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[Bucs] Bucs Report Card

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  • [Bucs] Bucs Report Card

    Each week after the Bucs game, fans can compare their grades to those of Tribune Bucs beat writer Roy Cummings. Here's Roy's grades for the Bucs' 20-17 win against the New Orleans Saints:

    UNIT Roy's Grades
    Quarterbacks A-
    Running Backs C
    Receivers B+
    Offensive Line C
    Defensive Line C
    Linebackers B
    Secondary B
    Special Teams C
    Coaching B

    Quarterbacks: Before his blindside protection broke down, Chris Simms was giving the Bucs the best QB play they've had all season. Then Brian Griese took over and outplayed him. Griese completed nine of his first 10 throws and was virtually flawless, hitting on big plays, finding the end zone and making few mistakes.

    Running Backs: Mike Alstott got some work at tailback early and was somewhat effective until the Bucs gave up on him. Michael Pittman, who ran 15 times and caught five passes for a total of 80 yards, has had better days, but his late run for a first down was big. FB Greg Comella caught a big pass that helped set up an early score.

    Receivers: Charles Lee and Michael Clayton were outstanding. Lee made a lot of yards after the catch and for all his big receptions, Clayton's best plays may have come in the running game, where he gained 15 yards on one play and 9 on the other. Tight ends Ken Dilger and Will Heller were more involved, with Dilger catching three balls, one for a touchdown.

    Offensive Line: Todd Steussie was beaten badly on the sack-fumble that forced Simms out of the game. Kenyatta Walker got beaten for a sack as well on a day when the pass protection was only adequate. The running backs had some holes to run through but this unit still has to play better.

    Defensive Line: This unit gave up some big plays against the run and didn't get anywhere near enough pressure on Saints QB Aaron Brooks. Greg Spires knocked down an important pass late in the third quarter and led this group with two tackles. A better effort here and the Bucs blow the Saints out.

    Linebackers: Jeff Gooch, whose team-leading nine tackles included two big goal-lines stops, did an outstanding job filling in for starter Shelton Quarles at MLB. Derrick Brooks had eight tackles and Ian Gold was effective coming off the edge against the run.

    Secondary: This group suffered some costly breakdowns but Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly came up with two of the biggest plays of the game. Barber returned a fumble for a touchdown and Kelly helped preserve the victory by picking off a Brooks pass early in the fourth quarter.

    Special Teams: Martin Gramatica made a 54-yard field goal but failed to seal the victory when he missed a 41-yard try. Tim Brown was a nonfactor as a punt returner and penalties became a real problem. They made a bad situation worse on a punt early in the second quarter and ruined an otherwise great effort in kick coverage a series later.

    Coaching: Challenging Pittman's fumble was a good call; challenging Clayton's non-catch in the end zone wasn't. The staff has to know Clayton must come down with the ball in his hands there. The offensive play-calling was some of the best we've seen. That third-down end-around run by Clayton had everybody in the building fooled.

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  • RamWraith
    Bucs offense falls just short in loss to Rams
    by RamWraith
    By Jeremy Rutherford
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Oct. 19 2004

    It wasn't Steve Young and Jerry Rice out there Monday night, but the Tampa Bay
    duo of Brian Griese (No. 8) and Michael Clayton (No. 80) looked pretty sharp in
    the Bucs' 28-21 loss to the Rams.

    Griese, making his first start at quarterback for the Buccaneers, completed 27
    of 40 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Clayton, the Bucs' heralded
    rookie receiver, hauled in eight catches for 142 yards.

    That anemic Tampa Bay offense that Buccaneers fans have watched all season
    played its most productive game. The 21 points and three offensive touchdowns
    were the most in six games for the Bucs (1-5).

    "We're not chopped liver," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said. "We're going to be
    better. I think the last three weeks we've played better offensively. It's just
    too bad that we don't get more out of our drives."

    Tampa Bay, which came into the game with the No. 25-ranked offense in the NFL,
    totaled 332 yards against the Rams.

