Bucs blog in review: Dec. 3-7

Buccaneers Blog is my personal blog on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You can follow the Bucs every through this blog, or you can catch up each week by hitting the archives to check the entries for the past week.

Friday, Dec. 7

Injury update, 6:50 p.m.

Here is the injury report for Thursday.

BUCCANEERS: Doubtful — RB Michael Pittman (ankle); Questionable — FB B.J. Askew (ankle), WR Joey Galloway (toe), QB Jeff Garcia (back), WR Ike Hilliard (knee), LB Ryan Nece (groin), DE Greg Spires (calf); Probable — DE Kevin Carter (shoulder). TEXANS: Out —QB Matt Schaub (shoulder), RB Ahman Green (knee); Questionable — LB Danny Clark (groin); Probable — TE Mark Bruener (shoulder), RB Ron Dayne (ankle), P Matt Turk (back); G Chester Pitts (knee), T Ephraim Salaam (hand).

On the Bucs, Garcia is among several players that are considered a game-time decision. Garcia appears to want to play, but Jon Gruden is being cautious.

For the Texans, Green was placed on injured reserve today, which severely saps the Texans' running back depth. The Bucs will get a heavy dose of Dayne, who practiced on a limited basis today. I don't see the Texans rushing for more than 100 yards on Sunday.

That will wrap it up for today. If there are updates before the game, I'll let you know.

At Bucsblitz.com, 10 a.m.

It was a busy day yesterday filled with some breaking news. First, I brought you my conversation with fullback B.J. Askew about his injured ankle early in the afternoon. You can read the premium piece by clicking here. That's important to read because later in the day I learned through a NFL source that the Buccaneers worked out four players that could be considered fullbacks, including a six-year NFL vet. Could Askew miss the game on Sunday? We probably won't know until then, but you can find out who the Bucs are looking at for insurance by clicking here.

Plus, one little question led to a short Q&A with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden about injured running back Cadillac Williams. A reader asked me earlier this week about the RB and there is news to report. Get all of Gruden's comments on the back by clicking here.

Buchanon goes up against Texans, 9:52 a.m.

The Texans released cornerback Phillip Buchanon before the veteran signed with Tampa Bay last year. Does he have any ill will toward the Texans? If he does, he's not saying. Find out more in this article at TBO.com.

Williams sympathizes, 9:49 a.m.

You'll see a lot of split-screens comparing Texans defensive end Mario Williams, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, with Bucs rookie end Gaines Adams, the No. 4 overall pick this year. For better or for worse.

After what Williams went through last year, he can certainly relate to Adams' struggles this year. Read more in this article at Tampabay.com.

Go inside fourth down, 9:47 a.m.

You've heard a lot about that fourth-and-1 play against New Orleans on Sunday. Now here's a fine breakdown of the play, the thought that went into it and every assignment on the offensive line through the expert writing of the St. Pete Times' Joanne Korth at Tampabay.com.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Injury update, 4:18 p.m.

Here is the injury report for Thursday.

BUCCANEERS: Did not practice — FB B.J. Askew (ankle), RB Michael Pittman (ankle); Limited in practice — WR Joey Galloway (toe), QB Jeff Garcia (back), WR Ike Hilliard (knee), LB Ryan Nece (groin); Full participation in practice — DE Kevin Carter (shoulder), DE Greg Spires (calf)

TEXANS: Did not practice — LB Danny Clark (groin), QB Matt Schaub (shoulder); Limited in practice — TE Mark Bruener (shoulder), RB Ron Dayne (ankle), RB Ahman Green (knee), P Matt Turk (back); Full participation in practice — G Chester Pitts (knee), T Ephraim Salaam (hand).

Pittman may just be getting a day off. The Galloway toe issue is new and Gruden didn't comment. Dayne was upgraded to limited. Green is still limited, but there's no way to know for sure if he'll play on Sunday. The Texans may still put him on IR.

Garcia's taking more reps, 3:20 p.m.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden got further encouragement on the progress of starting quarterback Jeff Garcia.

Gruden didn't declare him the starter, and probably won't publicly. But he admitted that Garcia took more reps in practice on Thursday.

"He took a lot more snaps today and we'll see how he feels tomorrow," Gruden said.

