Saturday, Nov. 3
Final update, 10:57 a.m.
Between a late football game and the cold I'm coming down with, I feel like garbage right now. But here is the final injury report and updates for Sunday's game:
Bucs: Out — DE Greg Spires (calf); Questionable — LB Quincy Black (hamstring), DE Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder), WR Michael Clayton (ankle), WR Ike Hilliard (calf), CB Brian Kelly (groin), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), TE Alex Smith (ankle). Cardinals: Questionable — LB Karlos Dansby (knee), T Mike Gandy (calf); Probable — FS Aaron Francisco (knee), QB Kurt Warner (left elbow).
With Spires out, it's a roll of the dice whether Gaines Adams or Greg White will start at right end. As for the rest of these guys, don't expect Black to play. He hasn't practiced all week. The rest of them have practiced in a limited fashion, so there's a chance. Jon Gruden said the rest of them were game-time decisions. As for the Cardinals that are questionable, I expect Dansby to play. Arizona Republic beat writer Kent Somers reported Friday that Dansby is moving "fairly well" during practice and should be active, though Monty Beisel could start anyway.
Friday, Nov. 2
Mocking already, 12:01 p.m.
Scout.com's Chris Steuber has already put together a 2008 Mock Draft — and it's only November. See who he has the Buccaneers taking (hint — it's offense) by clicking here. I intend to talk to Chris next week for a couple of premium pieces I'm working on.
Running game gets going, 11:56 a.m.
I explore the issue of the Buccaneers' running game in this article, which explains that the ground game is beginning to generate the kinds of numbers that led to victories earlier this season. How is it happening? Find out by clicking here. Also, take the time to read my Press Pass feature with running backs coach Art Valero by clicking here. It's a premium piece interview that is well worth your time. He's one of the most knowledgeable and articulate assistant coaches in the game.
Ready for Warner, 11:53 a.m.
Kurt Warner broke Tampa Bay's hearts in that NFC Championship game several years ago. But the Bucs have also had success against him too. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune explores that issue in this article at TBO.com.
The midterm report, 11:51 a.m.
Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune offered up his mid-season report card today. You can read it at TBO.com. You can also read my mid-season player report cards for the offense and the defense by clicking on those links.
Running late, 11:49 a.m.
Sorry. Up all night with the girl. She was under the weather. We'll get to it shortly.
Thursday, Nov. 1
Gruden's transcript up, 5:38 p.m.
Jon Gruden did not sound optimistic about his injured players, saying the statuses of Greg Spires, Michael Clayton and Michael Pittman had not changed. To reach Gruden's entire Thursday press conference, click here to access this exclusive feature.
Injury report, 5:18 p.m.
Here is the complete injury report for Wednesday — Bucs: Did not practice — LB Quincy Black (hamstring), DE Greg Spires (calf); Limited participation in practice — DE Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder), WR Michael Clayton (ankle), WR Ike Hilliard (calf), CB Brian Kelly (groin), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), TE Alex Smith (ankle). Cardinals: Limited participation in practice — LB Carlos Dansby (knee), T Mike Gandy (calf); Full participation in practice — FS Aaron Francisco (knee), QB Kurt Warner (left elbow).
Sprulock called up, 2:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay signed Michael Spurlock from the practice squad to fill out the 53-man roster. With the numerous injuries for the Bucs, I think he'll be active. I'd be stunned, however, if he played anything more than special teams.
What about Williams?, 10:01 a.m.
That seemed to be Jon Gruden's reaction to the news that Oakland wide receiver Mike Williams had been placed on waivers. You might remember Williams as the player the Buccaneers were considering taking fifth overall instead of Carnell Williams in 2005. So, at least we know the Bucs made the right choice. But Williams is also a Tampa boy, which automatically leads to speculation, especially since the Bucs still have an open roster spot.
"I don't really have any comment right now," Gruden said. "I have interest in the guys in our building. I'll let the personnel people answer that. I have an interest right now in getting Chas (Gessner) up to speed and getting some of these guys that haven't played back."
Bluntly, kick returner is a higher priority, and there are two out there that could help if the Bucs are willing to sign them. I reported those two players on Tuesday, but there's no word yet on whether they're coming to Tampa Bay or not.
Bye week nears for Bucs, 9:58 a.m.
St. Pete Times writer Rick Stroud and I took similar approaches this morning. Stroud's article focuses on the Bucs wearily gearing up for one more game before the bye week. Read more at tampabay.com. I took the approach that the Chas Gessner signing is a symptom of a larger problem that has contributed to this 1-3 malaise — the use of lesser talent to replace the Buccaneers' better players. Read more at Bucsblitz.com.
Do you like your barbecue, 9:55 a.m.