    But the Bucs' undoing was two missed field goals by Martin Gramatica - from 35
    and 48 yards - and a costly fumble by Michael Pittman that resulted in the
    Rams' go-ahead touchdown.

    Adam Archuleta returned it 93 yards for a 21-14 Rams' lead.

    "We can't turn the ball over like that," said Griese, who completed his first
    nine passes Monday. "I thought we had a chance even at the end of the game."

    Griese threw an ill-advised interception in the end zone with 5 minutes 42
    seconds left in the game with the Rams leading by the final margin.

    Otherwise, the Bucs were a lot more effective than anyone anticipated.

    Griese played in relief of Chris Simms (shoulder) last week. He completed 16 of
    19 passes in a 20-17 win over New Orleans. His nine-for-nine start Monday gave
    him a stretch of 25 completions on 28 attempts.

    "He runs around, he makes plays, he made some great audibles, threw some timely
    beautiful passes on third down," Gruden said. "I don't know what I don't like
    (about Griese), that's a better question."

    And what's not to like about Clayton, who caught four of Griese's first nine
    balls, one for 44 yards. That set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Pittman, giving
    the Bucs' a 14-7 lead.

    Clayton is "going to be a great player in this league," Gruden said. "He
    ignited us and made some big plays and was special."

    The Bucs thought they had made another big play at the end of the game. A long
    pass to receiver Tim Brown that set up the offense deep in Rams territory was
    ruled a fumble by...
    -10-19-2004, 02:13 PM
  • RamDez
    Fumbled Away -Buc Press
    by RamDez
    Fumbled Away

    By ROY CUMMINGS [email protected]
    Published: Oct 19, 2004
    ST. LOUIS - They had you believing, didn't they? For nearly four full quarters Monday night they had you believing the way baseball fans in Houston and Boston are believing today.

    That's what the Bucs did Monday night. They instilled belief in their legions of followers. For nearly four full quarters, they had you believing that this once lost season would not only live on, but also live on with a purpose.

    Now, there's no telling where the Bucs will go. Or who will lead them there.

    Before Tim Brown's fumble with 26 seconds left brought an end to what proved to be a 28-21 Rams victory at the Edward Jones Center, Brian Griese looked like he had pushed Chris Simms back down the depth chart.

    He had resurrected an offense that has struggled all season long to find the end zone, putting on a dazzling show of his own in a building that houses what has become known as the Greatest Show on Turf.

    It was an offensive high wire act in which rookie receiver Michael Clayton ran up more than 100 yards in receptions for the first time in his career but still couldn't outshine Rams receiver Torry Holt.

    Holt proved to be the hero in this one, catching two touchdown passes including the game-winner, a 36-yard catch that came after he slipped behind Bucs nickelback Mario Edwards near the end zone.

    ``I want to tip my hat to Tampa,'' Holt said afterward. ``It's fun playing these guys; they challenge you on every single play.''

    The Bucs challenged the Rams, but in the end it was mistakes that once again cost the Bucs, who turned the ball over four times in dropping to 1-5.

    There was Brown's fumble at the end of a 21-yard pass play that put them within easy striking distance of the goal line.

    There was center John Wade's fumble of a snap to Griese at the Bucs 5 that the Rams quickly turned into a touchdown.

    There was Jerametrius Butler's interception of a Griese pass on the next-to-last offensive drive of the night for Tampa Bay.

    There was Adam Archuleta's 93-yard return for a touchdown of a Michael Pittman fumble midway through the fourth quarter.

    And there was kicker Martin Gramatica's misses of field goal tries of 35 and 48 yards in the first half.

    ``We missed two field goals and fumbled in the red zone twice,'' Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. ``I'm fully responsible for this mess, with all these turnovers; we might be the best 1-5 team in history. We did it to ourselves.''

    The mistakes rendered meaningless not only another solid effort by Griese, who completed 27 of 40 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but also one of the best efforts of the season by the Bucs defensive front four.