Thursday was a key day for Garcia. Gruden said on Wednesday that he wanted to see how the quarterback bounced back from a day of limited work. Gruden seemed comfortable with what he saw.

"I think so," Gruden said. "He's certainly getting better."

Objectively, this still leaves the quarterback for Sunday up in the air. Subjectively, you can read into his comments that in all likelihood Garcia will start on Sunday. He's already practice twice as many days as he did last week and looks like he's walking pain-free as he leaves the field. He'll probably remain limited for the rest of the week on the practice report, but I suspect Garcia will be under center for the first snap against the Texans.

Get updated on the running backs, 3:18 p.m.

We have two premium pieces you might be interested in. First, read our Q&A with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on the status of injured running back Carnell Williams. They're his first public comments in about two months on the running back, and the third-year pro is back at One Buc Place. You can read the Q&A by clicking here.

Then, check on the status of fullback B.J. Askew, as his left ankle was in a hard cast before Thursday's practice. Will he play on Sunday? Get Askew's opinion by clicking here.

The road to the playoffs goes through …, 10:26 a.m.


That's what I said when a colleague made that reference yesterday. But after looking at Atlanta's remaining schedule, he had a point.

The Falcons host New Orleans (5-7) on Monday night, a team desperately clinging to hopes of a Wild Card playoff berth.

Then the Falcons travel to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers (8-4), by then, should have the NFC South wrapped up. You know the Falcons would love to spoil the Bucs' hopes of reaching for a No. 3 playoff seed by upsetting them at Raymond James, right?

The Falcons follow that with a Dec. 23 trip to Arizona. The Cardinals (5-7) might still be in this Wild Card race, too, if they can win their next two games (at Seattle, at New Orleans), which will be tough for the Cards.

Finally, if the Falcons haven't destroyed the Bucs' hopes of a No. 3 playoff seed, then they could help their cause. They host Seattle (8-4) in the season finale. The Bucs would need to finish one game ahead of the Seahawks — granted Seattle wins its division too — to claim the No. 3 playoff seed.

That's an interesting schedule for the Falcons, one that could help — or hurt — the Buccaneers if things fall the right way.

Football satire, 10:24 a.m.

You have to take this link for what it is — The Onion being the The Onion. Online's best satirists gives us a take on global warming from a football perspective. Give it a read at Theonion.com.

Catching up with Coyer, 10:18 a.m.

I heaped a lot of praise on Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin last week, but I would be remiss if I didn't throw some praise the way of his assistants, all of which are new this season — secondary coach Raheem Morris, linebackers coach Gus Bradley (he worked under Joe Barry last year) and defensive line coach Larry Coyer. Hiring the no-nonsense, pipe-smoking Coyer was a stroke of luck for the Bucs, who needed a stronger line coach after last year's anemic pass rush production (just 25 sacks). They found a well-respected line coach with a coordinator's expertise (his last job was as Mike Shanahan's defensive coordinator in Denver). Find out more in this entry at TBO.com.

Garcia update, 10:15 a.m.

If you read the Buccaneers blog yesterday, then you received up-to-the minute updates on the Jeff Garcia injury situation. For a review, here's a nice article that encompassed everything, courtesy of Tampabay.com.

I would love to say we'll find out today what Garcia's status is for Sunday, since head coach Jon Gruden wanted to see how Garcia's back reacted to Wednesday's workout. But I'd put down even odds that Gruden will soft-pedal that update, as he does most weeks. Judging from what I'm seeing and hearing, though, Garcia is the guy on Sunday, barring a major setback.

Wednesday, Dec. 5

Injury report, 4:45 p.m.

Here is Wednesday's injury report:

BUCCANEERS: Did not practice — FB B.J. Askew (ankle); Limited in practice — DE Kevin Carter (shoulder), WR Joey Galloway (team decision), QB Jeff Garcia, WR Ike Hilliard (knee), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf).

TEXANS: Did not practice — LB Danny Clark (groin), RB Ron Dayne (ankle), QB Matt Schaub (shoulder), P Matt Turk (back), CB Dexter Wynn (illness); Limited in practice — TE Mark Bruener (shoulder), RB Ahman Green (knee), G Chester Pitts (knee), T Ephraim Salaam (hand).

