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October 25, 2010 @ 2:49 am
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What We Learned: Bucs vs. Rams

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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In a new PewterReport.com feature, Scott Reynolds reviews yet another amazing comeback by the Buccaneers as they take down the visiting Rams with 10 seconds left to win 18-17, and examines some of the key factors that allowed Tampa Bay to pull out the victory.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up some analysis and observations from Tampa Bay's come-from-behind, 18-17 victory against St. Louis, which allowed the Bucs to improve to 4-2 on the season heading into next Sunday's game at Arizona on Halloween.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE BUCS OFFENSE
• We learned that Josh Freeman is the man. Although we kind of knew that, didn’t we? Freeman is not just becoming a franchise QB. He is blossoming into becoming an elite NFL quarterback before our eyes. Freeman has just 15 career starts, but already has five come-from-behind, fourth quarter wins under his belt, including Sunday’s 18-17 victory over St. Louis.

What is allowing him to have such a successful second year is the fact that he has seven touchdowns and just three interceptions through six games with a QB rating of 82.8. He is on pace to throw 18 touchdowns and only eight picks this year. Any quarterback in the league would gladly take a 3:1 TD to INT ratio, and that’s what Freeman has thus far in 2010.

Freeman also scrambled for 40 yards on five carries and now has 154 yards rushing on 23 carries (6.7 avg.). Last year, he rushed 30 times for 161 yards (5.4 avg.) and will undoubtedly eclipse that total next game. Who knows? He may out-rush Williams this season. After rushing for 12 yards on four carries against St. Louis, Williams now has just 202 yards rushing on 80 carries (2.5 avg.).

• We learned that the Bucs just found their new starting running back. It only took head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Greg Olson a month to figure out what Pewter Report already knew after Tampa Bay’s 38-13 loss to Pittsburgh. Undrafted free agent rookie LeGarrette Blount is the most physically talented running back on Tampa Bay’s roster. All he needed was a chance to prove that, which he (finally!) received on Sunday.

Cadillac Williams had rushed for just two yards on three carries in the first half and was off to his typical cold start. And after rushing once for six yards in the second quarter, Olson (finally!) leaned on Blount in the second half and the former Oregon star delivered.

His first run in the third quarter went for eight yards. Blount’s next carry picked up three yards and a first down, but was negated by a penalty. Three plays later, he had a 9-yard run, followed by a 12-yard jaunt. Near the end of the third quarter, Blount ripped off a tackle-breaking, Ram-dragging 17-yard run. Unfortunately for the Bucs, his 46-yard run in the fourth quarter was wiped out due to an illegal block above the waist penalty by right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. He still finished the game with 72 yards on 11 carries (6.5 avg.).

In 80 carries this year, Williams has just three runs that have picked up 10 yards or more, including a 10-yard gain on a draw on Sunday. In just 21 carries during his rookie campaign, Blount already has three carries of 10 yards or more, including two against St. Louis. With Williams averaging just 2.5 yards per carry through six games, there is no doubt that Blount, who is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, should be used to run the football.

On Monday, Olson said that Williams is the best running back on the team until somebody beats him out. On Sunday, Blount did just that, showing more speed, more burst and the ability to step out of tackles, power through tackles and break tackles against the Rams.

“I’m excited,” Morris said. “You can’t say enough about the young man and I wish they hadn’t taken that big run away from him. He runs hard, he runs resilient, and he runs tough. He’s kind of a symbol of our football team and some of the good things that we talk about. He’s young. He’s in the fight. He’s playing fast. He’s playing hard.  He’s learning every single day.”

• We learned that Cadillac Williams should be the third down back. What is wrong with the Bucs running game – the offensive line or Cadillac Williams? In Sunday’s 18-17 victory over St. Louis, one of the greatest mysteries in Tampa Bay was solved. It wasn’t the line.

Yes, the line did block a bit better in the second half after a dreadful first half, but Blount also made quite a few things happen on his own and broke a dozen or so tackles on Sunday, which is something Williams has struggled to do – evidenced by his 2.5-yard rushing average this season. What Williams excelled at was catching the ball as he led the team with eight receptions for 34 yards and one touchdown, including five on the last drive.

