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CadillacPower24_2006

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: May 24, 2007, 09:04:01 AM

http://www.buccaneers.com/news/newsdetail.aspx?newsid=5805


Overview:

Thursday Notes: Rookie back Kenneth Darby is eagerly attacking any role the Bucs give him during spring workout…Plus, an NFLEL update and the league’s concussion recommendations

May 24, 2007 -

Late in a two-hour workout at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday, rookie running back Kenneth Darby caught a short pass in traffic near the line of scrimmage. On the play, Darby was starting to turn to his right but had to reach back to his left to make the catch at an awkward angle well away from his body. He then spun in that direction and started quickly upfield.

As there is no real contact allowed in the type of “organized team activity day” (OTA) practice the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were holding, it’s difficult to say how well the play would have worked in a live scrimmage. But in the very least, it was a pass with a noticeable degree of difficulty, and Darby grabbed the opportunity to impress his new coaches as cleanly as he snatched the football out of the air.

And that’s exactly what a seventh-round pick with promise but plenty of competition needs to do in these mostly workmanlike spring practices: Make every rep count. For the most part, jobs won’t be won or lost until training camp, but a young player can certainly make a first impression that sticks, good or bad. Feeling as if moments like the one above have been more frequent than those in which he has felt lost in a new offense, Darby believes he’s off to a good start.

“I think it’s going pretty good,” said the former Alabama star. “Of course, it’s a little rough at times. I’m still trying to learn the plays and I mess up here and there, but I think it’s going pretty smoothly. I have my good days and my rough days, but the good days that I’ve had, I think, have overpowered the bad days.”

Good hands were part of the scouting report on Darby, who caught 70 passes at Alabama while also becoming the third player in school history to rush for 3,000 career yards. That asset could help the rookie compete for a job as a third-down back, perhaps a reasonable target with third-year man Cadillac Williams likely to get the bulk of first and second-down snaps. Darby, who also posesses quick, slashing moves, a good burst and the willingness to lower his shoulder between the tackles, would gladly accept any role the Buccaneers choose to give him if it means securing a spot on the 53-man roster.
“I just want to play,” he said. “Whatever it takes for me to get on the field – third-down back, scatback, special teams – it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to crawl before you walk, that’s what I say. My intention is to get on the team and play. That’s the mindset I’m going to keep throughout until I retire from this game.”

Darby’s status as a seventh-rounder became irrelevant when he first hit the field in Tampa in early May. He’ll compete on an even footing with returning veterans like Earnest Graham and Michael Pittman; but, of course, the veterans have a headstart on the playbook and have already proven at various times that they can play in the NFL. For now, Darby is looking to emulate returning Buc backs rather than take their jobs.

“I’m just learning a lot from these guys,” he said. “I’m just hungry, man. I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove to myself, personally, and to all of the other teams that [didn’t draft him]. But I can say when I do get comfortable in the plays and learn the playbook, I’m going to be pretty good in this league.”

Graham, who made the team several years ago as an undrafted free agent out of Florida, has maintained a roster spot in part by contributing heavily on special teams. Pittman has had a large role in the offense since 2002 but still took on the kickoff return job last year. Darby knows that proving to be an asset in the kicking game could help him stick around long enough to get a shot on offense. Thus, he’s eagerly taking on those assignments during these spring months, too.

“They’ve got me doing a little bit of everything on special teams,” said Darby. “I’m in the mix for pretty much everything except for field goals.”

All in all, he’s keeping busy on the practice field and gaining confidence every day.

“I feel good, I feel like I’m in good shape,” he said. “I’ve just got a nice hungry attitude on me right now, and I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder, so I feel like I have a lot to prove. I feel like I’m going to prove a lot of people wrong.”

**

NFL Europa Week Six Update

Down by two touchdowns with five minutes to play in Saturday’s game against the Rhein Fire, the Cologne Centurions needed to gain 69 yards in a hurry to get back into the contest. They succeeded by breaking that distance into three almost identical chunks.

After the Kansas City Chiefs’ Derrick Ross ripped off a 24-yard run to start the drive, the Centurions backed up five yards to the midfield stripe on a false start. On the next play, quarterback Erik Meyer threw deep down the right sideline to wide receiver Jovon Bouknight, and the Buccaneers-allocated player hauled it in for a 25 yard gain. The last 25 yards to the end zone was then swallowed up by running back A.J. Harris, who caught a short pass and ran it in to pull the Centurions within seven.

Cologne would complete the comeback and win 20-17 thanks to a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and Nick Novak’s game-winning 49-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter. Bouknight contributed the longest gain on that drive, as well, catching another heave down the right sideline for a gain of 17 yards to the Rhein 25. By virtue of their third victory in four weeks, Bouknight and the Centurions are now tied atop the NFL Europa standings at 4-2 with the defending-champion Frankfurt Galaxy.

Two other Buccaneer allocates took the loss in that game and fell to 2-4 with the Fire. Jonathan Clinkscale started at center for the sixth straight game and cornerback Carlos Hendricks continued to man the right cornerback position for the Fire. The game was mostly a defensive struggle – Cologne gained 266 yards, Rhein just 233 – to which Hendricks contributed three tackles and a stop on special teams.

The Rhein is tied with the Berlin Thunder at the bottom of the NFLEL standings, though they are just two games out of first with four weeks to play. At the end of the league’s 10-week regular season, the two teams with the best records will meeting in World Bowl XV to determine the 2007 NFL Europa champion.

Berlin dropped to 2-4 thanks to a lopsided 35-7 defeat at the hands of the Galaxy. Buccaneer-allocated quarterback Bruce Eugene got into the game for the second week in a row but played sparingly. He was given the reins for two brief drives in the second half and ended up with two incomplete passes. Frankfurt dominated the contest, out-gaining the Thunder in total yards, 331-204, and forcing four turnovers.