Schaub won't play on Sunday. The fact that both Dayne and Green are banged up doesn't bode well for the Texans' ground game.

Gruden on Garcia, 3:19 p.m.

The official injury report isn't out yet, but Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden said that he wants to see how Jeff Garcia's injured back reacts after his Wednesday workout before making a determination of Garcia's availability for Sunday's game with Houston.

Gruden made it sound like Garcia and McCown shared repetitions during practice on Wednesday, saying that Garcia was "limited."

"It was great to have him back," Gruden said. "He took some reps. It was very encouraging. If he can go, he'll go. But right now I don't want to say anything because I want to see how he reacts to today's workout. But he certainly did a lot more today than he did any time last week, so he's really on the way back."

Gruden said Garcia was able to do some of the things that make Garcia a dangerous quarterback, including his movement, sidearm throws and changing directions. Gruden said Garcia had a smile on his face most of the workout and was even "barking" at Gruden during the workout.

"I missed him," Gruden said. "No disrespect to Luke (McCown). He did a great job last week filling in. But we are seeing signs of progress and that's exciting."

Garcia sounded as if he's ready to go, judging by his comments on Wednesday to the media.

"I know they want me to be smart about it, but I feel like I'm ready to practice," Garcia said. "I believe I will play. I'm preparing to play."

Gruden said he split the reps in practice because he must prepare McCown just in case Garcia has a setback or isn't medically cleared to play.

"I'm going to base it on all the information that I get, what I see and what I get from the trainer," Gruden said. "Certainly, we'll see how he feels tomorrow. He's not 100 percent yet and we don't want to rush him back when he's still making progress."

Garcia suffered a deep back bruise against Washington on Nov. 25 and missed last week's game. McCown threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Buccaneers to a 27-23 victory over New Orleans.

Garcia practicing, 2:04 p.m.

Jeff Garcia is on the practice field and working out with the team on Wednesday afternoon, an encouraging sign for his availability on Sunday.

Jon Gruden wanted Garcia to practice at least two days this week before inserting him in the lineup. Garcia would still need to be medically cleared before he could play, but that's looking more and more like a certainty.

We'll have more when Gruden talks to the media at 3 p.m. We're only allowed to watch the first 30 minutes of practice, which is mostly stretching and light work.

Penn on Wade, 2:03 p.m.

What did the Buccaneers young offensive line think when they saw center John Wade walking off the field late in the game on Sunday at New Orleans? Here's what second-year tackle Donald Penn had to say:

"The old man in the middle?" Penn said. "He's our savior. The funny thing was last week, when he was walking off the field and cramping up, we were running over there like, ‘Wade?! Nooo! Nooo! Nooo! Come back! Where are you going?!' He's like the old father, the old grandfather in the huddle. He'll cuss you out. He'll let you know where you need to be. If I say something to the ref, he'll pull me back fast and say, ‘Don't talk to the ref.' He's our daddy."

Staying mum, 1:06 p.m.

Luke McCown stayed mum when the media asked him about practice reps during the morning walkthrough. Though, he did it politely.

"That's for us to have an understanding about right now," McCown said.

Despite his great game last Sunday, he reiterated that he's ready for Jeff Garcia's return.

"One game I played last weekend doesn't outweigh what Jeff has done all year," McCown said. "Are you kidding me? The guy is the reason we are where we are. He's the starter, and when he's ready to play, he'll start."

Odd jobs, 12:57 p.m.

Defensive end Greg White talked today about some of the odd jobs he pulled while waiting for his NFL break. They included delivering water and pizzas, along with putting caps on jars of maple syrup in his native New Jersey.

And, of course, he was working at Best Buy in Orlando last year.

"I had children," White said. "I had to work. Everything I could do, I tried to do."

White has nothing to worry about now as he has a team-leading 5.5 sacks so far this season.

About Johnson, 12:43 p.m.

Bucs defensive tackle Jovan Haye knows who the Buccaneers defense must stop on Sunday — Andre Johnson.

"They love the deep ball," Haye said. "Andre's back and he has four straight games with more than 100 yards receiving. We'll have our hands full."

But Johnson will be catching passes from Sage Rosenfels this week, and they have limited time together.

Plus, those four 100-yard receiving games — actually its four of his last five — are spread out around an eight-week absence due to an injury. He caught nine passes for 116 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee last week.

