Pewter Report editor-in-chief Scott Reynolds:
“It’s time to give Jon Gruden a lot of credit for his play-calling. He and quarterback Brian Griese were in a zone against Kansas City and really piled up the yardage and the points. We are beginning to see why Gruden has been labeled a guru, a wizard or even (gulp) a genius in the past. Gruden’s use of misdirection to start the game and Griese connecting with Michael Clayton for a 56-yard gain ignited the Bucs’ offense. Gruden is now 6-1 following a bye week. Give this guy an extra week to gameplan and he’ll find the holes in any defense. Of course, it helps that he finally has a true West Coast offense quarterback like Griese in the lineup instead of Brad Johnson.”
“We’re seeing why Gruden uses different formations to create mismatches. Fans may wonder why Gruden will sometimes line up his tight ends out wide as a wide receiver. The reason? It forces a safety or a linebacker to line up outside, which is unconventional and not normal procedure for the defenders’ pre-snap alignment. That’s exactly what happened on the Ken Dilger touchdown against the Chiefs. Dilger was wide open and at the snap of the ball, Brian Griese threw a perfect floater for a touchdown.”
“The Buccaneers need to do something about their nickel cornerback situation. For the second-straight year, the weakness in the Bucs nickel defense is the third corner. Granted, Mario Edwards is better than Tim Wansley, who occupied that role last year, but Edwards is not physical enough to succeed in Tampa Bay’s defense. Edwards had a horrible day against Kansas City, giving up a 25-yard touchdown pass to Johnnie Morton. He also had a 15-yard personal foul that gave Kansas City a first down on a second-and-31 situation. And after getting burned on the touchdown, he gave up too much cushion to receivers for the rest of the game. Edwards did make a nice pass break-up on third-and-9 in the third quarter, but should have had an interception on the play.”
“It’s time for the Michael Pittman haters to quit hating and get on his bandwagon. The guy was suspended, fined and served jail time for his domestic abuse incident and both he and his wife say that their troubles are behind them. He’s paid his price. Now he’s paying the Bucs back for keeping their faith in him by turning in back-to-back 100-yard games and scoring a total of four touchdowns in the last two games. Pittman is finally becoming the player the Bucs envisioned when they signed him as a free agent in 2002. He’s a likeable, team-first guy who is providing some needed big play ability in the running game. If you don’t want to cheer for Pittman, that’s fine. Just don’t root against him. He’s worked awfully hard for his team and the fans over since his return from a league suspension and deserves praise for it.”
Pewter Report managing editor Jim Flynn:
“Tampa Bay delivered a great all-around performance against Kansas City, and that’s exactly what was needed to stop the red-hot Chiefs Sunday. The Bucs had no turnovers on offense, and on the defensive side of the ball, safety Dwight Smith came up huge by causing wide receiver Eddie Kennison to fumble on the 3-yard line and saving a touchdown after a 59-yard gain. In addition to that play, Smith and Jermaine Phillips each came up with key interceptions. “It was nice to see Smith and Phillips come up with some ‘splash’ plays Sunday. The Bucs had been expecting those types of plays from these two young, talented players, and they both delivered on Sunday.”
“It’s a good thing kicker Martin Gramatica’s missed 46-yard field goal just before the half, and his missed extra point in the fourth quarter, didn’t cost the Bucs this much-needed win, which gave Tampa Bay life heading into a huge NFC South division contest in Atlanta next Sunday. But before people say the Bucs need to cut Gramatica, just know that he’s still the best option, as evidenced by the available free agent kickers.”
“Kudos go out to Jameel Cook, who replaced injured fullback Mike Alstott in the starting lineup Sunday against Kansas City and had an impressive game in terms of lead blocking for running back Michael Pittman, who rushed for 128 yards on 15 carries (8.5 avg.), including No. 32’s 78-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, where Cook made a key block to spring Pittman loose for the score. In addition to his blocking, Cook hauled in three passes for 17 yards, including a 8-yard touchdown pass in the flat from quarterback Brian Griese.”
Pewter Report senior writer Leo Haggerty:
Kansas City is an understatement. On the Chiefs’ opening drive, Edwards was burnt on the touchdown pass from quarterback Trent Green to wideout Johnnie Morton from 25 yards out. The Bucs’ nickel cornerback bit on the out move and was victimized by the up portion of the route for the touchdown when Tampa Bay was in a full blitz on third-and-8. Then, with K.C. on its second offensive possession, and facing a second-and-31 from its own 17-yard line, Edwards was flagged for a 15 yard personal foul penalty for grabbing the face mask that got the Chiefs out of the hole. Fortunately, as the game progressed, he improved and had a big pass breakup late in the contest.”
“A case can be made for the biggest game of the season always being the one coming up, but the game with the Atlanta will determine the rest of the Bucs season. A Buccaneers win in the Georgia Dome puts the Pewter Pirates at 4-5 and on a three-game win streak. A victory would aslo drop the Dirty Birds to 6-3. It’s really a two-game swing because, if the outcome goes the other way, the Falcons go to 7-2 and Tampa Bay falls to 3-6. That puts the legions of head coach Jon Gruden four games, in the loss column, behind Hotlanta with the Falcons holding the hammer in case of a tie. Next week is the biggest game of the season.”
“Dewayne White is really coming of age. The second-year defensive lineman came up with a great performance as a defensive tackle today. White has logged some great snaps replacing defensive tackle Ellis Wyms as a nickel rusher. Against Kansas City, White had to replace Booger McFarland who was lost due to a shoulder injury. White’s fourth quarter sack, which was the second sealed the Bucs’ win.
“Joey Galloway is a difference-maker when he is on the field. Even though he only had two catches for 40 yards in his return from injury today, Galloway’s speed kept Kansas City’s safeties deep and away from the line of scrimmage. He also drew one defensive holding call when a Chiefs defender wouldn’t let him blow by him.”
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