Williams has become a much better receiver over the years and is the best back when it comes to pass protection. Just like Michael Pittman had to do when Williams burst onto the scene in 2005 as the featured runner, Cadillac needs to become the team’s third down back and let Blount be the primary ballcarrier. Williams’ 2.5-yard per carry is proof that he no longer has what it takes to be a lead running back in the NFL. But his clutch touchdown reception shows that he still has what it takes to make plays in the passing game.

“LeGarrette Blount was able to get us rushing yards today. Cadillac made some big-time catches today and actually scored the game-winning touchdown,” Morris said. “Everybody has a role right now for us and we’re not going to play the game of fighting daggers and throwing stones for who’s going to run out of the tunnel. I think this team just has to win. I think that’s the most important value for us.”

• We learned that the offensive line can step up when it has to. After allowing Freeman to get sacked three times in the first half, totaling 87 yards and creating barely enough room in the running game for the backs to rush for just eight yards on five carries through the first 30 minutes, the offensive line stepped up. In the second half, Tampa Bay’s offense generated 226 yards, Freeman wasn’t sacked once and Blount and Williams were able to rush for a combined 76 yards on 10 carries (7.6 avg.).

On the Bucs’ final drive, which covered 81 yards, who would have thought that it would be Donald Penn, Davin Joseph, Jeremy Zuttah, Ted Larsen and James Lee leading Tampa Bay to victory? Only Penn and Joseph were regular starters.

Zuttah has done a really good job in place of Jeff Faine at center and looks more apt to play that position instead of guard. Larsen, a rookie, played admirably well in place of veteran left guard Keydrick Vincent. The same could be said for Lee, a veteran backup who saw action as an extra tight end throughout the game and then filled in for the injured Jeremy Trueblood on the final drive.

“I’m really proud of all our guys, they just kept fighting,” Freeman said. “Rough day, from a penalty standpoint. We’d get a drive going and then a penalty would set us back.  Kellen [Winslow] on that fourth down, and we had [Ted] Larsen, a rookie, making his first career start. He did a good job. James Lee came in at the end of the game and he also stepped up and did a good job.”

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE BUCS DEFENSE
• We learned that cornerback Ronde Barber is the Bucs’ best tackler this year. The 35-year old Barber has had a tremendous season thus far with two key interceptions, several quarterback hurries and some surefire tackling. Although middle linebacker Barrett Ruud led Tampa Bay with 11 on Sunday against St. Louis, Barber was next with 10, including nine solo stops.

Barber masterfully wrapped up Steven Jackson’s legs multiple times at or near the line of scrimmage to prevent him from getting a head of steam and getting to the second level. Jackson rushed 22 times for 110 yards, but was held to just 36 in the second half.

At first glance, you might cringe knowing that a cornerback is second on the team in tackles, but Barber is no ordinary corner. In fact, in nickel situations, Barber becomes more of a third linebacker rather than a slot corner. Through six games, Ruud leads the team with 60 tackles, while Barber is next with 48. But Ruud has missed his share of tackles, while Barber appears to be steadier in bringing down ballcarriers.

• We learned that the Bucs still can’t sack the quarterback. Somehow the Bucs managed to sack Bradford in the first quarter, which snapped a three-game streak in which Tampa Bay failed to record a sack. Defensive end Stylez G. White appeared to do the honors, and while his sack-fumble of Bradford was verified by instant replay, it sure seemed to this observer that the rookie passer’s right arm was going forward upon impact and that it should have been ruled an incomplete pass.

“We’ve been saying to each other on the d-line, get off the ball, we get off the field, cause destruction,” White said. “We’re just trying to make it happen, and came up with a sack. We still have to get more sacks, we only had one but we’ll take it.”

After that questionable sack by White, who has two and is tied with Tim Crowder for the team lead, the Bucs unfortunately didn’t get too close to Bradford the rest of the game, especially in the pocket.

• We learned that cornerback Aqib Talib is in a funk. No, Talib didn’t give up any touchdowns on Sunday, but it was surprising to see St. Louis and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford challenge Talib and target him on the first offensive play of the game. That doesn't happen to Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks. Talib has three interceptions on the season to lead the Bucs, but has also dropped a couple of interceptions this year. He had two surefire interception opportunities that were missed on Sunday as the ball bounced out of his hands twice.