    That unit got four sacks, including two by Greg...
    -10-19-2004, 03:51 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Barber takes career, season scoring lead
    by DJRamFan
    Published October 11, 2004


    NEW ORLEANS - Cornerback Ronde Barber traversed some familiar terrain Sunday, helping boost the Bucs to their first victory of the season and running into the record book.

    Barber's 18-yard return of a Deuce McAllister fumble in the second quarter not only gave Tampa Bay the momentum with a 13-7 lead, it marked the seventh time in the regular season (and eighth overall) No.20 has been seen racing into the end zone with a defensive touchdown.

    Barber also leads the Bucs this season with two touchdowns. Tim Brown , Bill Schroeder , Michael Clayton and Ken Dilger have one.

    Sunday's touchdown, triggered when end Greg Spires stripped the ball, also moved Barber one ahead of linebacker Derrick Brooks for the franchise record.

    "Me and Derrick have had a running competition for a couple of years now, and we keep saying to stay even with each other," Barber said. "But I told him I'm leaving him (behind) now."

    Across the locker room, Brooks wasn't buying it.

    "It's like that old rabbit and turtle," he said. "You jump out of there. And before you know it, you take a rest, and that turtle is going to catch you." But he added with a smile, "As long as we're scoring them, that's all that matters."

    Barber agrees.

    Last week, he talked about the lack of big plays by the defense. But that changed Sunday with pivotal plays such as Brian Kelly 's interception at the Bucs 17 that squelched a fourth-quarter drive with Tampa Bay guarding a 20-14 lead.

    "Whatever it takes," said Barber, who returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown against New Orleans on Dec.23, 2001. "I'm just proud of how we all hung in and got a win."

    STEPPING UP: Linebacker Jeff Gooch was thrust into action when leading tackler Shelton Quarles left the game in the first quarter with a quadriceps strain. But Gooch picked up where Quarles left off, leading the Bucs with nine tackles.

    "We count on Shelton Quarles to do a lot in this defense," Gooch said. "And when I came in, I didn't want there to be a drop-off at all.

    "I wanted it to seem like Shelton was not even missed."

    Gooch is no stranger to the Bucs, having played for them from 1996-01 then spending the previous two seasons with Detroit.

    "It makes you feel good to be a big part of a big win," he said. "It feels really good especially because I was here before and part of building this team. Any time you get a chance to come back and help out again, that's huge."

    LONG DISTANCE: Martin Gramatica equaled his third-longest field goal...
    -10-11-2004, 02:25 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] It's A Start
    by DJRamFan
    By ROY CUMMINGS [email protected]com
    Published: Oct 11, 2004

    NEW ORLEANS - For the first time since December, a scoreboard clock wound down to zero with the Bucs holding a lead Sunday.
    You wouldn't have known it from walking through their locker room.

    The Bucs' 20-17 victory against the Saints produced the season's first collection of postgame smiles, but some frowns remained.

    ``It's hard to celebrate right now,'' linebacker Derrick Brooks said. ``There definitely are some heavy hearts in here.''

    The heaviest belonged to quarterback Chris Simms, who couldn't finish his first pro start after spraining his throwing shoulder on a first-quarter sack.

    As of late Sunday, no one was sure just when the left- handed Simms would be able to make his second pro start.

    Simms was saying he could return to face the Rams next Monday, but he still wasn't able to lift his left arm over his head when he said that.

    ``Do I think I'm going to be out a month? No, I don't think so,'' Simms said. ``With some heavy massage, I should be able to play next week.''

    Bucs coach Jon Gruden wasn't ready to rule Simms out of next week's game, either.

    ``He's day-to-day,'' Gruden said. ``That's really just about all I can say on the matter right now.''

    The good news is that X-rays came up negative. An MRI is scheduled for today to confirm the nature of the injury.

    The better news is that just about everything backup quarterback Brian Griese did after taking over for Simms was positive.