One other Buc was in action for Berlin on Saturday. Wide receiver Kyle Smith, who started the NFLEL season with the Hamburg Sea Devils but did not play during the first five weeks due to a hamstring injury, saw his first action of the season this past weekend. Recently swapped from Hamburg to the Berlin practice squad, Smith was activated to the roster and appeared in the Thunder’s loss to Frankfurt.

Here is a quick rundown of how each allocated Buccaneer fared during NFL Europa’s sixth week of action:

    * WR Jovon Bouknight, Cologne Centurions…Caught two second-half passes for 42 yards, both on scoring drives, as Cologne beat Rhein, 20-17.
    * C Jonathan Clinkscale, Rhein Fire…Started at center for the sixth straight game.
    * QB Bruce Eugene, Berlin Thunder…Subbed at QB for two second-half drives against Frankfurt. Threw two passes without a completion.
    * CB Carlos Hendricks, Rhein Fire…Helped limit Cologne to 139 passing yards with three tackles…Also contributed a stop on special teams.
    * WR Kyle Smith, Berlin Thunder…Appeared in his first game of the season but did not record a reception.



**

Standard Practices

During league meetings in Nashville on Tuesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell presented the recommendations of the independent committee on mild-traumatic brain injury (MTBI) commissioned by the NFL. The presentation began with a principle that is the basis of the Buccaneers’ treatment of injured players and is supposed to be the standard around the league: medical deicsions must always override competitive considerations.

The MTBI committee was assembled to address the issue of concussions, and Commissioner Goodell lauded NFL teams for their overall care and management of such injuries. Buccaneer players have been fortunate in recent years to mostly avoid concussions, but the team believes in treating that injury even more conservatively than may be the league norm.

The committee’s recommended standards included some new practices. Among those is neuropsychological baseline testing for all players beginning this season, which can provide physician’s with a tool to help in the management of concussions. For players removed from games due to concussions, repeat testing will be done during the season to track recovery and to help decide when they can return to play. These players also will be re-tested against their baseline performance the following season at training camp.

The recommendations also included the sharing of treatment practices for MTBI between teams, and a league meeting in June for all team trainers and physicians. Also, the rule requiring chin straps to be securely buckled will be strictly enforced and a “whistle blower” system will be put in place so that anyone may anonymously report when that overriding principle above is not being strictly followed.

scope88

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#1 : May 24, 2007, 09:14:08 AM

Good article on Darby.



CadillacPower24_2006

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#2 : May 24, 2007, 09:16:05 AM

Quote
“I just want to play,” he said. “Whatever it takes for me to get on the field – third-down back, scatback, special teams – it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to crawl before you walk, that’s what I say. My intention is to get on the team and play. That’s the mindset I’m going to keep throughout until I retire from this game.”

my favorite line from the whole article, love to hear players say this

whobdis

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#3 : May 24, 2007, 09:54:57 AM

I think Darby may be the suprise of the draft picks..of course suprise simply means making the team
as it seems 7th round picks of late haven't been promising. We aren't particulary deep at RB anyway
and some new 'blood' could prove usefull.

keeponbucn

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#4 : May 24, 2007, 10:07:54 AM

he'll be lucky to make the PS, trust that.

mjs020294

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#5 : May 24, 2007, 10:24:31 AM

he'll be lucky to make the PS, trust that.

BS.......starter on opening day, 1589 yards, 19 TDs and 576 receiving yards.......write it down. 


bklynbucs11

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#6 : May 24, 2007, 11:58:54 AM

According to Buccaneers.com, I'm pretty sure every free agent we've signed in since 2003 are actually dieties in human form that will unleash sure fury and excellence upon the NFL that it will demasculate the other players and force them to go play sissy sports like baseball.

whobdis

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#7 : May 24, 2007, 01:20:12 PM

According to Buccaneers.com, I'm pretty sure every free agent we've signed in since 2003 are actually dieties in human form that will unleash sure fury and excellence upon the NFL that it will demasculate the other players and force them to go play sissy sports like baseball.

Alas..Darby's manifestation into the Buccaneer's aggregation was but a draft election.

MBF

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#8 : May 24, 2007, 01:28:06 PM

he'll be lucky to make the PS, trust that.

BS.......starter on opening day, 1589 yards, 19 TDs and 576 receiving yards.......write it down.
Psh...Derek Watson can put up those # with his eyes closed.

Damn, I must be channeling em again.

dbucfan

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#9 : May 24, 2007, 01:49:33 PM

he'll be lucky to make the PS, trust that.

BS.......starter on opening day, 1589 yards, 19 TDs and 576 receiving yards.......write it down.

Maybe somewhere between these polar opposites?  We will see.  I think he will make it but perhaps displace someone who does not offer as much as a receiver - due to age and cost, or lack of progress.

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

Buckaroo55

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#10 : May 25, 2007, 11:32:53 PM

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if this guy turns out being a diamond in the rough, and wins a starting role on this team in a year or so.




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#11 : May 25, 2007, 11:35:14 PM

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if this guy turns out being a diamond in the rough, and wins a starting role on this team in a year or so.

I think he will him and caddy would be a good tandem

Buckaroo55

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#12 : May 25, 2007, 11:36:52 PM

ESPN had called him a great late round pickup for us the other day.




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#13 : May 25, 2007, 11:41:03 PM

yeah good pick I like him I think he will do great things for us

SunnyD

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#14 : May 26, 2007, 08:46:20 AM

Earnest is not only a better RB but also a better special teams player.
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