coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/23/2013 07:12 PM in NFL

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick
Something has to give this weekend as the National Football League matches up two teams in need of a win. For week four of the NFL slate the Arizona Cardinals will go to the East coast to take on the tortured Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are having trouble getting a win.

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Buccaneers listed as three point favorites. The Buccaneers are favorites in this game despite the fact that they have yet to win a game. There is rumor of turmoil in the locker room and between the players and coaches, but 56 percent of the early betting is still on the home team. The line can still be found at (-3) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Cardinals lost to the Saints but they were shorthanded. Cardinals starting NT Dan Williams was excused for the death of his father in a car accident. OLB Lorenzo Alexander (right foot) and S Rashad Johnson went out in the first half, and OLB Sam Acho (left ankle) went down in the third quarter. They still kept this game close until the late in the second half and have a good offense.
That offense will get a test against the Bucs defense. Dashon Goldson is tied with Lavonte David for the team lead with 151 defensive snaps played this season, and has been a big part of Tampa Bay's secondary improvement this season. In addition to his help in coverage, Goldson is also one of four safeties with multiple tackles for loss this season. This game is a must win for the Bucs. They have to chase down the Saints in the division and it all starts with this game.

The NFL betting trends show that both teams have some very interesting trends leading up to kickoff. Arizona is 0-4-1 straight up in its last 5 games on the road and have a trip to the East coast. Tampa Bay is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing Arizona but they are just 4-8-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last 13 games that they have played in front of the home crowd. The total has gone under in 4 of Tampa Bay's last 5 games at home and the total has gone under in 6 of Tampa Bay's last 8 games when playing Arizona

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/24/2013 02:31 PM

This time, it was not some last-second loss. This time, the bulk of the blame cannot fall on Josh Freeman. This time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply played a horrible game and showed that, contrary to popular belief, Freeman isn’t the root of all their troubles.

Sunday’s 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium showed the 0-3 Bucs have major problems in many areas. Their season already has been a soap opera with reports that Freeman and coach Greg Schiano don’t get along and that some prominent players don’t like Schiano’s militaristic approach.

Now, there’s material for many more episodes of the soap opera.

Start with kicker Rian Lindell, who set the tone for the day by missing a 38-yard field goal on Tampa Bay’s first drive. Lindell also missed a field goal in last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints and you have to wonder if his shakiness was why Schiano decided not to go for it, rather than attempt a long field goal, twice in the first half.

Don’t be surprised if the Bucs have a new kicker next week. Some new receivers also might be a good idea. There receivers failed to catch four very catchable balls. The biggest drop came on Tampa Bay’s second drive -- when Freeman had the team moving better than it has all season -- as a pass in the end zone went off tight end Tim Wright's hands and the Bucs had to settle for a field goal.

“The plays you have control over, you have to make," Schiano said. “When you have a situation that you’re in control of and you don’t make it, then you’re living on borrowed time.’’

Tampa Bay’s time to win the game disappeared in the second quarter. That’s when Tom Brady and his young receivers started clicking and that’s when Tampa Bay’s defense showed some holes.

“You can’t pinpoint any one thing,’’ defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “The defense, we gave up 23 points. If we hold them to zero, we win, 3-0. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do.’’

Holding the Patriots to zero points would be a major accomplishment for any defense. You cannot pin this one on the defense, just like you cannot pin it all on Freeman, who completed 19-of-41 passes for 236 yards.

Freeman is not completely blameless. He did throw an interception to former Buccaneer Aqib Talib late in the second quarter to set up a field goal that helped the Patriots to a 17-3 halftime lead.

Throw in an offensive game plan, some play calling that was questionable, and a rib injury that kept top receiver Vincent Jackson out of the game for most of the second half and the Bucs seem to have all the elements of disarray.

“We’ve got to get better,’’ Schiano said. “There’s no magic pill."

It’s hard to look at the Bucs and see this season suddenly turning around. The first two losses were close. This one wasn’t and it looks like things are only getting worse for the Buccaneers.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 03:20 PM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to bench quarterback Josh Freeman for rookie Mike Glennon, coach Greg Schiano announced Wednesday. "We're moving forward with Mike as our quarterback," Schiano said. "That's our plan."

The Bucs are making the change now because they feel it is beneficial for Glennon with the bye week coming after Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, Schiano said. He can start this week, then have two weeks for the coaches to review his performance and make corrections before the Bucs play the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 13.

Schiano felt this was a more favorable scenario than having Glennon anticipating his first NFL start for two weeks, team sources told ESPN. "This league is about finding a franchise quarterback, and with Josh's roller-coaster career, we don't feel he's that guy," a team source said.

There are five weeks before the trade deadline, and if a team loses a starting quarterback and has interest in Freeman, the Bucs are willing to trade him. For now, he's their backup quarterback.

Schiano said Monday that Freeman was still his starter even though he completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes during the Bucs' 0-3 start.