Making Gaines, 12:19 p.m.

Gaines Adams admitted to "discouragement" about his situation earlier this season, saying that had trouble making the transition from college player to pro player.

"Being drafted where I was drafted, I wanted to come in and start strong," Adams said. "But you have to realize that it's a hard transition, especially for guys at my position. They rarely come in and dominate."

Adams has registered three sacks in the past three games since he became the starter at right defensive end.

So what's clicking? Don't ask Adams.

"Things have just been going good," Adams said. "I can't really explain it."

Sunday's game will be a matchup of the two highest drafted defensive ends in the last two drafts. Houston made Mario Williams the No. 1 overall pick in 2006, and he just broke the team's single-season sack record last weekend. Williams has 8.5 sacks this season.

At Bucsblitz.com, 10:22 a.m.

Here's two articles to point you toward today. First, take a look at our premium piece, "Film Session," which breaks down the X's and O's of Sunday's victory and tells you why certain things worked and certain things didn't work. Click here to read and subscribe. Then, take a look at Postscripts from Tuesday. I debuted my "Mail Bag," where I answer questions from users by either e-mail or message board posts. I'll be endeavoring to do this every week. You can read the first one by clicking here.

Schaub's status, 10:17 a.m.

We just spoke to Houston head coach Gary Kubiak and he pretty much ruled out Matt Schaub, who dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder against Tennessee last week. He said they're preparing Sage Rosenfels to start on Sunday.

Normally, I'd be worried about this because a backup usually equals a lack of knowledge for the opponent. But Rosenfels has played in four games this year and has thrown 123 passes, so there's plenty of film for the defensive staff to break down this week. The Saints did not have that luxury last week when it came to preparing for Luke McCown. The fact that Kubiak declared his intentions now only helps the Bucs defense prepare for Rosenfels.

Kubiak did say that Schuab should be back by the end of the season.

Show Jon the money, 10:13 a.m.

St. Pete Times columnist Gary Shelton isn't afraid to criticize the local football team or its head coach, Jon Gruden. Apparently he's not afraid to praise them, either, when it's warranted. Today, Shelton writes that the Glazer family should sit Gruden down soon and offer him a contract extension. Read more at Tampabay.com.

Tuesday, Dec. 4

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.

Monday, Dec. 3

On McCown, 12:20 p.m.

As you might expect, head coach Jon Gruden had plenty of good things to say about Luke McCown's performance on Sunday against New Orleans, noting McCown's poise in the pocket despite nearly three years without a regular-season start.

"The Saints were really jacked up and were at full strength, getting Charles Grant and Brian Young back. I thought he showed tremendous poise, great command and he also made a lot of plays. So those three things stood out in my mind," Gruden said.

McCown went 29-of-37 for 313 yards, 2 touchdown and 1 interception against the Saints in his first start since Dec. 26, 2004.

He wasn't perfect. He took three sacks on Sunday, one of which led to a safety. On two occasions, McCown admitted, he should have thrown the ball away and didn't. He chalked it up to rustiness.

"Certainly, I know better than that," McCown said. "It's not something that I don't understand. It was a situation where I had gotten out of the pocket and they had covered down my first two options so I came to my backside progression. I was out of the pocket pretty soon and I was working with Jerramy Stevens on a scramble drill. I was waiting on a hole. I felt like I was going to get a hole that I could stick the ball into for a first down and I just waited too long to try and make that happen. Will Smith made a good play in that situation. I have to get rid of the ball in that situation. The clock has to go off."

Considering it was McCown's first start in a while, Gruden cut him some slack on Monday, focusing on what the fourth-year QB did right, including some big plays.

"He had some explosive runs, scrambles," Gruden said. "Where he's not just avoiding the rush and keeping the play alive, he's avoiding a rush and he's running for 15 or 20 yards. He had two carries yesterday for 34 yards. His quality throws to Joey Galloway, that 60-yard gain was a big-time play. It was a rifle, it was on the money. There were three or four other plays that he made, scrambling on a naked bootleg and hitting B.J. Askew with the defensive end right in his face. He showed some rare athleticism and play-making."

Gruden said he also appreciated the fact that McCown used 10 different receivers on Sunday.