Although he only gave up a few catches in the passing game, something just seems kind of off about Talib’s play lately. Dropping interceptions is not going to help improve his confidence, either.

• We learned that E.J. Biggers can flat out play. Biggers was usually charged with the responsibility of covering wide receiver Brandon Gibson on Sunday, and was targeted by the Rams. He finished the game allowing just a few catches, including only one by Gibson, and had one tackle and a team-high two pass break-ups, including a diving effort while covering Gibson with 10:23 left in the second quarter.

It was interesting to note that on third-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 20, Biggers was the boundary corner on the field along with Barber, not Talib, who was on the sidelines. Biggers now has six pass breakups to lead the team. Not bad for a part-time defender, who is turning out to be an absolute steal by Bucs director of college scouting Dennis Hickey and the front office, who drafted Biggers in the seventh round in 2009.

• We learned that Gerald McCoy hasn’t turned the corner yet. On Wednesday, McCoy spoke to the media and essentially said that he had a revelation on Monday about what head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris wanted out of him and how he was expected to play the three technique defensive tackle. Well if McCoy supposedly knew exactly what to do, he didn’t show it on Sunday.

The third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft disappointed with just two tackles and was not the disruptive force that three technique defensive tackles are supposed to be. McCoy has now gone six games without a sack and didn’t come close to getting to Bradford on Sunday.

When McCoy did penetrate the backfield against the run, he seemed to lack the change of direction ability or pursuit speed necessary to make a play in the backfield. It’s way too early in his career to start calling McCoy a bust, but that talk – warranted or not – will begin soon. He certainly hasn’t shown that he’s a first-round-caliber talent yet, especially one worth taking with the third overall pick.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE BUCS SPECIAL TEAMS
• We learned that Connor Barth is back to his old self. After a two-kick hiccup last week in which both of his field goal attempts hit the right upright, Barth was back to nailing every single one of his kicks. That’s what he did in the preseason when he went 5-of-5, and that’s what he did during the first four games when he made 6-of-6 field goal attempts.

Barth was a hero on Sunday, accounting for all of Tampa Bay’s 12 points outside of the game-winning touchdown that came with 10 seconds left. Barth was perfect on a career-high four field goals, drilling kicks from 35, 38, 39 and a season-long 53-yarder, which was a yard shy of tying his career-long of 54 yards. Through six games, Barth has made 10-of-12 field goals (83.3 percent).

• We learned that Tampa Bay may have found its punter. In his second NFL game, rookie Robert Malone averaged 40 yards per punt and had a net of 35.5 against St. Louis. But more importantly, Malone showed he had a booming leg, nailing a career-long 55-yarder versus the Rams a week after launching a 54-yarder against the Saints.

Dangerous punt returner Danny Amendola was held in check with 18 return yards on two punts, and Malone had one touchback and forced a fair catch. Through two games, Malone is averaging 42.4 yards with a 37.4-yard net, and has three punts downed inside the 20 with just one touchback.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS FROM THIS VICTORY
• We learned that nothing phases Morris’ team. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and this young Tampa Bay team is full of ignorance, which is a good thing. Getting blown out at home by New Orleans the previous week? No big deal. Having a miserable first half filled with penalties, blown opportunities on offense and lackluster defense? Just shrug it off.

“It was the worst first half of football I’ve ever been a part of in a long, long time,” running back Cadillac Williams said. “It was just unreal the way we started, but to have a chance to win it at the end, you have to tip your hat to the defense. Those guys did a great job of getting three-and-out and getting the ball back to us.”

Nothing really sticks with this Teflon-coated Tampa Bay team. It’s amazing to see such a young team continue to hang around games and then flip the switch at the end when it needs to and turn on the defense to get the stops and turn on the offense to get the points.

“I don’t know where the credit comes from or goes to for our resiliency, but we’ve got it,” Barber said. “We’re a young football team that doesn’t like to lose and comes back when we have to.”

