Friday, Oct. 19
It's been a long day, 8:12 p.m.
My apologies for the lack of entries today. Can I just say how much I hate Windows Vista right now? It's eaten up my entire day.
So, let's get you up to date:
First, here is the injury report for Friday: Buccaneers: Out — RB Michael Pittman (ankle); Doubtful — CB Brian Kelly (groin), DE Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder); Questionable — DE Gaines Adams (chest), TE Alex Smith (ankle). Lions: Questionable — TE Sean McHugh (hand), CB Keith Smith (ankle), CB Stanley Wilson (groin).
Notes — Adams was the only one on the injury report that practiced on Friday, so expect him to play. Given that Chukwurah, Kelly and Smith have not worked out all week, don't expect them to play. Gruden said Chukwurah was likely out, and that Smith and Kelly were game-time decisions. It would be nice to have Kelly considering the Lions attempt 34 passes a game, but Philip Buchanon's play this season has softened Kelly's injury.
Now, as for what else is going on …
Here's a story you should read at TBO.com. It appears Michael Pittman is not only off his scooter, but is declaring himself 80 percent healthy from his ankle sprain. It's a pretty stunning turn of events, but it's likely Pittman still won't be ready to play until the Atlanta game on Nov. 18. If Pittman is two weeks away from being ready, the earliest he could be back is Nov. 4 against Arizona. If I were Jon Gruden, I wouldn't play Pittman in that game if I didn't have to. The next week, Nov. 11, is the Bucs' bye week. That's why I don't think Pittman will be back until the Atlanta game.
Still, hearing that Pittman is making that much progress is the best news the Bucs could hear this week. Unless, say, someone built a time machine and went back to the Carolina game and told Carnell Williams to go out of bounds on the play that tore his knee up.
Oh, and read this examination of the Bucs' hard-hitting ways on defense in this article at Tampabay.com. The Bucs are doling out big hits this season, especially to opposing receivers, which could be a big factor on Sunday against the Lions' passing game.
Thursday, Oct. 18
Injury update, 9:57 p.m.
Sorry for the tardiness. Here's the injury update for today:
Bucs: Out: Michael Pittman (ankle); Did not participate in practice: DE/LB Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder), CB Brian Kelly (groin), TE Alex Smith (ankle); Limited participation in practice: DE Gaines Adams (chest). DE Greg Spires and WR Ike Hilliard came off the injury report for the first time in weeks. Lions: Did not participate in practice: CB Stanley Wilson (groin); Limited participation in practice: TE Sean McHugh (hand), CB Keith Smith (ankle). There were no changes.
Jon Gruden said Adams' injury was a strain.
Gruden's ranking, 2:14 p.m.
The Sporting News has ranked all 32 NFL head coaches in its newest issue, and Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is No. 13. TSN's comment? "Yes, Tampa Bay has struggled in recent seasons. But if the Bucs fired him, he'd had a job in five minutes." That's probably accurate. Also, TSN awarded him with "Best facial expressions," saying Gruden is probably horrible at poker. The article also named defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as its No. 4 top defensive coordinator, behind Pittsburgh's Dick LeBeau, Philadelphia's Jim Johnson and Baltimore's Rex Ryan.
Around the Web,12:11 p.m.
Here's a look at some of the stories that caught my eye around the Web on Thursday morning: The Buccaneers are impressed with Detroit QB Jon Kitna's toughness, according to TBO.com; And Lions WR Roy Williams criticized Bucs QB Jeff Garcia for how he handled his season in Detroit, and Garcia responded — somewhat — writes Stephen Holder at Tampabay.com.
Chat wrap,12:09 p.m.
Every Wednesday and Sunday at 10 p.m. EST I am available to chat with Bucsblitz.com users — and it's totally free. Yes, it's a little late in the evening, but our chats last about 30 minutes, and you get to ask me questions and communicate with our community admin, ThePewterPirate. It's a free-form discussion about the Bucs and anyone is welcome. See what TPP and I chatted about Wednesday night by Clicking here. I post the chat wrap the next day.
Late start,12:04 p.m.
Can I just go on record as saying that I hate Windows Vista and all it stands for? For reasons passing understanding, this laptop my fiancée bought will not cooperate. Anyway, here's something you'll find much more interesting — coverage of Sunday's game between Tampa Bay and Detroit. Check out features on Gruden's desire for an improved pass rush, Our "Press Pass" feature on Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli (he called us in the notebook brigade "Studs," and I don't know why, and what players the Bucs tried out on Tuesday. I don't think Tampa Bay has designs on signing any of them, but it's interesting to note they were all offensive players.
Wednesday, Oct. 17
Gruden Speaks, 5:20 p.m.
Jon Gruden spoke about new running back Michael Bennett, the Lions defense, his respect for the Lions' offensive scheme and quarterback Jeff Garcia's inability to throw an interception (that's a good thing given the past few years). He also updated injuries. You can read Gruden's entire press conference transcript every time he speaks at Bucsblitz.com in this premium feature. See what else he had to say today.
Injury report complete, 4:45 p.m.
Bucs: Out: Michael Pittman (ankle); Did not participate in practice: DE/LB Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder), CB Brian Kelly (groin), TE Alex Smith (ankle); Limited participation in practice: WR Joey Galloway (team decision — day off), DE Greg Spires (ankle); Full participation in practice: WR Ike Hilliard (shoulder). Lions: Did not participate in practice: CB Stanley Wilson (groin); Limited participation in practice: TE Sean McHugh (hand), CB Keith Smith (ankle).
Jon Gruden did not elaborate on those players' availability for Sunday's game.