On Garcia, 12:08 p.m.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said Monday that Jeff Garcia is a possibility to play this weekend against Houston.

Garcia missed the game on Sunday and Luke McCown put together a great effort in his place. But Gruden made it clear he wants Garcia on the field as soon as he can get him there.

"I just want him to tell me he's ready to go and then see him move around pain-free. Like I said, he's getting better and in the meantime we'll continue to work with Bruce (Gradkowski) and Luke (McCown)," Gruden said.

Garcia made a brief appearance in the locker room after treatment for his injury but did not talk to reporters.

Gruden made it clear that the Bucs' three-game lead with four games to play in the NFC South will have no bearing on when Garcia comes back.

"No, he's a needed guy on our football team," Gruden said. "We need to win another game. We're in the fight of our lives to win every Sunday and this week is no different. If Garcia is cleared to play, he'll play."

What will it take for Garcia to play? Gruden admitted he needs to see Garcia put in some practice time this week before putting him back in the starting lineup.

"I'd like him to," Gruden said. "I'd like to get him back practicing a little bit before we put him in a game. He's already missed one week of practice. We'll just take it day by day."

Injury update, 11:17 a.m.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden didn't not update any injuries on Monday. I'll delve more into the QB situation momentarily, but Gruden refuted the rumor that there's more damage to Garcia's back than previously reported.

NFC playoff update, 9:54 a.m.

There's a little separation at the top now after Dallas beat Green Bay on Thursday. The Cowboys (12-1) are the top team in the NFC, followed by Green Bay (11-2), Seattle (8-4) and Tampa Bay (8-4).

The Bucs are all but locks to win the NFC South now that they have a three-game lead. The real question is whether they can overcome Seattle to claim the No. 3 playoff seed. That makes that loss in Seattle in the opener a big one.

But the Bucs should host a home playoff game in the Wild Card round, barring a complete collapse.

Waiting at One Buc, 9:53 a.m.

I'm a lonely guy right now. I'm the only one in the media room at One Buc Place. But that will chance shortly. Jon Gruden will speak at approximately 11 a.m. and then the locker room will be open to talk to players. Today's major issues are the status of Jeff Garcia and John Wade, the latter of which was hurt in the final minutes of Sunday's game. He was replaced by Matt Lehr. That could be a big blow, depending on the severity of the injury.

Catch up at Bucsblitz.com, 9:50 a.m.

Looking for complete coverage of the game? Find it here at Bucsblitz.com. You can catch up with the Bucs' 27-23 victory over New Orleans with our game story by clicking here. Joey Galloway had another sensational game against the Saints. Go inside the numbers and get other notes about the game by clicking here. Did you miss the scoring summary from yesterday? Don't worry. We have our own summary, with complete offensive stats and grades for all key positions for the Bucs. Read more by clicking here. And, see the best images from the game in our Bucs-Saints photo gallery by clicking here.

Stevens gets it done, 9:50 a.m.

I'm sure there are some Bucs fans that have wondered what Jerramy Stevens is doing on the roster this season (much like Jeremiah Trotter). But you never know when a 6-foot-6 tight end is going to come in handy, and he did on Sunday in New Orleans. Ira Kaufman goes deep on Stevens' game-winning touchdown catch in this article at TBO.com.

Team of destiny?, 9:48 a.m.

I suppose we should start talking about karma after Sunday's win. I mean, when you look at it logically, how did the Bucs win that game down three points with three minutes to play? They shouldn't have, but they did. Roy Cummings outlines how it happened in this article at TBO.com.

He better accept the blame, 9:45 a.m.

The New Orleans Saints will very likely miss the playoffs, and in doing so they can partially blame their head coach, Sean Payton, and what can only be described as a hair-brained play call in the fourth quarter. A double reverse with the game on the line? What was he thinking? Find out more at Tampabay.com.

Getting on Mort, 9:43 a.m.

Both Jon Gruden and Jeff Garcia refuted a report that Garcia's injury is a hairline fracture in this article at Tampabay.com. A hairline fracture of "what" is never specified.

Going deep with McCown, 9:41 a.m.

St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton delves into Luke McCown, tracing the doubt and the uncertainty of his career from his last start in Cleveland three years ago to his rousing start on Sunday against New Orleans at Tampabay.com.

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