Tampa Bay selected the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Glennon in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2013 draft. He was the third quarterback taken in the draft and will become the third rookie to start a game at the position this season, joining the Buffalo Bills' EJ Manuel and the New York Jets' Geno Smith, the two quarterbacks picked before him. Manuel and Smith have started since Week 1.

He also will become the third former North Carolina State quarterback as a current starter in the NFL, joining the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson, who he backed up for the Wolfpack, and the San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers.

Freeman, a team captain the previous three seasons, was not elected as one this year. Schiano denied reports that he rigged the voting to keep Freeman from being selected and then later revealed that the quarterback had overslept and missed the team's annual photo session.

Freeman, drafted by the Bucs in the first round of the 2009 draft, is in the final season of his rookie contract. The team has said it is in no hurry to extend the deal.

Last season, Freeman threw for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. (He is the franchise's leader in career TD passes with 80.) He has two touchdown passes and three interceptions this season.

Since his 10-6 season in 2010, Freeman is 11-23 (.324) as a starter. Among players with at least 20 starts over that span, only the Jacksonville Jaguars' Blaine Gabbert has a worse win percentage (5-20, .200), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Freeman (17th overall) was the third of three quarterbacks selected in the first round in 2009, following top overall pick Matthew Stafford by the Detroit Lions and Mark Sanchez (No. 5) by the Jets. With Freeman's benching, only Stafford remains a starter at the position.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 03:22 PM

The Cardinals have lost a third outside linebacker, rookie Alex Okafor, for the season, coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday night. Okafor suffered a torn biceps tendon, Arians said, and rookie Kenny Demens, an inside linebacker, will be promoted from the practice squad.

Arians didn’t say when Okafor’s injury occurred but it apparently happened against the Saints last Sunday. The Cardinals didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday, although players worked out.

Starting outside linebacker Sam Acho (fracture fibula) and Lorenzo Alexander (foot) were placed on injured reserve on Monday after suffering injuries in New Orleans.

Okafor was expected to start in place of Acho against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

On Monday, Arians told reporters that every team goes through injuries, and that they tend to strike one position.

Maybe he knew about Okafor then, but this injury seems to be a surprise.

It’s difficult to say what the Cardinals do at outside linebacker now, because Okafor was believed to be the only healthy, true outside linebacker on the roster.

Matt Shaughnessy and John Abraham are listed as backups, but they are more defensive ends than linebackers. Neither is accustomed to dropping into coverage.

On a depth chart released by the team on Tuesday, Shaughnessy replaced Alexander at the weakside linebacker or the “Will” spot. Okafor was listed as the starter on the strong side, or the “Sam” spot.

Dontay Moch, promoted from the practice squad on Monday, and Vic So’oto, signed on Tuesday, are listed as Okafor’s backups.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/26/2013 01:04 PM

With Wednesday's news that the Buccaneers are benching quarterback Josh Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon, it’s time for a scouting report on the rookie.

Gruden spent more than four hours with Glennon and, prior to that, spent a lot of time preparing for the session by watching college tape.

“When I worked with Glennon, I told him there are some things he did better than anyone else in college football last year,’’ Gruden said. “Specifically, he can flat-out drive the football. The guy can absolutely hum it. Glennon can throw the ball to the wide side of the field effortlessly. In college, with the wider hashmarks, when you throw the ball to the wide side of the field, it's a big-time throw. In fact, there are some programs that don't even attempt it -- they don't even bother asking a QB to attempt a wide-side throw down the field. That's not the case with Glennon.

“This guy can make some really difficult down-the-field throws. If you watch the camp session with Glennon, you'll see we went through a "Fox Two XY Hook." I coached that pattern for 18 years. I'm not sure I've ever seen a QB at any level throw it with the ease Glennon can. Brett Favre threw a certain second-reaction post, by my count, about four times in his career. I saw Glennon throw it four times last season.

Gruden also gave a flattering answer when asked to compare Glennon to a current NFL quarterback.

“If you want a recent comparison, I don't think the similarities to Joe Flacco are unfair,’’ Gruden said. “They're both 6-foot-6, they both have really nice throwing motions and they both have a nice, compact stroke that just looks effortless. If you watch end-zone film of Flacco, there are times when you go, 'Wow!' when he snaps one off. I found myself saying the same with Glennon a few times."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/26/2013 01:05 PM

Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Dan Williams will miss Sunday's game against Tampa Bay to attend his father's funeral, head coach Bruce Arians said via

Williams has not been with the team this week in Florida, while the Red Birds prepare for their game against the Buccaneers.

Williams' father, Thomas, was killed in a car accident last Friday near Jackson, Miss., while driving to New Orleans for the Cardinals game against the Saints. Williams did not travel to Louisiana with the team and missed that game, a 31-7 setback to the Saints.

The funeral will be on Saturday in Memphis, Tenn., a team spokesman stated.

To this point,few details about the accident have come to light. According to reports, Williams' mother and sister were also in the car but are expected to survive.

