Bucsblitz.com's Top 5

Each week Bucsblitz.com's Matthew Postins will analyze the top five issues facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that week. In this opening edition, Postins analyzes the Bucs' player moves, including Eugene Wilson, Sean Mahan and Dan Buenning, along with why the Bucs might be worried just a bit about WR Joey Galloway. Updated on Thursday evening.

1. Getting back Sean

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, what happened on Tuesday — trading Dan Buenning to Chicago and getting Sean Mahan from Pittsburgh — constitutes a flurry of moves. We'll get to Buenning in a minute.

But first, why Mahan you ask? Well, can you think of a better starting right guard at this stage of the game? Well, one that isn't Davin Joseph?

Exactly. That's why the Bucs made the move to get the guard-center back from Pittsburgh. I'm a bit clueless as to why the Steelers wanted to part with such a proficient lineman, but they did and now the Bucs have a nice stopgap until Joseph returns.

The Bucs never wanted to let Mahan go in the first place when he departed as a free agent last year. Getting him back means they get back a player who has started at left and right guard for the Bucs, knows offensive line coach Bill Muir's system and can step in at right guard this weekend against New Orleans.

Sure the Bucs could have sent Jeremy Zuttah out there and taken their chances, and one day Zuttah is going to be a fine lineman. But against a team that wants to flex its improved pass rush and has beefed up its linebacker corps, the Bucs can't take a chance on an unsteady rookie.

No, dealing for Mahan was the best-case scenario and the right move as the Bucs take on New Orleans this weekend.

UPDATE: Zuttah is the likely starter on Sunday, as he is taking first-team reps during practice. Keep an eye on Mahan, though, if the rookie struggles at right guard in the first half. The Bucs could make a change at halftime.

2. Bye, bye Dan

Let's take a minute and remember Buenning's three-plus years in Tampa Bay…

OK, I'm done.

Buenning had plenty of promise after starting every game at left guard in 2005, but an injury in the final preseason game pretty much ended his 2006 season — and numbered his days in Tampa Bay.

Not even learning the center position helped Buenning stick with the team through his original contract, which expires this year.

The Bears are getting a player that hasn't started a game since 2006 and hasn't played in the regular season in nearly two years. Buenning was always an above-average run blocker, but injuries stunted his development as a pass blocker. The emergence of Arron Sears last year, and Zuttah this offseason, made Buenning expendable.

The best thing about Buenning's three-plus years in Tampa Bay? He was valuable enough to get a draft pick in return. Not even Chris Simms was valuable enough to do that.

3. What's up with Eugene?

I have to admit, I was pretty stunned by S Eugene Wilson's release on Monday. What made matters worse was the non-descript lineman the Bucs released Wilson to sign.

Rookie James Lee? What the heck?

I could have named three players I would have released before I released Wilson. Here they are. Matt McCoy. Greg Peterson. Josh Johnson.

The Bucs were named by Sports Illustrated as having the best secondary unit in the magazine's recent Pro Football issue. Wilson is a reason why. I thought he played well during the preseason and deserved a roster spot.

Still, you can look at the situation analytically and find cause. The emergence of first-round pick Aqib Talib and safety Sabby Piscitelli might have made Wilson expendable to the Bucs. In that case, though, they would have been better off trying to swing a trade for a draft pick instead of releasing him outright.

I just have difficulty understanding the logic of releasing a veteran of Wilson's caliber, even at a position of strength, when the Bucs will surely need it down the road.

UPDATE: It didn't take Wilson long to find work. He signed with Houston shortly after his release.

4. I guess if it's not Simms …

Remember last year when the Bucs kept four quarterbacks and it caused all kinds of attention on Chris Simms?

Well, the Bucs did the same thing this year and it caused nary a ripple.

I guess that comes with being the future of the franchise, I guess, as many consider rookie quarterback Josh Johnson.

Now, I'm not saying that Johnson doesn't deserve a roster spot. If the Bucs see him as their future, they should keep him. But it's sort of the double standard of it all. Simms was the past, and everyone knew it.

By this time last year Simms' days were all but numbered in Tampa Bay. He should have been released after last year's preseason, but it's believed the Glazer family stepped in and made sure it didn't happen.

Now that the Bucs have Johnson, Simms became expendable. But they still hung onto Simms for four more months after acquiring Johnson, saying, "Well, you never know what will happen."

Maybe, but the Bucs wanted to deal Simms and missed the boat by not doing it on draft day.

Now they'll watch Simms play for someone else, probably with a lustful eye of what could have been had Simms not lacerated his spleen on that September day in 2006. He should have been given his outright release long out, out of respect if for no other reason.

5. Joey owns New Orleans, right?

Statistics make the argument that Bucs WR Joey Galloway really torches the New Orleans Saints. Last year Galloway had 11 catches for 294 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints.

I'm betting it doesn't happen on Sunday. Why?

First, the Saints are going to be better defensively, no matter what you've heard. The secondary is better and the defensive line is better. Now, I'm not talking about the Saints as world-beaters on defense, only better than their No. 30 ranking a year ago.

Second, there's Galloway's groin, which kept him out of all of training camp and he didn't play any preseason games. Is he totally healthy? No one really knows because the Bucs have never adequately updated Galloway's progress from the injury.

I've always asserted that without Galloway the Bucs' pass offense is non-existent. Imagine the Bucs without a 100 percent Galloway on Sunday? Did you see last year's playoff game?

Exactly. I'm not banking on Galloway being 100 percent until I see it for myself.

Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of bucsblitz.com


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