Matthew Postins: The Bucs are looking banged up. They've got 12 on IR and seven potentially out for Sunday's game. They need the bye week in a bad way.
ThePewterPirate: Detroit worried me because of their takeaways, but I fully expected us to win that last one. Losing this game would make it too hard to win it back later on.
Matthew Postins: I felt they'd beat Detroit and lose to Jacksonville. Either way, I expected them to have five wins entering Sunday's game, not four. So I think they're a bit behind the eight ball. They need to win or that's three straight losses and a horrible taste in their mouths entering the bye.
ThePewterPirate: Do you think we will be seeing (Michael) Bennett any time soon?
Matthew Postins: I think we'll see him a bit more this weekend against Arizona (he may be returning kickoffs). I think the bye week is going to allow him to get more involved in the playbook. I think we could see a lot more of him after the bye week.
ThePewterPirate: That is good. Our running game has been crap for almost a month now
Matthew Postins: That's not totally the case. They gained the most rushing yards last week since the Carolina game. While they're still not as productive as they were in the first month, they won't be the rest of the season. They should also have Michael Pittman back after the bye week, so that could allow them to be more productive.
ThePewterPirate: I hope.
Matthew Postins: (Earnest) Graham, Bennett and Pittman would be a solid rotation. Not explosive, but solid.
ThePewterPirate: Have you ever noticed that when one of our receivers have a big day it's because someone else is having an off day?
Matthew Postins: I've noticed that usually one player has a better receiving day than most each week, but that's not unusual in the NFL. Someone has to lead the team in receiving. Usually that receiver has a big day because the defense is busy focusing on another receiver (in the Bucs' case, Joey Galloway). There's only one football, as Art Valero keeps telling me.
ThePewterPirate: That last 3rd and ten play where (Jeff) Garcia overthrew (Ike) Hilliard almost killed me.
Matthew Postins: It was like that all day going deep. Garcia and Bennett almost connected. Galloway and Garcia had a similar misconnection, too. I thought as that pass went up that Hilliard would catch up to it, but Garcia just put too much on it. I liked the call, though, because the defense definitely wasn't prepared for it. They were playing for an intermediate pass route to get the first down.
ThePewterPirate: I liked the play calling too. But for just a moment there, I was sure we were gonna pull it out.
Matthew Postins: They made plenty of mistakes Sunday, the three interceptions being the biggest culprits. That's almost impossible to overcome when your defense doesn't force a turnover.
ThePewterPirate: It was safe to say that Garcia had his first really bad day as a Buccaneer.
Matthew Postins: Yes. The Jags blitzed all day long and that sort of pressure takes its toll. No opponent has blitzed the Bucs like that all season. It's amazing he was only sacked twice.
ThePewterPirate: True, he had to work at it though. If he wasn't able to buy some time he might be on the IR (injured reserve) list by now.
Matthew Postins: If Garcia is hurt for any length of time, this team goes in the tank. I'm not sure there's a quarterback more important to a contending team in the NFL than Garcia is to the Buccaneers. Maybe Brett Favre to the Packers, just because their backup is untested, too.
ThePewterPirate: Favre seems to be having one of those years where the old magic comes back for him. Whatever it is, he is having more fun this year than last year.
Matthew Postins: I didn't see that TD pass in overtime, but I heard about it. It seems he's finally relaxed, and that team is playing better around him. Wish he had an actual running game, though. That team looks like a one-and-done playoff team.
ThePewterPirate: Their defense is playing well enough so far.
ThePewterPirate: Speaking of defense …
Matthew Postins: Gaines Adams may start on Sunday.
ThePewterPirate: How many sacks do we have as a team now? Are we on track to eclipse our 25 marks from last season?
Matthew Postins: Yes, but not by much. It's tracking to about 30 sacks this season. Still need plenty of pass rush, and with Greg Spires out they'll rely more on Adams and Greg White this weekend against Arizona.
Matthew Postins: I think Jon Gruden wants to see something out of Adams the second half of the season. That's the point he made earlier this week. Adams has had half a season to get acclimated to the game and it's time to perform better.
ThePewterPirate: It's a step in the right direction. When does (Brian) Kelly return?
Matthew Postins: Not sure about Brian Kelly. Like the others that are injured, Gruden is keeping their status close to the vest. I don't think he'll play, even though the Bucs are desperate for a cornerback. They only have three (cornerbacks) right now.
ThePewterPirate: 12 men on IR and we drafted 10. That's bad math.
Matthew Postins: That's awful math. The fact that they're 4-4 right now is a minor miracle. But they have to win this week or I'm not sure they come back from that.
ThePewterPirate: I don't think we can hold off Carolina, the Saints and the Falcons the way we are playing now. Earlier in the year I'd have bet money on us, but now....
Matthew Postins: I disagree a bit. I think they can beat Atlanta and Carolina. The Panthers have as many worries as the Buccaneers do. Now, New Orleans? That's another matter. If they win Sunday they're 4-4 after starting 0-4. If the Bucs can win Sunday and get some momentum back after the bye, that meeting the Superdome in December could be huge.
ThePewterPirate: They are gonna be playing to prove something.
Matthew Postins: I think so. This week they have to prove that they can overcome all these injuries and beat a team that, on paper, they should beat.
ThePewterPirate: This earlier meeting with Carolina has been the onely one I can remember in a long while where we came out and dominated them.
Matthew Postins: Teams that make the playoffs do that.
ThePewterPirate: Most of our games with them came down to the final minutes.
Matthew Postins: With Carolina? That's usually the case if both teams are playing halfway decent.
ThePewterPirate: I believe that we still have a legit shot at the division.
Matthew Postins: I do too. But a lot will be determined in the next three games. They're all games the Buccaneers can win if they get a little healthier, run the ball a bit better and stop shooting themselves in the foot.
ThePewterPirate: I agree. Especially with that last part. I hate it when we give away games.