An Arizona Cardinals team spokesman said arrangements are being made for Williams' teammates to attend the service. There is no timetable for Williams' return at this time.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/27/2013 12:17 PM

The Cardinals offense was a one-hit wonder against the Saints last week. It opened the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive, and judging by statistics, announced its retirement less than six minutes into the game.

How does a team look so in sync, balanced and dangerous one possession, and then miss about 1,000 beats over the next 10?

That’s the question the Cardinals (1-2) are trying to answer this week in Florida as they prepare to play the Buccaneers (0-3) in Tampa Bay on Sunday.

“Oh, man, it’s just a lot of different things,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said when asked for an explanation. “It’s blown assignments to missed blocks to occasional dropped passes.

“It’s a lot of guys making mistakes but it’s encouraging that it’s things we can clean up. It’s not something you want to be discouraged about because I know we can improve on it, and we’re gonna improve on it.”

Quarterback Carson Palmer completed 4 of 5 passes in the Cardinals’ only successful possession last Sunday. Running back Alfonso Smith gained 21 yards around left end on another.

There was a mixture of run and pass plays, and the Saints didn’t seem prepared to stop it.

That quickly changed. New Orleans began to apply consistent pressure on Palmer. His throws were hurried. The number of sacks mounted.

“Throughout the first regular-season games, I think you’ve seen that when the offense is clicking, it’s clicking,” Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “But when it’s off, it’s off. We’ve got to make sure we’re on point this week.”

Much of the problem last week was a result of poor protection. Pressure came from both sides of the line as tackles Levi Brown and Eric Winston struggled.

“When he’s protected, the ball gets delivered,” Goodwin said. “We do a better job of that this week, he’s going to be OK, we’re going to be OK.

“Running the ball, we’re doing a decent job.”

Palmer has been sacked nine times this year, which seems likes a lot, but it’s a league-wide trend.

There were 101 sacks in the NFL last week, the second most in a single week in NFL history, one short of Week 11 in 1986.

The Cardinals have used a running back and tight end occasionally to help Brown on the left side. They have also spread the field with receivers and tried to make quicker throws in order to avoid pressure.

“We’re going to go empty (backfield), we’re going to go play-action pass,” Goodwin said. “The first sack happened on a play-action pass last week. Obviously, he (Brown) has to get the job done. Otherwise, I’ll be in there.”

There also have been 155 touchdown passes this season, the most through three weeks in NFL history. The Cardinals have just three of those.

Palmer said there are “a ton of things” he can improve upon.

“Footwork and mechanics, reads, directing protections, accuracy, timing and rhythm, all those things,” he said. “There is never one or two things.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/27/2013 12:18 PM

New starting quarterback Mike Glennon hasn’t been able to practice with his two starting wide receivers Wednesday and Thursday.

Vincent Jackson (ribs) and Mike Williams (hamstring) each missed their second straight day of practice. That’s less than an ideal situation, but Williams said he and Jackson already have chemistry with Glennon, who is replacing Josh Freeman.

“Everybody keeps worrying about that, but we’ve been working with him the whole year," Williams said. “There’s never been a practice where it’s just all Josh. It’s been Josh and Mike and Josh and Mike, and then just Josh on Sundays. Now, it’s going to be Mike on Sunday."

Williams estimated he had as many practice reps with Glennon as he did with Freeman during training camp and the preseason.

Williams also was very optimistic about his hamstring.

“I’m playing Sunday, 100 percent," Williams said

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 10:54 AM

Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon might not have his full stable of receivers when he makes his NFL debut Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Coach Greg Schiano said that tight end Tom Crabtree has been ruled out. Schiano said Crabtree had a setback with the ankle injury that has kept him out since the preseason. The Bucs had been hoping Crabtree could play this week and take over the starting role. Previous starter Luke Stocker is on injured reserve. With Crabtree out, Nate Byham is likely to get the start.

Starting wide receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson returned to practice on a limited basis Friday and will be listed as questionable. Williams said Thursday he expected to play Sunday. Kevin Ogletree, Eric Page and Russell Shepard are Tampa Bay's backups at wide receiver.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 10:54 AM

Three things to watch for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Mike Glennon.
The rookie quarterback will be making his first start after the Bucs benched Josh Freeman. Glennon didn’t exactly light it up in the preseason and the coaching staff is taking a leap of faith that he’s ready to play in the NFL. Glennon’s strength is that he has a big arm, so look for the Bucs to try to take some deep shots.

Doug Martin.
The Bucs already are a run-first team, but they’re likely to move even more in that direction in Glennon’s first start. Look for Martin to get a bunch of carries as the Bucs try to keep the pressure off Glennon.

Larry Fitzgerald against Darrelle Revis.
If the Bucs put Revis on Fitzgerald in man coverage, this could be a very entertaining matchup with one of the league’s best receivers going against one of the league’s best cornerbacks.