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alldaway

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« : November 08, 2006, 06:36:11 PM »

I expected the Bucs to be at least a 9-7 team but at this point they will be lucky to muster five wins.  Sure the hard schedule may be a cause for the 2-6 start a little bit but I find that to be a poor excuse considering for the most part the other NFC rivals have an almost similar schedule.  Losing Kelly and Simms on the surface may be big blows to a football team any time they lose a starting CB or a starting QB.  But in reality Simms was not a factor in most of his games he played early in the year.  Kelly was not missed much and last time I checked Kelly  is not a defensive lineman either.  With that said here are my mid season grades for the Bucs.

QB: Simms started to show improvement after starting off really bad but his internal injury ended his season.  Gradkowski is in charge as of now and has had up/down play but overall has done a decent job at helm.

Grade: C-

RB: Carnell did not do much earlier in the year but has shown at times he can still be a franchise caliber back.  Carnell has also been more involved with the passing game but has a long way to go.  Carnell has been disappointing to a degree but the lack of run blocking is not helping him not to mention game situations (Bucs trailing).  Pittman has quietly put in his work as a third down back and has at times come up big on third downs.  Alstott has not been a factor in short yardage and goal line situations.  As a blocking full back he is not doing as good as you expect but is okay.   

Grade: C-

TE:  Despite not starting Smith has far more catches than Becht.  It is still baffling to say the least as to why Becht is being featured in the passing game.

Grade: C

OL:  Walker surprised everyone and had a solid start despite playing with an injury.  Buenning was disappointing but it may be in part because of his injury.  Wade has been serviceable as a center.  Mahan no matter where he lines up has struggled.  The two rooks have made mistakes with penalties and some quick pressures and sacks but overall I am please with their progress.  Both Trueblood and Joseph have shown they can block downfield with ease.  What they still need to learn though is at the line of scrimmage to play with some pad level to generate that push.  AD is still a good run blocker but he looks even better out in space with his leaner frame.  His pass protection was good up until this last game but I do not feel AD is regressing.

Grade: C-

WR:  Galloway has made some big plays but he is up there in the league with dropped passes (I believe Steve Smith leads the league).  Clayton who many seem to be all over has quietly put up 24 receptions in eight games.  That is eight less than Clayton had all of last year I believe. As of now Clayton is on pace for 48 catches by the end of the year.  That is a very big improvement compared to last year and his numbers as a #2 WR are acceptable considering the Bucs inexperience at QB.  Clayton though is not a dominating player and this is where he is disappointing to a degree.  He has had some key drops and fumbles but he has also made two clutch catches to help the Bucs win.  Hilliard is slow and steady, nothing flashy but very reliable.  Hilliard already has 14 receptions at this point which is very good compared to his first half of last year.  It seems Hilliard is finally comfortable with the offense.

Grade: C+

Overall grade of offense: C- (I think I am being very generous with this grade too)

Offensive play calling:  Other than the Saints game I feel Gruden has not called another good game.  From being too conservative at times to being to aggressive it seems Gruden play calling sometimes is too cute when it does not need to be.  For an offense that people say is built for a mobile QB I do not see much of it at this point.  The Bucs offense looked like a real NFL offense and like the WCO's of the Texans and Broncos in that game.  Why Gruden went away from it I have no clue especially considering it was working. 

Grade: D-

DL:  Rice has been banged up but it is no excuse not to notch a sack against a seventh round OT. Booger was shipped out for a second round pick.  Wyms has stepped in and done an amazing job but he is banged up  right now.  Hovan who was mauled in the Ravens game has looked a lot better since then.  He has been in the backfields of the Giants and Saints in the last two games against the run.  He does not provide pass rushing but to me that is of little concern for me to be honest considering he is a NT. White has been the only player that has played with fire and was with Hovan in the Saints backfield against running plays.  White is showing that he can play the run and that he has the durability with the stamina to be an everydown player.  Spires on the other hand is simply below average.  With all that said this groups makes the big money and they are simply failing the defense and the team in general.

Grade: F

LB:  Brooks has looked like an average/below average LB with no instincts nor understanding of the defense.  He seems to have redeemed himself this last Sunday so lets hope that trend continues.  Quarles is not playing poorly but it seems to me he will not be able to hold up for long.  Ruud has seen plenty of playing times this year and I hope he sees some more.  Nece was playing with good gap discipline but in recent weeks he has been overrunning some plays.  This group has had a lot of missed tackles and miscues in coverage but for the most part they receive a pass considering the D-line up front is not helping them much at all.