• We learned that the Bucs can beat two opponents on the same Sunday. Not only did the Bucs overcome the Rams at the end of the game, they also overcame themselves. The first rule in football is “don’t beat yourself.”

That was a rule that was not only broken on Sunday, it was obliterated as the Bucs nearly killed themselves with a season-high 12 penalties for 92 yards. Yet Tampa Bay stopped beating itself and started to beat St. Louis when it mattered most, and that’s the sign of a winner. It’s safe to say that if the Bucs had only had a fourth of those penalties like usual, they beat the Rams by 10 points or more on Sunday.

This Tampa Bay team is talented. The only thing holding it back is a combination of untimely youth, inexperience and self-destruction, but you would expect that from the third-youngest team in the NFL. When this team matures and begins executing on a more consistent basis – look out.

• We learned that tight end Jerramy Stevens might not be wearing red and pewter much longer. After getting arrested for allegedly possessing enough marijuana to be charged with the intent to distribute on Saturday night, the Bucs won without their backup tight end on Sunday. Don’t be surprised to see general manager Mark Dominik release the 30-year old Stevens, who is no longer a featured part of the offense and is not known for his blocking.

“That’s not our teammate, man, that’s our brother,” fellow tight end John Gilmore said. “We went out there to represent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he wouldn’t have wanted that any other way. He [texted] me and Kellen [Winslow] in the morning and said, ‘Go out there and ball.’ He wasn’t concerned about what he had going on, he was concerned about this team. That’s the type of guy he is.”

Uh, no. If Stevens was so concerned about his team he would have been at the team hotel on Saturday night getting mentally prepared to play the Rams in a key game – not allegedly driving around Tampa with a bunch of pot in his car. With rookie Erik Lorig doing well thus far at fullback and tight end and with Ryan Purvis on the practice squad, Dominik has enough options to avoid a public relations hit on a controversial player with a checkered past and move on.

• We learned that at 4-2 anything is possible for the Buccaneers. Morris boldly said after the game that Tampa Bay is the best team in the NFC.

“Well, our record speaks to that, doesn’t it?” said Barber.

Not quite. The Bucs are just behind NFC South rival Atlanta, which is atop the NFC with a 5-2 record. Tampa Bay, the New York Giants and Seattle all are 4-2 to start the season. The Bucs' four wins eclipses their victory total from a year ago when the team finished with a terrible 3-13 record.

Don’t be too concerned that three out of the next four games are on the road. The Bucs are actually 4-0 in the last four road contests dating back to last year when Tampa Bay triumphed at Seattle and at New Orleans. This year, the Bucs have knocked off the Panthers and Bengals away from Raymond James Stadium.

Right now the Bucs have plenty of momentum and with three of their four victories coming in comeback fashion, there is an ultra-high level of confidence in the Tampa Bay locker room.

“If you interview anyone from last year, man, we’re just tired of losing,” Gilmore said. “That’s not a feeling you want. That’s not the type of feeling you want around the building. You want a winning attitude. Winning is contagious and so is losing. To be off to a 4-2 start, that gives us the chance to be better and do some big things this year.”

Just how big will depend on how they fare on the road in the coming month. Tampa Bay will need to continue to greatly improve its pass rush and its run defense, which surrendered 161 yards on the ground on Sunday after coming into the Rams game worst in the league by allowing an average of 157 yards. The Bucs can’t continue to live this dangerously and come away with last-minute wins. Or can they?
Last modified on Monday, 25 October 2010 09:19
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Well if we want to trade names stupid, it was another game of LUCK. But I don't see where they had to make a major comeback to win did they???
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    I agree with gahtadreem on both his comments. We have some young talent that, if it keeps improving, will make us all very happy.
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    Thanks Scott, only gripe, Freeman is closer to a 2:1 td to int ratio, not 3:1. Not many qbs would take that ratio.
  • avatar


    SR- "this team is talented"????? Really?? I don't get it. It's clear we have 3 really good players on this team, Freeman, Winslow, and Williams. We have 3 more that may start on other NFL teams, Penn, Talib and Joseph. Please name me anyone else that would start on another team. Our DL and LB's are terrible. Teh rest of our OL is not good. How can you say this team is talented? I don't get it.
  • avatar


