Hey, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ticket office is on the line. They want to know if you're open to renewing your season tickets for 2010 a little early, seeing as how the 2009 season is over. Should I take a message?
Yes, 2009 is done. I know there are 13 games left, but there is no other explanation for benching Byron Leftwich for Josh Johnson. I mean, does head coach Raheem Morris honestly believe that Johnson is the better option? Please. This kid is going to be so far over his head it won't even be funny.
Here's the part of this I don't get. If you truly are going to start building toward 2010, why not just start Josh Freeman now? Let him go ahead and take his lumps now so he doesn't have to in the future. This move will probably be framed as "this gives us the best chance to win now." Baloney. By inserting Johnson and not Freeman, the Bucs aren't tipping their hand about how much they think about Freeman's future. They're tipping their hands about how little they think of Johnson's future. This kid is nothing more than bantha fodder, to quote Han Solo. I feel bad for him. I really do.
The Bucs are probably on their way to a Top 5 pick this season, maybe even No. 1. Consider if the Bucs did not pick Josh Freeman in the first round this year. They could have their pick of Tim Tebow (the state would just explode if he ended up going to a Florida NFL team), Sam Bradford (who projects as the best pro) or Colt McCoy (could end up being a fine pro). But since Morris and GM Mark Dominik took Freeman, they've cast their lot with him. I just can't imagine how much clamoring there will be for the Bucs to take Tebow if they're in the Top 5. It'll be just nuts. And it'll be worthless, since the future is Freeman.
I honestly thought the yardage output for last week's game was a typo. Eighty-six lousy yards. No first downs until the third quarter. Pathetic. The high school game I went to Friday night was light years better than this mess.
Did you hear what Albert Haynesworth had to say earlier this week? Apparently the Bucs offered Big Al even bigger money than the Redskins to get him to come to Tampa. But Haynesworth had already agreed to the $100 million deal with Washington. The fact that Haynesworth stuck to his word is admirable. The Bucs didn't get much time to negotiate. But if that's any indication of how GM Mark Dominik wants to do business, perhaps this team will finally make a splash free agent signing in 2010. It's just nice to hear that, for once, the Bucs wanted to SPEND money.
Sporting News came out with their All-Decade team. Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber made the cut. Brooks is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But I wonder about Barber. I get this strange feeling that he's going to end up like Dallas' Cliff Harris – a defensive back that ends up on every All-Decade team, but for some reason doesn't get his due when it comes to Canton. Just a hunch. Barber's numbers are superb, but there's going to be a group of NFL writers who see Barber as nothing more than a system cornerback, and the Bucs' porous pass defense this season isn't helping that case.
You know there were questions about Mike Nugent's consistency before he arrived in Tampa Bay. It doesn't stun me at all that he's missed four field goals since preseason began. The only reason he got the job was because of Matt Bryant's injury. But it sounds like Bryant is just about healthy. Look for the Bucs to make a move in the next couple of weeks, whether Nugent turns it around or not. Just my opinion.
Jon Gruden told a Milwaukee newspaper that he thought a deal for Brett Favre was done last year. He went to bed thinking Favre was on his way, but woke up and found out that Favre was on his way to New York. I wonder if Jeff Garcia still has Gruden in his contacts list on his cell phone after that episode. Oh, and Gruden basically refuted everything he and former GM Bruce Allen said about "NOT" being interested in Favre. Nice to know they were such honest brokers while they were here, though that party line was hardly surprising given the relationship they had to mend with Garcia.
I had the Giants 37-10 last week. So I'm 3-0 this season in picks. Maybe the Bucs should put me on the payroll so they can get some of that karma. Anyway, Washington is the lousiest team this side of Tampa Bay. I mean they lost to the Lions. Still, the Bucs are using basically a rookie quarterback, and that I think that's the great equalizer in this particular contest. Haynesworth and Co. will be up in Johnson's face all day. Redskins 23, Bucs 13.