Grade: D+

Secondary:  Ronde Barber has made big plays but the amount of them have been limited due to poor play by the D-line.  Ronde has had some trouble playing man to man this year but still looks to have his game speed.  Bolden has stepped in for an injured Brian kelly and has done as good of a job one can expect especially with poor defensive line play.  Cox has been decent but he along with Barber and Bolden will look bad if they are expected to play man to man with no pressure up front.  Phillips has been horrible as a tackler and playing the box.  His coverage is suspect but he is actually decent.  Allen is a slightly better box player and he is better in coverage but he has missed too many tackles as well.  Pearson is the best box player of the three but he is definitely not the best in coverage.  With that all said they are not as bad as you would expect considering how the front seven has issues (especially the front four).

Grade: C-

Overall defensive grade: D+

Defensive play calling:  Monte has struggled to figure out how to stop teams in the opening drives of games.  He also failed to contain the Falcons variation of the option play.  Considering he is from Nebraska Monte should have known better.  Monte also has at times used the based defense too much when the Bucs needed to play nickel instead.  In defense of Monte he has two new coaches and a D-line that is subpar.  As a result it makes the rest of the defense look poorer than it really is.  The defense has shown flashes of brilliance and then at times they have simply been dominated or failed to play 60 minutes of football.

Grade: C-

KR:  Pittman has also quietly shored up this area of the team and has helped a lot in the Bucs field position.  Unfortunately he is not the big play threat the Bucs need for kick returns at this point but it is a start.

Grade: B-

PR: Jones was decent as a PR but is out with an injury now.  Hilliard is serviceable but definitely not a threat.  Buchanon has not been used all that much and when he has had opportunities he has not done much.

Grade C-

K:  Matt Bryant had some issues in the Atlanta game but since then has improved and had really helped put points on the scoreboard and even win a game. 

Grade: C+

P:  Bidwell has been solid this year but had miscues against the Giants and the Saints.  The miscues against the Giants can be forgiving due to the swirling winds of the Meadowlands.  But the punt to Reggie Bush can not. Still with that said he has been able to boom punts deep.

Grade: B+

Coverage units/field goal units:  The Bucs have been able to pressure and even block a field goal so that is encouraging.  But the coverage units have had some issues unfortunately.

Grade: C-

Special teams coach:  Bissacia has done a decent job but nothing special.

Grade: C

Overall special teams grade: C+

Head coach:  Jon Gruden's Bucs are 2-6 and seems to lack a direction on offense and a defense that looks uninspired.  The team has looked flat at the begging of all the games this year and as a result have trailed.  There is not much sense of urgency until the late part of the second quarter or early third quarter of football games.  Too many miscues suggest the players are not motivated nor they fear the repercussion of their mistakes it seems.  Motivating a 2-6 team is Gruden's biggest task for the rest of the year but up to this point he has failed. 

Grade: F

 




CurtR1995

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« #1 : November 09, 2006, 07:50:14 AM »

C level talent on Offense, D level talent on D, F Level performance from the Head coach according to your rankings.

Let's say for the sake of argument, you are right about the rankings (Offensive line a C-?), what do you do if you are the owner?

MrFreakinMiyagi

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« #2 : November 09, 2006, 07:57:33 AM »

You are giving too much of a break to our safeties. The have been nothing short of pathetic.

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alldaway

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« #3 : November 09, 2006, 08:10:51 AM »

C level talent on Offense, D level talent on D, F Level performance from the Head coach according to your rankings.

Let's say for the sake of argument, you are right about the rankings (Offensive line a C-?), what do you do if you are the owner?

Performance and talent are not the same though.  Gruden receives an F for failing to motivate the players to play up their level of talent and that is the job of a head coach. This can be a reason for a firing a head coach if the owner feels the Bucs do have talent on the football team.   By you arguing that Gruden does not have the talent to work with an owner may be willing to give Gruden an off season to remedy that with cap space and draft picks.

I strongly feel this team has talent on offense and defense to win football games.  A lot of these losses the Bucs have sustained have not been becuase of lack of talent.  Lack of motivation, fire, and lack of direction all point to coaching not talent as the issue.