    Bucnut2: What Scott means is that the team has a lot of young talent. Naturally an individual's ability to start on another team depends on the team. Many teams are full of veterans so the chance of a 7th round pick beating them out would be rare. That doesn't mean that in a few years it's not going to happen. I noticed first rounder Jason Pierre Paul sitting on the Giants bench because he can't beat out anyone on the Giants veteran laden D-line. That doesn't mean JPP can't play but McCoy is starting and fans here think he's going to be a bust. This team's players are very young, but their ability to earn a starting role on a 4-2 team means they have some ability that hopefully will develop like our former star players did who didn't shine in their first year.
  • avatar

    At the end of the day, it's the team with the best record that is the best team in almost every case during the regular season,playoff football is not the regular season.It's harder to win than have great stats.When Favre throws it up for grabs (like he did last night) 3 times and Greenbay intercept's it 3 times it's more about Favre winging it than Greenbay being an awesome defense,stats are decieving alot of times.We made Charlie Batch look awesome,it was'nt Batch playing awesome.What good are great stats if you lose? Dallas,Minnasota and San Diego might have more talent and better stats but if you cant win the games than your a loser.......period !! That really makes you a worse team if you got all the talent in the world but still cant win.In the NFL anybody can beat anybody on any given Sunday.Alot can be the coach's fault for losing or winning but just players dont make a team....the coach's are part of the mixture.That's why the best record is the #1 seed in the playoff's because you can only play the schedule that's in front of you. Were the 2nd youngest team in the NFL with practicaly no depth,a QB who's played only 15 games,a 2nd year coach,we've played in 4 blackouts (with prob 4 to come) poor fan turnout at home games, no running game for 5 1/2 games, the leagues worst run defense,the leagues lowest sack totals and have only lost to the 2 time SB champs (very recently) Steelers and last years SB winning Saints and were 4-2.......that's pretty amazing.......there's only been 2 teams that has won every regular season game.......cant ask for much more than that after 6 weeks considering last year also..........WOW!!!!! GO BUCS !!!!! Im not saying were the best team but people get wrapped up in stats,players and teams that are not as good as ESPN and others make them out to be.I will take my young Bucs team and 4-2 record over Dallas' 1-5 Romo driven over hyped QB and team in there billion dollar mega stadium...
  • avatar

    Blount makes the o-line better because of his power running.
  • avatar


    Another stupid statement as usual. Blount had to make it happen. In the second half the Oline played a bit better. The original oline was not even their on the winning drive . You better thank god Trueblood was not in on the final play as we can all guess what would have happened. Loring blew open the hole for Blount. Not the line. Freeman is not the great one you make him out to be. How many time should he have been PICKED yesturday??? How long does he hold on to the ball with wide open receivers because he is to affraid to pull the trigger? Look who beat hell out of the Saints yesturday. Yes it is great to be 4 and 2 But as some reporters have said" this team is good enough to beat bad teams but not good enough to beat good teams." I hope the wins continue. But as another poster said Freeman needs to play 4 quarters . And just maybe we need to try the line used on the last drive first next game just to see what happens and leave Loring in at FB.
  • avatar

    Speaking of stupid statements dixieboy.....yours qualifies. Freeman has the team at 4-2 and he's playing VERY smart football. The team who beat the hell out of the Saints yesterday is the same team that WE beat idiot. Just goes to show you that EVERY team is a good team on any given Sunday and stats don't make a winner. Just ask San Diego.....
  • avatar


    Well if we want to trade names stupid, it was another game of LUCK. But I don't see where they hade to make a major comeback to win did they???
  • avatar


    Probably my favorite segment this week. Great article Scott.
  • avatar


    We also learned that playing at home in front of a half-empty stadium works out better for us than playing at home in a 3/4 full stadium filled mostly with steeler fans or saint fans. Come on people, get out there and get behind this team. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    I would imagine Blount to be the main back and Caddy the 3rd down back going forward. Don't out-think yourselves, coaches. Boring Nike's mantra, Just Do It.
  • avatar