Injury report update, 3:18 p.m.
CB Brian Kelly (groin) and TE Alex Smith (ankle) did not practice. WR Joey Galloway had the day off, as he does every Wednesday.
The rest of the official injury report will be out shortly.
Personnel notes, 1:04 p.m.
A few housekeeping moves from earlier this week. The Buccaneers cut RB Lionel Gates to make room for Michael Bennett, and then signed RB Kenneth Darby and DE Marquies Gunn of Auburn. The Buccaneers also released FB Byron Storer from the practice squad.
Also, find out who the Bucs tried out on Tuesday at One Buc Place, including a wide receiver with NFL experience by linking to this premium piece.
In the locker room, 12:16 p.m.
Here are some random observations from the locker room on Wednesday:.
RB Michael Bennett had "no idea" a trade was coming, is happy to be in Tampa and runs a 4.28 40-yard dash. He also ran a sub-10 100 meters in college. He's fast. But he said he's not going to challenge wide receiver Joey Galloway to a match race anytime soon. And the playbook?
"It's like me trying to learn Chinese in 48 hours," Bennett said. Expect the coaching staff to use a package of plays for him this weekend.
Want to read more on Bennett? Link here for my free piece off of Bennett's press conference today.
I saw Sabby Piscitelli walking around in a boot for his injured ankle. It's still not out of its cast.
And tight end Alex Smith said he's day-to-day with his ankle injury. Nothing is broken and he said he "might" practice later this week. But he definitely won't practice today.
Tuesday, Oct. 16
The deal is done, 1:36 p.m.
Tampa Bay has announced its trade with Kansas City for running back Michael Bennett. Tampa Bay gave up an undisclosed draft pick, likely a second-day pick next year.
I've worked up an analysis piece on Bennett's possible impact on the Bucs' running game, which includes expert analysis from two Scout.com writers that covered Bennett in Minnesota and Kansas City. Click here to link to this Bucsblitz.com premium piece.
Bucs may be closing in on deal, 9:42 a.m.
Is Tampa Bay closing in on a deal that would bring Kansas City backup Michael Bennett to Tampa Bay? There seems to be some traction to this rumor, according to this blog entry at TBO.com.
As much as I like Earnest Graham, dealing for Bennett would be an upgrade. The trade deadline is at 4 p.m. EST today.
Monday, Oct. 15
Get up to date on the Bucs, 3:15 p.m.
If you're looking to get up to date with the Bucs after Sunday's game, check out these two premium features. First, there's my Observation Deck review of Sunday's win. It's filled with analysis, notes, my game balls and disappointments, and my scorecard of my pre-game predictions from the 13-10 victory over Tennessee. And, if you're craving more Gruden, read his entire Monday press conference transcript here. It's the only place to find Gruden's complete press conferences every day he has one. Today he talked about injuries, the running game and the Detroit Lions.
Chukwurah questionable, 3:14 p.m.
Bucs defensive end Patrick Chukwurah injured his shoulder on Sunday, but like TE Alex Smith, his X-rays came back negative and he could be back this week. Jon Gruden did not elaborate on the severity of Chukwurah's injury. But negative X-rays are usually a good sign.
Gruden, Bucs may look for more help, 11:06 a.m.
The trade deadline is about a day away — 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday — and Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said the team was still open to a trade to shore up its running back corps.
"We're investigating the possibility of a trade," Gruden said. "But it takes two to tango, as they say."
With the deadline a day away, it's unlikely the Bucs will come up with a trade. Of course, last week, I thought they would make a deal.
Smith could play soon, 11:05 a.m.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden just said there's a chance that TE Alex Smith could play this week against Detroit and that his sprained ankle is not as serious or similar to RB Michael Pittman's high ankle sprain.
Gruden also spoke about releasing Ken Darby and signing Lionel Gates on Saturday.
Gruden to speak later, 10:12 a.m.
Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden will speak about 11 a.m., and the topic of conversation is certainly going to be tight end Alex Smith's ankle. He supposedly underwent tests on Sunday. Smith reportedly has an ankle sprain and he spoke to the media after the game. Another topic of conversation is sure to be Lions head coach Rod Marinelli, who worked under Gruden as defensive line coach and worked for the Bucs for nearly a decade.
Wall-to-wall coverage, 10:09 a.m.
If you haven't stopped by Bucsblitz.com since the Buccaneers' 13-10 win, you should. We have an in-depth game package including a game story, a notebook with entries on Earnest Graham and the Bucs defense, a scoring summary, and a photo gallery.
An unsettling scene, 10:08 a.m.
The Buccaneers' practice of coming onto the field when a teammate suffers a major injury is becoming all too familiar, as it happened again on Sunday with tight end Alex Smith, writes the. Tampa Tribune.
Garcia's impact, 10:07 a.m.
Where would the Buccaneers go without quarterback Jeff Garcia? Right into the tank. In fact, Martin Fennelly writes that as long as Garcia is upright and productive, the Bucs have a chance to stay on the winning track, he wrote in the Tampa Tribune.
Just once, 10:05 a.m.
If you saw last Monday night's game between Dallas and Buffalo, you know it's becoming the "in" thing to call a timeout at the last possible second to try and freeze a kicker. Bucs kicker Matt Bryant said that never entered his mind as he lined up for the game-winning field goal, writes the St. Petersburg Times.
Galloway's jets, 10:03 a.m.
If you saw Sunday's game, you saw another game-breaking catch by Joey Galloway, a 69-yard bomb where his undeniable speed was evident. Where does it come from? And how rare is it? Gary Shelton goes in search of answers in the St. Petersburg Times.