Random thoughts on the Bucs and the NFL

1. You didn’t really think the Bucs were going to beat the Colts, did you? Me neither.

2. Curious observation number one: Why couldn’t Tampa Bay run the ball? When men weighing well over 300 pounds push on men weighing substantially less than 300 pounds, shouldn’t the latter group of men move backwards? It feels like some law of physics was violated last Sunday.

3. The Bucs’ pass rush was actually better than many are reporting in the media. The effort was high and the Bucs’ defensive line was flying. They just don’t have a dominant lineman right now. Peyton Manning didn’t have all day to throw, but he had enough time. Color me grumpy, but I am still longing for Amobi Okoye at this point. Mr. Adams needs to meet Mr. Young in the playground after school this weekend to change the mojo.

4. Every time I watch Jeff Garcia play I get a big smile on my face. Is this guy a leader or what? First time I can remember a Buc QB rolling out of the pocket and thinking something good might actually happen. A buddy of mine put a finger on it the other day. He said, “Some quarterbacks have ‘it.'They are just winners. Garcia has 'it.' After five games, I couldn’t agree more.

5. One question: Has anybody seen Michael Clayton or Maurice Stovall on a milk carton lately? Where are they?

6. My biggest beef with the defensive effort last week was not understanding why our corners were playing so far off the Colts’ receivers. Isn’t rerouting receivers a staple of the Cover 2 defense? Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark are good receivers, but they are not speed burners, so the risk of them getting behind the safeties would appear to have been small. If the pass rush wasn’t going to disrupt timing, the corner play was the only other answer. What am I missing here?

7. So what’s the silver lining from this Indianapolis hoe-down? Well, what remained of competition in the weak NFC South evaporated last week. Jake Delhomme is gone for the year. David Carr is hurt and terrible when he’s not. The Panthers are 3-2, but they are toast. I actually bumped into Vinny Testaverde at Laguardia on Tuesday. He looks great, but I don’t really want to see the AARP picketing Carolina games after the beatings he is going to take. I like the Cardinals to paste them this week in the desert. The Saints couldn’t beat a bad Panthers team at home. The Panthers put on the blind fold and lit a cigarette, but the Saints blew their own brains out in the end. They are 0-4 and at rock bottom. The Falcons were already done when Ron Mexico spit the Milkbone, but seeing them get five turnovers from the Titans and still not be able to win the game was astounding. I mean, who the heck else is going to win the division but the Bucs? Answer: no one.

8. Remember all the talk about how tough the first five games on the Bucs’ schedule would be? Well, they are in the books and this team is 3-2, not 1-4. Don’t let the winning records of some upcoming opponents fool you, because these Bucs are in it to the finish. Tennessee is a mild surprise, but not a good passing team. Vince Young could miss the side of a barn from the inside. And, don’t yap at me about completion percentage. Put the game in Young’s hands and let’s see what happens when he has to throw for real. Detroit is a total fraud sitting there at 3-2. Mike Martz is going to get poor Jon Kitna killed. Regardless of what a defense does, Martz has Kitna take five and seven step drops with a Swiss cheese offensive line (Jeff Backus has been horrendous the past two weeks. Sunday he made Andre Carter look like Jason Taylor) and wait to get hammered after almost every pass. If it doesn’t stop soon, Kitna will be as punch drunk as “Private Pyle” from Full Metal Jacket. Jacksonville will be a physical game, but it’s at home. Look for the Bucs to win two out of the next three and cruise through the second quarter to reach 5-3 at the season’s midpoint.

9. Want to hear the even better news? The third quarter goes Arizona at home, at Atlanta, Washington at home, and at New Orleans. I certainly think 3-1 is the expected outcome in the third quarter. That gets the Bucs to 8-4 entering the home stretch. I know, I know; have another cocktail.

10. However, my 10-6 season prediction doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it?

11. Easiest line of the season: Patriots minus 4.5 at the Cowboys. Are you kidding me? With Romo pitching them to the red, white and blue and Brady finding his galaxy of receiving stars, this game will not be close.

12. Zack Crockett is insurance vs. overpayment in a trade. Think about that. Also, no more first round draft picks on running backs. It’s a waste of money in a West Coast offensive system. Who’d be better in Gruden’s offense, Edgerrin James or Brian Westbrook?

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