    I love what Morris said. Very smart move on his part. When a young team whom most pundits predicted for 2 or 3 total wins, eclipses last year's win total and has an impressive come-from-behind victory - there's the chance that a sense of accomplishment might set in among the players. A feeling of: We've already beaten last year's win total... mission accomplished.; Morris raised the bar on them, setting the expectations higher than anyone thought possible for the season. Instead of complacent, they're now hopefully hungry to prove their head coach right.
  • avatar


    Totally off topic, but I'm beginning to regret that we traded two seventh round picks in last year's draft. Already under Raheem and Dominicks regime, they have drafted 4 seventh rounders that are either starting or getting playing time (biggers, Lorig, Grimm, and Strougher). And we still have Watson waiting in the sidelines and he was predicted by some to be a 3rd or 4th rounder. We could have had Blount in the last round last year and even get DE Greg Hardy in the 6th round (had we not reach for a punter), of course hindsight is 20/20, and we did need a punter(which could've been had in the 7th). What I'm trying to say is that we should trade some players(e.g. Stovall) for a few seventh round picks, if our scouting department keeps doing such a good job. We may get some good depth for the O-line and who knows, probably some more starters.
  • avatar

    Oh yeah...and by the way...that was ABSOLUTELY a fumble. If it looked like a fumble to your eyes Scott you should see an eye doctor right away.
  • avatar

    What do you mean by "we have to beat a reputable team" in order to know where we're at? EVERY team is a 'reputable' team in the NFL. Didn't Cleveland just beat New Orleans? Didn't Oakland beat San Diego? Look at San Diego's record and they have the top rated offense and defense! It's HARD to win in this league and we're 4-2. It's not always going to be pretty. I actually thought we could have played with Pittsburgh. If Grimm turns around and picks that pass and if Talib's doesn't bounce off his hands right into the receiver's and Sammy's tipped ball pick 6 it might have been much closer than the final score indicated. That's 21 points that shouldn't have been. Now New Orleans was just plain ugly.....no way around that. Point is...this team is finding a way to win and the only thing that matters at the end of the game is the W. They don't grade on style points or give extra credit for how dominating you were. Do we have a ways to go? Absolutely. Are we much better than last year? Uhhhh.... heck yes! 4-2 is better than 0-6. I don't care if we're last in run D if we keep winning. We'll find a way to get better but it's much better to learn while you're winning than losing. I'm excited and especially now that we seem to have a running game! We should start putting more points on the board right away.
  • avatar


    What I learned from this game is if Blount doesn't start AND get 20+ carries then Olson needs to be canned. He is the reason why Freeman had better looks in the 2nd half. We have to stop relying on his arm to always get it done. If Olsons eyes are open he will see we now have a star running back. With a viable running game we won't start off so poorly!
  • avatar


    Sorry PR that was a fumble. You could clearly see the helmet force the ball out of Bradford's hand before it went forward. That was not an incomplete pass it was a fumble. Go back and watch it.
  • avatar

    Great read but what happened to the Roundtable? That's usually my favorite read after the game
  • avatar


    The OL was missing three starters on the game winning drive. They were also responsible for over half of the penalties and allowed too many pressures hits and sacks. Blount made the OL look good, but there is still a lot of work to be done there. The Bucs have the second best record in the NFC. That doesn't mean they are the second best team, but it DOES mean they are far from the worst. I believe they have found a respectable rushing attack with Blount leading the way, but I am not so confident in our rushing defense. McCoy needs to show some improvement soon. It doesn't have to be a sack, but at least be disruptive enough to change the outcome of a play. Way too many long runs and completed passes. I believe it is safe to say the Bucs won't have the first pick in the draft next year, but this is still a very young team with a lot of issues to be worked out. I'm confident they will. QB and WR appear to be team strengths and RB looks promising, and other solutions haven't been activated yet. It certainly is entertaining.
  • avatar

