Smith going to play on Sunday?
Matthew Postins: Smith is hopeful, but he didn't practice today. It's not a serious sprain, which is good news. But I'm not confident that he'll play on Sunday, which is a blow. He's probably the third-best receiver on the team right now.
ThePewterPirate: That means we use Stevens more. He had a catch last week, if I'm not mistaken.
Matthew Postins: He did. He certainly could soften the blow of Smith not being in the lineup. He's a better target than Anthony Becht.
ThePewterPirate: Either way, we need to get the running game going. The last two games we relied on the pass too much, and one we lost.
Matthew Postins: The Bucs might find a little breathing room in the running game this week. The Lions defense is not that great, and it being a Cover 2 package they'll know where the holes are. The Bucs can use the pass to set up the run. They did so against New Orleans and St. Louis.
ThePewterPirate: Hopefully they remember that come Sunday.
Matthew Postins: I think the Bucs will run the football better. But ratchet down the expectations. If they gain 75 yards total I think that's a good step forward for the offense.
ThePewterPirate: It's better than nothing. That is more than he's had in any other game so far.
Matthew Postins: We'll see on Sunday. But I think the trade for Bennett is a clear indictment that the Bucs were not happy with the lack of a ground game the past two games.
ThePewterPirate: Any predictions for the game? I'm going to go with Detroit 17, the Bucs 24.
Matthew Postins: I haven't thought about my prediction yet. I'm picking the Bucs to win, but I'm still figuring out the score. 24-17 actually sounds pretty reasonable.
ThePewterPirate: It might be more if Hilliard's ever gets a TD.
Matthew Postins: It would be nice to see Ike rewarded for the tough yards he's gained the past few weeks.
ThePewterPirate: I also think that Bennett will take over right after we come back from our bye.
Matthew Postins: That would be a pretty good timetable.