Gruden has the pieces on offense to work with now but is failing to produce results.  The Saints started a rookie seventh round pick on their offensvie line and their offense did not miss a beat.  The Bucs have enough talent on offense to produce better results. The Bucs level of talent on defense may not be as good as the squad that was #1 overall last year but it is good enough to be a top fifteen defense with what they have left in the tank.  But they are failing to play up to what is left in their tank.  That suggests to me that is a motivational problem.

When you compare the Bucs level of talent to the Titans or 49ers for example there is no excuse for the Bucs to have players under performing.  The 49ers have lost a lot of games over the years based on not having a lot of talent but I do not think the same excuse can fly with the Bucs. The best example of this is Carnell Williams.  Regarded as a top ten back based on talent but his performance is bottom ten.





alldaway

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« #4 : November 09, 2006, 09:02:40 AM »

The offense is 31 in points, 31 in yards.
The defense is 20 in points, 23 in yards

I'm not sure how you can give the defense a lower overall rating than the offense since the defense is performing better.

I gave the offense a C- and the defense a D+.  It is not that big of a difference to be honest.  And I did mention I was being a bit more generous with my grade on offense.  ;)

CurtR1995

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« #5 : November 09, 2006, 09:07:44 AM »

C level talent on Offense, D level talent on D, F Level performance from the Head coach according to your rankings.

Let's say for the sake of argument, you are right about the rankings (Offensive line a C-?), what do you do if you are the owner?

Performance and talent are not the same though. Gruden receives an F for failing to motivate the players to play up their level of talent and that is the job of a head coach. This can be a reason for a firing a head coach if the owner feels the Bucs do have talent on the football team. By you arguing that Gruden does not have the talent to work with an owner may be willing to give Gruden an off season to remedy that with cap space and draft picks.

I strongly feel this team has talent on offense and defense to win football games. A lot of these losses the Bucs have sustained have not been becuase of lack of talent. Lack of motivation, fire, and lack of direction all point to coaching not talent as the issue.

Gruden has the pieces on offense to work with now but is failing to produce results. The Saints started a rookie seventh round pick on their offensvie line and their offense did not miss a beat. The Bucs have enough talent on offense to produce better results. The Bucs level of talent on defense may not be as good as the squad that was #1 overall last year but it is good enough to be a top fifteen defense with what they have left in the tank. But they are failing to play up to what is left in their tank. That suggests to me that is a motivational problem.

When you compare the Bucs level of talent to the Titans or 49ers for example there is no excuse for the Bucs to have players under performing. The 49ers have lost a lot of games over the years based on not having a lot of talent but I do not think the same excuse can fly with the Bucs. The best example of this is Carnell Williams. Regarded as a top ten back based on talent but his performance is bottom ten.






1.)  I agree completely that Gruden deserves an F grade.  This team is not loaded with talent, but we are two 3rd and 5 calls from being 4-4 instead of 2-6.  His play calling in the NYG game was as bad as we have ever seen in Tampa, and that says a lot.  The 3rd and 3 call of sending Clayton into the line was the classic "cute" I'm smarter than you call that never works.  

2.)  However, the offensive talent is nothing short of expansion level.  Galloway is our best player, and it isnt close.  He is 34 years old, so the actual talent on the team isn't young.  Cadillac and Clayton have both suffered monumental drops from their rookie years.  The OLine is the worst we have seen since the 76/77 team.   The two rookies have both been terrible.  Can they get better?  Sure, but Caddy and Clayton didn't improve year over year, so what makes anyone think that the other guys will?

3.)  I would follow the Seattle model.  Keep the HC, but limit his duties so that he can worry about coaching.  Allen is destroying this team, and needs to be replaced.  The assistant coaches that are not performing need to be replaced.  With stronger assistant coaches and a professional FO, Gruden will be surrounded with better overall talent, and he may just seize that opportunity.

4.)  You know I am a BPA draft guy, but this teams need to draft defense.  You can win with a lame offense and a good Defense.  It is extremely tough the other way around.  Build up the Defense, improve the O via better coaching of the talent we have and key FA pick ups in the skill positions.  

alldaway

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« #6 : November 09, 2006, 09:21:36 AM »

1.  That Clayton play last week defined cute and what is wrong with the Bucs offense in general and I agree with you. I also agree the Bucs had the chance to be a .500 team with better play calling and coaching decisions.

