I was so blown away by what happened Sunday that I went to bed that night believing that I would wake up Monday morning, look at a box score and realize it was all a dream. And then I woke up on Monday and realized that it wasn't a dream.
It was a great win for the present, but a bad win for the future, perhaps? More on that later.
Let's put this into perspective for a second. The Buccaneers had never won in Seattle. Ever. Their record on the West Coast is putrid. Remember – through the 2007 season, the Bucs were 3-26 in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, and Seattle. This victory ups their record on the West Coast to 4-26.
Just unbelievable. I never gave Tampa Bay a chance to win that game on Sunday. Not one chance. A tip of the cap to Raheem Morris and his team for that one.
We shouldn't downplay what the Bucs did against the Seahawks on Sunday. But, if you watched that game, there should be no question why Mike Holmgren turned down the opportunity to be the general manager for the Seahawks. That team is going nowhere fast. Jim Mora Jr. will be lucky if he lasts three seasons as head coach. QB Matt Hasselbeck is heading downhill faster than most people expected at age 34. The defense is soft and the running game is anemic. I'm not sure what separates the Seahawks from the Rams in the NFC West at this point. But I am sure of this – Seattle is about to enter an extended streak of losing they haven't seen in the Pacific Northwest since the days before Holmgren showed up.
I know I've made a lot of noise about Raheem Morris' job the past few weeks. And while he and his staff deserve credit for turning around the ship at halftime, I'm still not convinced he's the right guy. I know it feels good to win, people, but we can't determine Morris' future in Tampa Bay on one game. Now, if the Bucs can play at this level the next two weeks, win or lose, then let's talk about it. It's similar to the Wade Phillips situation in Dallas. Everyone in Big D feels great right now, but no one's ready to hand Phillips an extension just yet. And no one in the Bucs organization should be ready to hand Morris a vote of confidence yet, either.
Of course, there wasn't much chatter about Jon Gruden's job security at this time last year, as the Bucs were swooning toward an 0-4 finish. Of course, I may be in the minority in thinking that Morris is the wrong guy for this job.
But the longer the Bucs wait to get involved in the derby for a potential big-name coach, the more likely Morris' chances of staying a second year. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, frankly. Though, admittedly, this team is playing better since he jettisoned Jim Bates as defensive coordinator.
The Bucs keep taking special teams hits this season. The presence of Sammie Stroughter was supposed to soften the blow of losing Clifton Smith to two concussions this season. Now Stroughter has a broken foot and is done for the year. It's a shame, because Stroughter was having a nice year to build on in terms of becoming a threat in this Tampa Bay offense.
Yamon Figurs figures (no pun intended) to be the man on kickoffs the last two weeks of this season.
This stat just blew me away. In 2007 and 2008 Earnest Graham carried the ball 354 times. Through the first 14 games of this year he has 13.
Time for our latest edition of the 2010 NFL No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Derby. And the Bucs have fallen out of first place.
That's sort of the double-edged sword of winning on Sunday. Yes, the Bucs won and it feels good, but it also means the Bucs are now no longer in line for the No. 1 overall pick. The St. Louis Rams are, at the moment, in line for that selection.
All the Rams have to do is keep losing and they'll be in line to control the 2010 NFL Draft, which might be an interesting development, as everyone feels that Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the unanimous No. 1 pick. But the Rams are in dire need of a young quarterback to groom in the wake of disastrous play at the position this season (Marc Bulger isn't getting any younger). That need makes their potential No. 1 selection a bit more interesting.
With the victory, the Bucs move into a tie with the Detroit Lions at 2-12. But, thanks to the strength of schedule tiebreaker, the Bucs are in line for the No. 2 pick. Not a bad consolation prize, but it makes selecting Suh less likely. One site, NFLdraftsite.com, has the Bucs taking Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy at No. 2 overall. Our Chris Steuber at Scout.com ranks another Sooner, QB Sam Bradford, as the No. 2 prospect. Steuber doesn't rank McCoy on his overall board yet because the underclassman hasn't declared. But on Steuber's underclassmen tracker, Steuber sees McCoy as a Top 5 pick.
I enjoy reading Stephen Holder of the St. Pete Times, and I finally got a chance to dive into his salary story from last month. At least some papers are still doing big project stories. Here's the link if you didn't read it: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/football/bucs/cheap-ways-dooming-bucs-numbers-say-no/1054806
Three things I took from this article. First, the loophole the Bucs used to create all of that crazy adjusted cap space needs to be closed in the next CBA. To use the contracts of two nobody players to create nearly $50 million in cap room is just criminal.
Second, the fact that the Bucs did spend nearly $100 million in contracts this past offseason and they still have $21 million in cap space this season has to be an indication that they're going to be more forceful in the free agent market next season. There are definitely some good players out there, players that could help this team rebuild sooner than anyone expects (Brandon Marshall, anyone?).
And, third, Michael Clayton is making $26 million over the next five years? Now that's criminal. He's the highest paid blocking wide receiver in the NFL.
You can knock one big-time head coach off the list. Mike Holmgren took the team president job in Cleveland. I think he'll likely be their head coach eventually. I can't see he and Eric Mangini getting along.
Well, my record fell to 12-3 this past week. Who would have thought the Bucs would have gone to Seattle and won? Well, the Bucs won't go to New Orelans and win this week. The Saints are ticked off after losing their perfect season and they need a win to clinch home field throughout the playoffs. Saints 38, Bucs 14.