    In his first regular-season action as a Buc, Griese completed 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown and helped Tampa Bay (1-4) break a six-game losing streak. The Bucs won on the road for the first time since their last visit to New Orleans on Dec. 7.

    ``He did a heck of a job out there,'' Gruden said of Griese. ``He should be the story today.''

    He's certainly a big part of it. But so too is Jeff Gooch, the backup middle linebacker who did a credible job as a fill-in himself.

    Gooch replaced starter Shelton Quarles, who left the game in the first quarter with a quad strain, and led the defense with nine tackles.

    ``You really have to appreciate the work of guys like Brian Griese and Jeff Gooch,'' Brooks said. ``We had guys make some attitude plays today.''

    Cornerback Ronde Barber made one. He picked up a second-quarter Deuce McAllister fumble and carried it into the end zone for the Bucs' first touchdown.

    Fellow cornerback Brian Kelly, who picked off an Aaron Brooks pass to snuff out a late New Orleans drive, also had one of those plays. And so did running back Michael Pittman.

    On third-and-5 just before the two-minute warning, Pittman eluded three would-be...
    -10-11-2004, 02:09 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Gimme Five
    by DJRamFan
    By JOHN ROMANO, Times Sports Columnist
    Published October 11, 2004

    THE GREAT QB EXPERIMENT: Moving Brad Johnson out of the way did not instantly create a potent offense, but it did give the Bucs additional options. Instead of scaling back the game plan for the new QBs, the Bucs opened with more rollouts, along with five- and seven-step drops.

    RIGHT IDEA, WRONG OFFSPRING: Bucs fans were clamoring for the son of a Super Bowl hero at quarterback. Turns out, they were off by a couple of Roman numerals. It wasn't the son of Phil Simms (Super Bowl XXI), but the son of Bob Griese (Super Bowl VII and VIII) who rescued a season. Griese had the most accurate day for a Bucs QB in 12 years.

    BUT WHAT'S A SACK?: It is not our wish to inundate with technical terms and football jargon. But if the defense continues in this fashion, it may come in handy down the road. Remember when Ronde Barber picked up a loose ball and scored? How about when Brian Kelly caught a pass thrown by Aaron Brooks? Apparently, those are called turnovers.

    REALITY TIME: Keenan McCardell's holdout will end soon. Only a fool would continue to throw away money, time and reputation. Keenan, the Bucs have moved past rock bottom and ain't looking for you in the rearview mirror.

    THE BEST YET: The long touchdown pass to Ken Dilger was great. The field-goal drives were nice, too. But the greatest sign yet for this offense was the way it held the ball the final three minutes. The game was on the line, the Saints were desperate and the Bucs still imposed their will.


    Five signs the Bucs still have work to do:

    5. Corey Ivy is confused. First make a tackle, then you can taunt.

    4. When his paper is delivered, Tim Brown signals for a fair catch.

    3. Only team in the league with a Social Security cap.

    2. Brad Johnson still offering updates on his stats.

    1. Barber leads team in TDs.


    DIRTY WORK: Griese threw it, Dilger caught it, but Michael Pittman was responsible for the 45-yard TD. Pittman picked up linebacker James Allen on a blitz, allowing Griese time to find Dilger.

    SHORT AND SWEET: We have come to loathe 6-yard completions on third and 11, but in this case it might have been the difference in the game. When Will Heller put the Bucs in a hole with a penalty, Griese moved them back into range for a 53-yard field goal with a short pass to Brown.

    THE PROPER ASSIST: For the second straight week, the line did not get a sack, but Greg Spires forced the fumble that led to Barber's TD.

    A GENIUS AGAIN: He has taken heat for the offensive woes, but Jon Gruden had a splendid game plan. The end-around to Michael Clayton on third down kept the first scoring drive alive.

    A HAPPY RETURN: Torrie Cox set...
    -10-11-2004, 02:16 PM