    First off... know that I am a Freeman fan and love his competitiveness and ice water veins. I am only saying this, because I want him to be great. He had a horrible first half. He is relying too much on his legs and to be an ELITE QB that will have to change. I don't see him reading the defenses. He is possibly reading pre-play, but not after the snap. He looks at the guy he thinks will be open from his pre-play read and then possibly his second read and that's it. Our O-line played an excellent game (besides penalties). Freeman ran into a few sacks and ran himself out of passing angles... IN THE FIRST HALF. One of common mistake I see is that he loses guys along the sidelines. 2 different times we had slots/RB running 5 yard outs behind the split running off the corner and the slot/RB didn't have a guy within 10 yards of him. But that goes back to reading the defense on the play. He can't scan the entire field, but he can read that they are in a 3-deep on those 2 plays and the LBs didn't get out to the flats... which may be by design, because the defensive coordinators may be seeing that he has a problem seeing the open sideline WRs and are overloading the middle. Besides that he is as much a competitor as anyone QB we've ever had. I want him in the huddle at the end of a game, but I also would like to see him play better early so he doesn't have to have these heroics every week.
  • avatar

    " It only took head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Greg Olson a month to figure out what Pewter Report already knew after Tampa Bay’s 38-13 loss to Pittsburgh." Please stop, the Bucs saw these qualities during the draft when they brought him in for a workout, unfortunately he was drafted and fortunately later released. They are well aware of his talents but my guess is they dont want $30million to get slammed to the ground on every blitz that he would miss had they played him sooner. You guys are great reporters but terrible predictors. I believe last year you picked the Bucs going 6-10 and the same for this year, both of which were/will be completely off.
  • avatar

    I don't see how they're completely off on their record prediction if you say that they predicted 6-10 both this and last year. That's within 3 wins for last year and this year it's looking like we'll be about 8-8 or 9-7. By the way, Blount was not drafted. He was picked up by Tennessee as an undrafted free agent and when they were trying to sneak him onto their practice squad, we picked him up.
  • avatar

    A very ugly win, but it feels good. Defense is still not getting it done against the run or pass. Thank goodness Barber is still playing. Freeman is the Man. What a great pick !! He has really developed into a great passer. That is a good thing since the rest of the team seems to be struggling. If Blount continues to produce, we may have a decent season.
  • avatar


    All I want to see is his post-game locker room speech to the team...I saw it late last night and looking for an online link to it... Amazing 4th quarter showing again by No.5 - I'm speechless at this kid's composure. Unreal.
  • avatar


    Thanks for the article Scott, also one of my favorites. Is it OK to call Bucs v. Rams a rivalry? At least from the Red & Pewter days? I really wanted this win and taught my dogs some new vocabulary words through that aweful first half. I'm excited to watch this team grow--as painful as 100+ yards of penalties are, seeing the young lineman hold up was cautiously encouraging. I think we also learned that Benn's development at flanker puts Stroughter back where he's best; in the slot. Funny how cyclical careers in the NFL are. When Caddy came to Tampa he had to come off the field on 3rd down and worked his @ss off to become a complete back. All that work summed up in one beautiful TD grab! Go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    "Morris boldly said after the game that Tampa Bay is the best team in the NFC." He didn't say what I think he did, did he? Look, I'm glad they won the game. Finally we got to see Blount and we can finally put to rest all of the talk about this offensive line. There is nothing wrong with these guys, and they are flat-out a good unit when all five are healthy. Let's put that talk to rest. Freeman continues to impress, as does Mike Williams, but lets again not get ahead of ourselves. It was afterall, the Rams. Still, the Saints lost to the Browns. Yes, the Browns, so a win is still a win. I just hope this team can do this against a reputable team down the line. I'm not sure they can, but we now have a realistic chance with Blount carrying the rock.
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    He's the coach. It's his job to be overly optimistic. He has this team of kids believing they can win any game and do anything. It may not be true, but it's his job to portray the image that we are a great team that can beat anyone.
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    The line that played yesterday is not even close to be the same line that has played every week. So you can't say that they're not the problem. That's like comparing last years D-line with this years. They're completely different because the personnel are different.
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    Yeah, I don't really understand why Morris said that, though, no one probably took him seriously anyway. So, no biggie. Rex Ryan, on the other hand, is just arrogant.
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    Now that was very nice BF.
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    Great article! This is one of my favorite features now, keep up the great work. I think Blount will slowly steal time over the rest of the season and ultimately make Caddy expendable at the end of the year. I hope he stays, but in a limited role.
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    Great way to start the day! Thanks Scott
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