If you like your barbecue in Tampa Bay, you likely hit Lee Roy Selmon's barbecue joint every once in a while (Lord knows I do). Well, Selmon's barbecue chain is about to go statewide, according to this article at heraldtribune.com.
Score some points,9:50 a.m.
The title of Gary Shelton's column in the St. Petersburg Times this morning says it all — ‘Isn't up the best way to run a score?' Perfect. The Bucs could take that advice. Read more at Tampabay.com;
Secondary preparation,9:48 a.m.
The Tampa Bay secondary has played well all season. But they'll face a stiff test this weekend when Arizona comes to town. They'll have to defend both Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Find out more in this article at TBO.com.
Wall-to-wall coverage of Gaines,9:46 a.m.
Seems everyone is writing about Gaines Adams today. Get Roy Cummings' take on Adams in this article at TBO.com. Monte Kiffin told the St. Petersburg Times that while Adams has had two good weeks of practice, he still needs to see it on the field, according to this article at Tampabay.com. And, here's my take on Adams, a story that you could have found more than 12 hours before both TBO.com and Tampabay.com at Bucsblitz.com.
Wednesday, Oct. 31
Check out who's working out for Bucs, 10:44 a.m.
We were one of the first news outlets to report that the Buccaneers auditioned a pair of kickoff returners on Tuesday at One Buc Place. We had the story, thanks to a league source, at midnight. Who were they? Find out in this premium piece. I think the Bucs will sign one of these two because they have an open roster spot.
Defensive grades, 10:42 a.m.
I continue my midseason gradebook with a player-by-player grading of the Buccaneers defensive players, a premium piece you can read by clicking here. If you missed part one — the offensive grades — catch up by clicking here.
A face race, 10:40 a.m.
We all know about "Chucky," AKA Jon Gruden. But what about South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt? His facial contortions are giving the Bucs head coach a run for his money. Check it out in this article at TBO.com.
More injuries to deal with, 10:38 a.m.
This article in the St. Petersburg Times details the myriad of injuries the Buccaneers have had to deal with this season — and continue to deal with this week, as they've now lost Torrie Cox for the season. Find out more in this article at Tampabay.com.
Good news, 10:36 a.m.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King still likes the Buccaneers to win the NFC South. Why? He explains in this article at Si.com.
Lucas on waivers, 12:09 a.m.
Found out late Tuesday that the Bucs plan to put wide receiver Chad Lucas on waivers, according to a league source. He didn't do much in his one shot on Sunday, returning one kickoff and seeing a few plays at wide receiver. Perhaps this means Michael Clayton is close to returning.
Nickerson on HOF list, 12:07 a.m.
The NFL announced Tuesday that former Bucs linebacker Hardy Nickers is on the initial list of nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is one of 124 players, coaches and league contributors that will be considered later this year for 25 semifinals spots.
Tuesday, Oct. 30
At Bucsblitz.com today, 10:55 a.m.
Tuesday is the league's day off, but we're still keeping you informed at Bucsblitz.com Today you can find the first part of my two-part gradebook on the Buccaneers at the halfway point of this season. Click here to see the gradebook for the Bucs' offense. The gradebook includes grades for every significant Bucs player, including those on injured reserve. How did I grade your favorite player? Check it out. Also, read Ronde Barber's comments after Sunday's loss to Jacksonville. There was an exchange with two reporters that seemed to rankle Barber. Here's the link to our exclusive "Press Pass" feature. Also, get your first look at the Arizona Cardinals in our exclusive Tuesday feature, "First Look." No one gets you a scouting report on the upcoming opponent sooner than Bucsblitz.com. Finally, look for our "Film Session" feature and Part II of our player gradebook later today and Wednesday morning.
Adams to get more time, 10:52 a.m.
Jon Gruden laid it on the line on Monday — Gaines Adams will get more playing time. St. Pete Times beat writer Rick Stroud has the story, including comment from Gruden, in this piece at Tampabay.com.
Winning the turnover battle, 10:50 a.m.
Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune writes that it sounds simple — win the turnover battle, win the game. But it's not that simple. Ask the Buccaneers, who have failed to force a turnover each of the past two games. Cummings gets comment from, among others, Derrick Brooks, in this piece at TBO.com.
Monday, Oct. 29
The final word on the Jags loss, 3:41 p.m.
My Observation Deck review of Sunday's loss to Jacksonville is at Bucsblitz.com, and it includes why Kevin Carter is concerned about this team, why the Bucs aren't out of the race and my Game Balls for Sunday's game. Get the final word on the game by clicking here.
Gruden's words are up, 3:38 p.m.
The complete transcript from Jon Gruden's Monday press conference is up at Bucsblitz.com, an exclusive premium service you can only find here every time Gruden has a press conference. Get his unfiltered views on Sunday's game by clicking here. Also, catch up with his complete post-game press conference from Sunday by clicking here. .