2. The offensive resembles an expansion level team based on performance but the Bucs have players to work with that are young and talented.  Stovall, Clayton, Smith, Carnell, Buenning, Trueblood, Joseph, and Gradkowski(if you believe he can be a player in this league).    Clayton and Carnell (so far) suffered monumental collapses from their rookies year but I do not think their talent dissapeared.  Their level of perfomance is in question and I believe their talent is still there.  Reggie may not be producing on the ground but I do not think anyone is questioning his level of talent that he posseses.

3. Allen has done an amazing job after a poor start.  Had Allen continued to do what he was doing I would be in agreement with you.  But he has changed course and the team has looked better as a result.   Bucs are very cap healthy, was able to obtain draft picks for a disgruntled WR in McCardell, was able to bring in Galloway in exchange for Keyshawn, was able to trade Booger for a second round pick.  Clayton and Carnell both had sensational years as rookies and the Bucs have had some young players contribute early in the careers (Buenning and Smith for example).  Hovan was also a terrific find for vet min in free agency last year.  Bruce Allen, Doug Williams, and the entire Bucs FO has done a much better job in the last two years with the draft and free agency.  The Bucs FO has provided the Bucs with what they needed and with what Gruden's Bucs have needed. 

4. I too understand to draft for need but if the Bucs can accumulate some additional draft picks and bring in free agents to fill in at some key defensive spots (Cato June (LB), Adalius Thomas (DE), and Asante Samuel (FS/CB) then the Bucs could go best available player on draft day.





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« #7 : November 09, 2006, 10:13:20 AM »

I can't disagree more on the evaluation of Allen.  Sure, he traded McCardell for picks, but then used those picks for Chris Colmer.  He could have had Larry Johnson.  If that isn't a bad move, I'm not sure what is.  The contract offered to guys like Griese and Gold were disasters in that our 2nd year option was to pay them way above market value, or cut them and take a cap hit.  We got Hovan for vet min, then turned around and signed him to a generous contract and have watched him underperform that contact in 06.  I wont even go into the rest of 2004 since that will just give me indigestion. 

The drafts are strong in name only, and even then I am being generous.  Guys like Ruud, Stovall, Zemaitis, and the two linemen are just names right now that are not producing on the field.  Smith after a nice rookie year has fallen from the level he was as a rookie.  We have no one of any significance left from the 04 draft.  No one from the 05 draft is playing at a higher level than they did as rookies in 06. 

We have a lot of cap room next year, but that happens when you drop the talent level as fast as we have.  I am afraid that we will waste a golden opportunity to draft and sign quality players to quality contracts if we keep Allen. 

Either Allen has to go, or Gruden, or both.  The definition of insanity is doing the same action and expecting different results each time.  We go into 07 with that tandem, and you can expect similar results. 

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« #8 : November 09, 2006, 10:33:58 AM »

Allen made a mistake on Colmer but Larry Johnson is so overrated.  He had like 35+ carries and he only mustered 150 rushing yards just recently?  Give LT that many carries (Carnell wishes he had even 25+ attempts this year) and he can out produce him.  I would have rather seen the team draft Nick Kaczur or Dominique Foxworth than Colmer to be honest.

I completely, completley disagree with the Gold and Griese situations.  How was it a disaster with Griese?  He was never guaranteed big money and Allen played the Griese situation perfectly in my opinion considering Denver made the mistake already of giving him his big pay day.  Ian Gold was used on one year basis but there was no way to sign him long term becuase Brooks at the time had a high cap value and was playing WLB. Not to mention why should Allen guarantee money to Ian coming off a serious knee injury?  Should Allen have potentially made the same mistake twice like he did with Garner?   Hovan is on pace to have one more tackle than his 2005 season (has 23 so far). Hovan also leads the D-lineman so far in tackles as well just like last year.    I fail to see how he is underperforming based off of last year.  Maybe as a pass rusher but he was not perfoming as a pass rusher last year either.

When you have a player that is runner up to OROY and then a player that wins OROY that suggests to me that drafting is not an issue.  This year the Bucs have Bruce Gradkowski a sixth round pick performing beyond his draft status.

Stovall and Zemaitis have not seen the field so we can not judge them.  Smith is on pace to have 38 catches which is 3 less than what he had last year.  Again I fail to see how he has fallen from his level from last year.  Ruud in limited playing time has 30 tackles already. 

