Wednesday, Nov. 21
June will start, 5:48 p.m.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden made it clear Wednesday that LB Cato June will start on Sunday, despite his Monday morning DUI arrest.
"Yeah, he's starting," Gruden said. "Yes."
Incidentally, no one in the media corps knew who the TV person was that asked Gruden on Monday if "Cato June had a drinking problem?" All we're sure about is that he's from Channel 28 in Tampa and that he probably won't be allowed back to One Buc Place.
Gruden also said he'll take a couple of hours with family on Thursday for Thanksgiving. He might even play some football himself.
"Usually my brother [Jay] and his boys come over and we have a nice meal and a flag football game out in the yard," Gruden said. "It's his kids against my kids and we're 26-point underdogs right now."
Apparently Jay's kids are the New England Patriots of pee-wee football.
Read the rest of Gruden's Wednesday transcript by clicking here.
Injury update, 5:43 p.m.
Here is the injury report for Wednesday — Bucs: Did not participate in practice — FB B.J. Askew (ankle), RB Michael Pitman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf); Limited participation in practice — WR Michael Clayton (ankle), WR Joey Galloway (team decision), RB Earnest Graham (ankle); Full participation in practice — DE Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder). Redskins: Did not participate in practice — OL Randy Thomas (triceps); Limited participation in practice — RB Ladell Betts (illness), DL Cornelius Griffin (foot), OL Pete Kendall (ankle), WR Santana Moss (heel), WR Antwaan Randle-El (chest), S Sean Taylor (knee), WR James Thrash (ankle), OL Todd Wade (knee); Ful participation in practice — LB London Fletcher (ribs), RB Mike Sellers (back).
The Cover 4, 3:52 p.m.
You probably saw our link to a story on the Cover 4 defense the other day. I asked defensive backs coach Raheem Morris about the formation and what it's done for his secondary this season:
"You know, really it's a mixture of coverages. We've had it before in the past. Right now for whatever reason it's getting a little more pub than it did the last time we had it in. It's just ties in well with what we do, what people consider the Tampa 2. It looks like Tampa 2, but it's a different coverage. It gives you more man principles. Everything that was said in the paper this morning. Those guys enjoy playing it. It gives the safeties the ability to make more plays and use their playmaking skills, which we're seeing this year. It's given the corners the chance to transition against the ball and make some plays they wouldn't have made in the Tampa 2. It's not real big difference. It's just another coverage and we go out and play it."
The best part of this coverage, to me, is how it's disguised. The fact that it looks like a Cover 2 and is actually a Cover 4 must throw teams off offensively.
Scoring change, 3:49 p.m.
We were just informed of a scoring change regarding defensive tackle Chris Hovan's interception against Atlanta. It's not an interception anymore. The NFL has ruled that the play was in fact a forced fumble by Gaines Adams and a fumble recovery by Hovan. The best we can figure is that the NFL ruled that Falcons QB Byron Leftwich's arm wasn't moving forward when he lost the ball, which would not make it a forward pass. So Adams now has 3 ½ sacks this season and Hovan is still looking for his first interception.
Of course that led to the best line of the day. When the Bucs P.R. guy came in and informed us there was a scoring change, a writer said, "Did y'all lose?" Priceless.
In the locker room, 12:43 p.m.
I had a nice one-on-one interview with Bucs DT Jovan Haye today, which will be our "Press Pass" feature for this week on Thursday. He's always a good quote and he talked a lot about the defensive line's progress this season.
In fact, most of our focus will be on defense this week, as I'm working on articles on the progress of the pass rush and a feature on Gaines Adams' progress since being named a starter. You can check in later today for a short feature on the Bucs-Redskins "rivalry," once I speak to Washington head coach Joe Gibbs at 1:30 p.m.
And no Cato June today. He wasn't in the locker room.
Coming later, 9:31 a.m.
We've got stuff going on all day at One Buc Place, including open locker room and Jon Gruden's post-practice press conference. I would expect LB Cato June to not show up in the locker room today. To put June's arrest in perspective, go to TBO.com and read the story about WFLA's respected news anchor and his arrest on the same charge Wednesday morning.
We also have conference calls with Redskins coach Joe Gibbs — who is a better quote than you think — and former Bucs receiver Keenan McCardell.
Harrington to start, 9:30 a.m.
A week too late, Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino made Joey Harrington the starter for Thursday's game, citing Byron Leftwich's tailbone injury. Not surprised he's hurt after the beating he took against the Bucs.
Holmes may retire, 9:26 a.m.
Just got done reading our Jay Glazer's story on Kansas City running back Priest Holmes. Apparently Holmes re-injured his neck against the Colts on Sunday. Glazer reported this story first on our NFL Experts Web site and at Foxsports.com. Here's the link.
NFL.com is already reporting that Holmes will retire on Wednesday, via a team source.
This is a big blow to Kansas City, which is already without Larry Johnson. If Holmes can't play, the load falls to rookie Kobie Smith.
Funny how things work. Michael Bennett, who was a Chief about a month ago, could have been the starter this weekend had the Chiefs not dealt him to Tampa Bay. Bennett was inactive last Sunday. Seems he can't catch a break.
My NFC South predictions review, 9:23 a.m.
Last week I made my final NFC playoff predictions (in seeded order) — Dallas, Green Bay, Seattle, Tampa Bay, the New York Giants and Arizona. How did I do?
Well, all six of those teams won, and if the postseason started today I would be right on five of those six picks. The Detroit Lions (6-4) are a game ahead of the Cardinals (5-5). But there are still six more games and the Cardinals are playing pretty well right now. Also, remember that the Cardinals beat the Lions two weeks ago and the Cards' remaining schedule is marshmallow soft. The Lions have Green Bay on Thursday and still have Dallas to come. It'll be interesting.
At Bucsblitz.com, 9:20 a.m.
Take a look at our premium "Film Session" article, which breaks down some of the top plays from Sunday's win over Atlanta. You can look at this article for free beginning Wednesday night when we have our Thanksgiving special. From Wednesday night through Sunday night, all premium content is free. It's a great chance for you to see what Bucsblitz.com is all about and take a look at our services, which we believe stack up with the best any team-related NFL Web site has to offer. Here's the link to Film Session.
Power up, 9:19 a.m.
Our Scout.com NFL analyst, Tom Marino, has more than 30 years experience scouting talent for the NFL. He just unveiled his current power rankings and look who vaulted into the Top 10? Check it out at Scoutnflexperts.com.
The devil is in the details, 9:16 a.m.
I mentioned last week that the Bucs are using a lot more Cover 4 defense than usual. That's a defense that divides the secondary into quarters for the defensive backs and safeties in zone — and man — coverage. It's a very deceptive formation, the St. Pete Times' Stephen Holder writes, because it looks like the Bucs' base Cover 2. Here's a primer on the formation at Tampabay.com.
Magic numbers, 9:14 a.m.
Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune writes that it's a bit premature for the Bucs to start talking about a "magic number" to clinch the division. There is still plenty that could go wrong — or right — for the Bucs in the next six games. Read more at TBO.com.
You'll miss the Colts game on Thursday, 9:12 a.m.
Well, I won't, because I'm a DirecTV subscriber. But for those in the Tampa area who use Time Warner or Comcast Cable, they won't see the game. That could be a good thing. But the battle between the NFL and those cable companies over the NFL Network is still raging after more than a year. The Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman profiles the scope of the dispute in this article at TBO.com.