It's the most wonderful time of the year. December football. Not that any of that matters in Tampa Bay this year. The Bucs, for the first time in three years, are just playing out the string.
Things just keep getting worse for the Bucs. In the span of a few hours they put P Dirk Johnson and CB Torrie Cox on injured reserve, and OL Arron Sears on the non-football injury reserve list.
Oddly, Johnson's move to IR is the most intriguing. The Bucs have to get a new punter and a new holder for placekicking duties. Among the names mentioned? TE Kellen Winslow. I want to be in the room when head coach Raheem Morris asks the potential Pro Bowl tight end to hold the ball on field goals and extra points. I wanna hear that conversation.
Special teams coordinator Richard Bisaccia is a head coaching candidate? Well, that's what one blog, Buc 'Em, speculated. And I mean, speculated. There's not one shred of evidence to prove that Bisaccia is on anyone's short list.
Buc 'Em does have a point about Bisaccia's prowess as a special teams coordinator, though. He's had a different returner bring back a kickoff for a touchdown each year since 2007 (the first ending Tampa Bay's futility at returning kickoffs for touchdowns). Plus, his unit has blocked five kicks this year, something that would make Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer proud. In that regard, he's one of the NFL's best.
Still, it's very hard to get a head coaching job when your reputation is as a special teams coordinator. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh oversaw special teams for a decade before he went to Philly head coach Andy Reid and asked to be moved to a position coach role so he could enhance his chances of being a head coach one day. Bisaccia was the running backs coach last year, but he did it concurrently with special teams and didn't do much to distinguish his work as running backs coach.
Bisaccia may be sought after this offseason, if his contract is up. But it won't be as a head coach, at least not until he makes a Harbaugh-type move to position himself accordingly. Right now, John's brother, Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, has a better chance of procuring an NFL head coaching job than Bisaccia.
I love Raheem Morris the defensive coordinator. In his first game as the defensive play caller, his unit limited the Falcons ground game to 75 yards and sacked the quarterback six times. Give me that any day of the week.
Now, Morris the head coach? The jury's still WAY out on that one.
The Bears signed LB Cato June earlier this week. Remember when he was supposed to be Derrick Brooks' replacement? Wonder if the Bucs would take June over what they have now on either side of MLB Barett Ruud?
Thinking ahead to 2010? So are we. Here's our weekly look at the 2010 NFL Draft order, as it stands entering Week 13.
Well, nothing changed. There are still three teams with just one win – Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Cleveland. For that reason, the Bucs are still in line to get the No. 1 overall pick.
So, what are you hoping for? The correct answer is for the Bucs to keep on losing.
By the way, the No. 1 player on the board, according to Scout.com's Chris Steuber? Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. It's certainly not a sexy pick, but whether the Bucs stick with the Cover 2, Jim Bates' more aggressive scheme, or a hybrid of the two, Suh figures to be a disruptive force in the middle for years to come. He could be a great building block selection on defense, and salve some of the disappointment in not being able to sign Albert Haynesworth last year (though in retrospect, that doesn't seem like such a bad thing now).
Sunday's starting quarterback for Carolina? Matt Moore. You might remember him as the guy that filled in for Jake Delhomme when the veteran went down with an injury in 2007. Moore has faced the Bucs before. He went 15-of-24 for 174 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception on Dec. 30, 2007. The Bucs lost that game as then-head coach Jon Gruden rested his starters in anticipation of the playoffs.
The Bucs should have worn their Florida Orange throwbacks last Sunday in Atlanta. That would have complimented the Falcons' throwback jerseys very well.
Well it wasn't the blowout I predicted, but the Falcons did win, allowing me to improve to 10-1 this season. I have a feeling I'm about to make it 11-1, but I'm taking the Bucs this week. The Panthers are in serious trouble. QB Jake Delhomme is basically done for the year (if it's not the injury, he'll be benched), and RB DeAngelo Williams has a sprained ankle. Yes, this Panthers pass defense is pretty darn good, but I think the Bucs offense is beginning to round into shape with QB Josh Freeman and a healthy WR Antonio Bryant. Coupled with the kind of defensive effort the Bucs had against Atlanta leads me to believe the Bucs can win this Sunday. Bucs 19, Panthers 17. It won't be easy. But it'll be a win.