The Bucs cap room has been freed up becuase a lot of the players that were way overpriced for their talent levels are gone (Eg Rice is next this off season) and the dead money is cleared up.   Allen has done a good job the last two years after a poor start and the evidence supports this.  Also I do not think keeping Brad, Sapp, or Lynch improves the talent level of the team.

If Gruden goes I think the Glazers may retain Allen.  Just like Rich McKay, Bruce Allen is considered a top ten GM.  Both have their blemishes on their records that Bucs fans like to point out but both have produced results. I simply do not understand the hate for both of them that Bucs fans spew.

The evidence is overwhelming that both of them are good GM's in this league.  :o

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« #9 : November 09, 2006, 10:58:02 AM »

The offense is 31 in points, 31 in yards.
The defense is 20 in points, 23 in yards

I'm not sure how you can give the defense a lower overall rating than the offense since the defense is performing better.

I would mostly due to expectations from the defense. These are almost all the same guys from last year that were the #1 defense.

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alldaway

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« #10 : November 09, 2006, 11:03:28 AM »

The offense is 31 in points, 31 in yards.
The defense is 20 in points, 23 in yards

I'm not sure how you can give the defense a lower overall rating than the offense since the defense is performing better.

I would mostly due to expectations from the defense. These are almost all the same guys from last year that were the #1 defense.

It is not just the expectations and what they did last year.  The fact that most of them are veterans and most of them make the big bucks.  For them to be slightly better than the offense statistically is not too good.


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« #11 : November 09, 2006, 11:04:54 AM »

I don't have any hate for Allen; I think he's done a good job of freeing up cap for the future.  I have disagreed with a lot of moves that he has made, and just like McKay's mistakes they have contributed to our current lack of talent.  Garner/Steussie/Deese/Stinchcomb vs. Jones/Tait was a huge mistake.  I agree that the Gold deal didn't help the team, as after we cut him we carried dead money into the next year.  Better to have let Nece develop on the field.  I take Larry Johnson over Colmer all day and 3 times on Sunday.  The decision to draft Clayton over Steven Jackson is still a huge puzzler.  The do-nothing approach to this offseason was also frustrating.  All that being said, no GM is going to hit on 100% of his decisions and I believe in the end Allen has done more to help us than hurt.  Hopefully with our cap situation straight we will be able to turn things around for next season.  


alldaway

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« #12 : November 09, 2006, 11:12:57 AM »

While McKay/Allen have made mistakes in acquiring talent they have done just as much if not more in keeping/retaining talent and finding other avenues to bring in talent.  Sure McKay is blamed for his ineffective drafts on offense and the lack of drafting defense but he brought in Keyshawn Johnson, Simeon Rice, Keenan McCardell, Joe Jurevicious, Michael Pittman, Roman Oben, Greg Spires, Brad Johnson through free agency.  Rich McKay believs in the draft heavily but since he was not doing good in that area he tried a different avenue.  And that was free agency and it worked.

On the other hand Allen has not had a stellar FA record (Eg Thomas Jones) considering Allen is a big believer in free agency and the win now philosophy.  As a result Allen has taken a different avenue and is building this team through the draft.  His draft record looks very good and has shown a lot of promise.

A good GM tries to improve a team the best way they can based on their philosophy.  When that is not working they have to go against their norm and try a different avenue of success.  That is why Rich Mckay and Bruce Allen are considered good GM's becuase they are willing to adjust their philsophies to try to improve their respective football teams.  Bad GM's stick with the same avenue even when it is clear that it is not working.

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« #13 : November 09, 2006, 11:47:19 AM »

Is our offense getting better with the current FO and Coaching?

Consider:

2003: 340 YPG
2004: 310 YPG
2005: 294 YPG
2006: 251 YPG

Either the coaching is substandard, or the talent acquired is substandard (last three #1's spent on offense).  Take your pick.

alldaway

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« #14 : November 09, 2006, 11:53:53 AM »

Is our offense getting better with the current FO and Coaching?

Consider:

2003: 340 YPG
2004: 310 YPG
2005: 294 YPG
2006: 251 YPG

Either the coaching is substandard, or the talent acquired is substandard (last three #1's spent on offense).  Take your pick.

Coaching is substandard as Les Steckel did more with less in my opinion compared to Gruden.   Carnell was rookie of the year last year but you would not know it this year with the way he has been producing poor results.  :( :( :(

 
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