Injury update, 11:24 a.m.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden updated the injury situation on Monday morning:
Defensive end Greg Spires had a calf injury and is being evaluated, said Gruden. He said it did not appear to be a strained Achilles' tendon, as reported. Cornerback/returner Torrie Cox had a knee injury and is also being evaluated. Gruden had no other updates on Brian Kelly, Patrick Chukwurah, Michael Pittman, Alex Smith and Michael Clayton, all of which are hurt and missed Sunday's game.
"We're concerned about them," Gruden said of Spires and Cox.
An injury to Spires would likely mean more playing time for Kevin Carter on the left side, as it would for Greg White, his likely backup.
Assessing the future, 11:19 a.m.
Jon Gruden on the NFC South race:
"You win your division you're in the playoffs and every year it starts right there. New Orleans is a good football team. Carolina and Atlanta have had their share of injuries. There is blood in the water in the NFC South. Hopefully we get some guys back and be a factor."
That fumble was big, 11:13 a.m.
Jon Gruden on that Quinn Gray fumble deep in the end zone on Sunday:
"Why didn't we get that? What the hell's going on? We didn't get it done. Our players will feel like, ‘Hey, we're a pretty good football team but we have to make a couple of more plays.' That was unfortunate."
On Stovall, 11:12 a.m.
Jon Gruden on Maurice Stovall:
"He had a couple of penalties in the two minute. His inexperience showed at times. He made some nice catches. He played on special teams. We got tired. We had to take a time out late to get some guys some air. It was a good start."
Jags catch some big passes, 11:10 a.m.
Jon Gruden on the two big Jacksonville receptions in the fourth quarter on Sunday:
"You look at Matt Jones go up and make a one-handed freak catch, and Wilford did the same thing the play before that. Those two signature plays won them the game."
Turning it over, 11:07 a.m.
Jon Gruden was asked what has to change from the past two weeks against Detroit and Jacksonville. He focused on the team's minus-5 turnover ratio.
"You can play fantasy football all you want, but it's turnover ratio that wins and loses football and we haven't acquired a turnover in two weeks," Gruden said.
Getting ready for Gruden, 10:43 a.m.
Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden will speak shortly to the media. We'll get injury updates on Torrie Cox, Greg Spires and other Buccaneers. Keep stopping by Bucsblitz.com all day for Gruden's press conference transcript from both Sunday and Monday, our "Press Pass" feature with Ronde Barber from Sunday's post-game locker room and my "Observation Deck" post-game review. Also, be sure to check out the story links provided in this blog. They'll get you up to speed on what happened yesterday.
Wall-to-wall coverage, 10:40 a.m.
If you haven't stopped by Bucsblitz.com since the Buccaneers' 24-23 loss to Jacksonville, you should. We have an in-depth game package. First, find out why veteran defensive end Kevin Carter is so distressed after the Bucs lost for the third time in four games by linking to my game story. Next, second-year wide receiver Maurice Stovall made a nice showing on Sunday, setting career highs in receptions and yards. It wasn't enough to help the Bucs win, but it was certainly encouraging. read about that, plus a comprehensive set of game notes from Sunday's contest. Also, if you missed the game for any reason, you can catch up with my official in-game blog, featuring injury updates, analysis and commentary. And, you can view the best images from Sunday's game in our free photo gallery.
Once, twice a whiff, 10:37 a.m.
You're probably thinking what the Lakeland Ledger's Mike Cobb wrote this morning — that the Bucs should be 6-2 and not 4-4. Why? Cobb provides a succinct breakdown of the Bucs' downturn at theledger.com.
Blitzing Jags, 10:36 a.m.
Jacksonville didn't make it easy on Tampa Bay defensively, bringing blitzes all afternoon on Sunday. At times, the Bucs handled it. Other times, they didn't. Quarterback Jeff Garcia was only sacked twice, but his feet seemed as if they were on the move all day, writes Joanne Korth in this article at Tampabay.com.
Bucs transforming before our eyes, 10:34 a.m.
Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times writes that the Buccaneers have transformed themselves from a possible playoff team into the team most Bucs observers expected at the start of the season — one that would break fans' hearts. Find out why in by linking to this story at Tampabay.com.
Not-so-special day, 10:30 a.m.
The Tampa Tribune's Mick Elliott wrote that, even though Jacksonville's game play lacked subtlety, it was effective in wearing down the Buccaneers to open up key gains late in the contest. Find out Elliott's opinion in this link to TBO.com.
Bucs sitting at .500, 10:29 a.m.
Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson writes that there's no reason to talk about what might have been for the Buccaneers during the past two games, even though two victories instead of two losses would have meant firm control of the NFC South. Find out Henderson's opinion in this article at TBO.com.