Questions, questions, 9:57 a.m.
I'm going to start a new feature in the blog today, "Bucsblitz Mailbag," where I take three reader questions — whether they come to me via e-mail or via the message board — and answer them.
Q: As of right now the Bucs would be playing the Giants. A lot can change before this season is over. Any thoughts on who the Bucs match up better with in order to win in the first round? — Dizzy3a
A: Dizzy, I agree that the Giants are the likely opponent, based on the fact that I don't believe the Bucs will overcome Seattle to claim the No. 3 seed. That seems unlikely as both have easy schedules down the stretch and Seattle has a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bucs for playoff seeding. I think the Bucs actually match up well with the Giants because Eli Manning is a pocket passer that can be flustered by a good pass rush. Their run game is inconsistent, and while Plaxico Burress is a matchup nightmare, the rest of that receiving corps is underwhelming. The defense is solid, but they'll miss DE Mathias Kiwanuka eventually. The Giants are beatable and with the Bucs being at home, that will give them an edge. I see them winning a Wild Card game this year.
Q: Anyone out there know the status of Carnell Williams? How is he coming along with his injury and rehab? — BayCaddy420
A: BayCaddy, we haven't seen Carnell around One Buc Place since he was placed on injured reserve and the team has not provided injury updates. They typically don't with players that are on injured reserve. All injury updates come from Jon Gruden and he typically doesn't update injuries about players on IR unless asked. That being said, I think I could muster up a question on Wednesday and find out. I'll let you know.
Q: Do we draft another QB to replace Jeff Garcia when he calls it quits, or do we continue to groom Luke McCown for the starting job? Was this (New Orleans) a tough enough game to base his abilities on or is this a Sunday fluke? I'd like to see him take a few more plays at the end of games to both rest Garcia for the playoffs, ... but mainly to see if he continues to play well. — ThePewterPirate
A: That's a great question, TPP. It's also difficult to answer. I think McCown's game on Sunday keeps him in the conversation about the future, that's for sure. I don't think it's a Sunday fluke. I've watched McCown play since he was in high school in Texas and he's always struck me as a talented player. But you never know how he'll react to extended playing time until he's exposed to it. And he won't be if Jon Gruden can help it, as he appears intent on playing Garcia this weekend (granted Garcia is cleared to play). While it might seem in the Bucs' best interests to play McCown again on Sunday, they're not playing for the future. They're playing for this season and they still have something to play for (playoff seeding). I think it's a mistake for the Bucs to draft a young quarterback because they always seem to fail in this system (Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski). I think the system is so overwhelming to them that it just ruins them mentally. Though, it being Gruden, I wouldn't put it past him to draft a quarterback. But if you look at his history as a coach, Gruden likes — and needs — a veteran there. So I think your best options are to sign a free-agent veteran when Garcia leaves or groom a player like McCown to take over. I think that's an option they'll consider during the offseason.
At Bucsblitz.com, 9:54 a.m.
Here are two stories worth your time at Bucsblitz.com. First there's my Observation Deck game review, which features my game balls, disappointments, review of my predictions and a review of the key matchups I identified before the game. It's in-depth analysis you can't get anywhere, so click here. Also, I caught up with Luke McCown in the locker room on Monday and he talked in depth about his performance against New Orleans. Read the story by clicking here. By tomorrow you can read my entire interview with McCown in "Press Pass."
Buchanon's game, 9:53 a.m.
Bucs CB Phillip Buchanon wasn't in the locker room on Monday, as he attended former teammate Sean Taylor's funeral in Miami. But he admitted after the game on Sunday that he was disappointed by his performance against New Orleans. For the first time this season, so were most Bucs fans. Find out why in this story at TBO.com.
Garcia watch, 9:50 a.m.
We'll know a lot more about Jeff Garcia's injury status on Wednesday, but for now Jon Gruden made it clear that when Garcia is healthy, he'll play. So ditch any thoughts of a quarterback controversy — for now. Here's the story at Tampabay.com.
Language barrier, 9:45 a.m.
Jon Gruden has taken some heat the past 48 hours for, of all things, his sideline language. Here's the story at Tampabay.com. He had a tirade on the sideline at one point, and some doofus from FOX turned up the parabolic microphone when it was obvious to anyone watching that he was dropping several F-bombs (as the kids like to say). Now, I occasionally swear. Most people do. And I would have to agree that if you have a kid watching, you probably don't want the head coach of the local football team swearing on TV. But, if you're a parent, all you have to do is sit your kid down and tell them this kind of language is inappropriate for you as a child, and even as an adult, and I'm sure they'll listen to you. I think. Maybe. Actually, I dunno.
If it helps your argument, tell your kids that Gruden appeared genuinely embarrassed and that most adults are embarrassed when caught using such language. That should at least tell them that on some level it's wrong. Lord knows when I get caught swearing by a child I'm supremely embarrassed.