As a public service, here's a reminder of one my posts from last week:
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.
The Bucs released Nugent on Tuesday. They signed Shane Andrus. Uh, you know, the guy that scored more than 130 points for you last year is still out there, Raheem. Remember Matt Bryant? He has to be healthy by now.
My opinion rules.
One of our message board posters asked if it was too early to start talking about the 2010 Draft. Its absolutely not too early. What do the Bucs need? Pick a position. After an 0-4 start, no job should be safe.
Josh Johnson's line from last week: 13-of-22 for 106 yards and a touchdown, an early one to Antonio Bryant. A solid move by Johnson to get Bryant involved in the passing game, which wasn't happening before last Sunday. He also carried 7 times for 41 yards. Overall, not a bad contest for the second-year pro. He wasn't completely comfortable in the pocket, but what did you expect from his first NFL start? The Bucs didn't lose this game because of offense. They lost it because of the kicker they released on Tuesday.
I have to give the Bucs defensive line a little credit for their performance last week. Both Gaines Adams and Jimmy Wilkerson came up with sacks. LB Quincy Black threw one in too. Three sacks. That's good news. Of course, the bad news is that the total doubles the number of sacks the Bucs had compiled in the season's first three weeks. And Adams' sack was his first of the season. Ugh.
What worries me the most about the passing game? That a tight end (Kellen Winslow) and a running back (Carnell Williams) are 1-2 in receptions, with 17 and 12 respectively. Antonio Bryant has an excuse. He's been hurt much of the regular season. But Bryant, despite not being 100 percent and having missed time, has as many catches as a healthy Michael Clayton. I just don't understand why Clayton still has a job in Tampa. I just don't.
If you're not keeping your eye on Tim Crowder, you need to start. The third-year defensive end is turning into a nice waiver wire prize. The quick end never fit in with the Broncos. Since joining the Bucs before Week 2 he has 10 tackles (nine solo and one assist). He's another one of my East Texas guys. I saw him play at John Tyler HS in Tyler, Texas. He's always has speed, and he has the proper size to be a good fit in Jim Bates' defensive system. The Bucs may have stumbled upon a nice find.
The biggest disappointment after the first quarter of the season is RB Earnest Graham. And I'm not sure it's Earnest's fault, either. Think about it. We knew Raheem Morris' desire for a three-back backfield was simply foolish. There aren't enough touches to go around for all three backs to be effective. So Graham became the odd man out. Eight carries for 25 yards in a month for a guy who led them in scores two years ago. It might be time to give Graham some more love, but right now he's just lost in the shuffle.
I've watched the last two Monday Night Football games and I have to admit, Jon Gruden's pretty good at this color commentary bit. He's actually been quite candid and informative. If he had been this way with the local media, I wouldn't have had to grit my teeth every time I spoke to him. Getting anything useful was like pulling a sword from a stone. Unencumbered by the daily grind of media obligations, Gruden is opening up. Of course, he's auditioning for a job next year, and once he gets one he'll clam up. But it's nice to know he's somewhat normal. And I haven't heard a Jiminy Christmas yet.
Just a word about Brett Favre's performance against Green Bay on Monday: WOW!
I had the Redskins 23-13 last week. Pretty close, and I'm 0-4 on the season. I won't waste your time with a lot of analysis of this week's game with Philly. The Eagles are going to beat the Bucs up and give Johnson his "welcome to the NFL" moment. It'll be ugly. Eagles 37, Bucs 10.