Our new-found friends from JoeBucsFan.com do a great job of keeping up with their team. They have solid inside info that the present in an entertaining manner. We fired a few questions their way and the JoeBucsFan.com responses are below:
--Like the Redskins, the Bucs are coming off of an ugly loss. What is the mood of the team and what is the mood of the city after the 24-0 loss to the Giants?
The mood of the area is a combination of emotions. A lot of fans saw this coming so those fans are simply shrugging their shoulders with a "told you so" reaction.
But the Bucs were so pathetically inept against the Giants it stirred various reactions. Most fans point to the Glazer Family (Malcolm Glazer owns the Bucs but due to a series of strokes he is out of the picture and his sons run the team) for not spending any cash on the team. The Bucs are some $30 million under the cap which probably irks Dan Snyder.
A good majority of those same fans think the Glazers use the revenue from the Bucs to pay off their massive debt incurred in purchasing their English kickball team, Manchester United, rather than invest in the Bucs.
Some delirious fans are even calling for Raheem Morris' head which is terribly premature after only three games. Granted, Morris has made some mistakes (firing his offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski just prior to the season) being one major mistake. But the savvy fans know the front office has really dropped the ball in recent drafts and not even Vince Lombardi could win without a sufficient amount of talent.
Defensive end Gaines Adams is the lightning rod for recent rotten drafts. A fourth overall selection in the 2007 draft, Adams has regressed terribly and is an absolute non-factor when on the field. He gets shoved around like an empty grocery cart by even mediocre offensive linemen and cannot tackle. But fora defensive end he is pretty good in pass coverage.
Some fans are beginning to chirp about first-year Bucs general manager Mark Dominik. Though one of the nicest guys on the planet, Dominik made some head scratching moves (he even admits he's rolled the dice), three of which appear to be, at best, questionable decisions:
1) Giving Luke McCown a $2.5 million signing bonus then trading him for a fifth round pick.
2) Resigning wide receiver Michael Clayton.
3) Trading a second round pick and signing to a significant raise, tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr.
Give us a scouting report on Josh Johnson and tell us why he's getting the snaps rather than No. 1 draft pick Josh Freeman.
There's not much of a scouting report to give on Johnson because he has had limited snaps in both training camp and preseason games. He made his regular season debut against the Giants and seemed to move the offense (he had a touchdown dropped by Clayton -- now there's a shock) until the Giants started coming after him with blitzes and the drive stalled.
Johnson was drafted by Jon Gruden for a west coast offense so he's still trying to adjust to a running/throw deep offense. He's athletic but from all sources his greatest attribute is his intelligence. He even suggested to Gruden key play calls last year as a fourth-string rookie which proved to work. Johnson apparently is well-liked by just about everyone but he's very much an open book.
[caption id="attachment_1819" align="alignright" width="211" caption="Josh Freeman"][/caption]
Interestingly, Morris referred to Johnson as a "career backup" just before the season. Now he's a starter. Go figure.
Simply put, the Bucs have many more glaring problems than Byron Leftwich at quarterback.
Freeman simply isn't ready and there's no need to throw this guy to the wolves and ruin him. Drafting him was, to be polite, controversial. There was nothing that he did at Kansas State to suggest he was a first round pick. He had a losing record at Kansas State and he threw for a 58 percent completion percentage against the Swiss cheese defenses of the Big XII. As scouts and coaches far too often do, they fall in love with how a guy looks in workouts and overlook the player's body of work on the football field.
The kid is really nice, has a strong arm, is smooth and has wheels. Oh, and he is huge. Winslow called him the black Ben Roethlisberger. There's a reason the coaching staff and front office don't want to play Freeman (yet). He's raw. Best guess is he starts after the bye. If Johnson plays well and pulls out a couple of wins, Freeman may not get on the field until next year.
--How is Raheem Morris being received by the fans? We?re read some items about him publically calling out some players such as Kellen Winslow; does he have the coaching chops to be able to do that in the long term?
Morris was on his way to being a fan favorite until the Giants game. A lot of fans have already turned on him, but they are not belligerent about it (yet). Generally, fans love his candor and enthusiasm.
[caption id="attachment_1821" align="alignleft" width="198" caption="Raheem Morris"][/caption]
Morris was likely set up in a no-win situation. People try to compare him to his friend Mike Tomlin which is grossly unfair. Tomlin inherited a loaded team one year removed from a Super Bowl title. Morris inherited a team pretty much void of talent in critical areas and very much on the decline.
There is no question that Morris' career as the Bucs head coach will sink or swim based on how Freeman develops. Morris went out on a limb to draft the kid. If he fails, Morris will very likely pay the price.
Give us one player on each side of the ball who we?ve probably never heard of who could make an eye-opening play on Sunday?
Sammy Stroughter on offense. The rookie wide receiver was a total steal in the seventh round. His personal story is humbling. He was a highly-coveted prospect as a junior at Oregon State but suddenly developed a severe case of depression where he nearly lost everything (including his life). As a result, his stats plummeted his senior year and his depression likely scared off a lot of teams.
Now with his depression medically in check and healthy, he has done nothing but impress the Bucs front office and coaching staff. He is the No. 3 receiver and starts when Antonio Bryant cannot.
Another player on offense who very likely is the Bucs best player is left tackle Donald Penn who dominated DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora in two of the Bucs first three games. Ware had four tackles no assists and no sacks. Penn owned Umenyiora who didn't register anything (no tackles, no assists, no sacks).
Defense might be linebacker Geno Hayes, who is sort of a legacy. As a boy, Hayes grew up loving Derrick Brooks so much that he chose to attend Brooks' alma mater Florida State. Hayes played so well, he got permission from the school (and Brooks) to wear Brooks' old Seminoles No. 10.
When the Bucs drafted Hayes, Brooks took him under his wing and to this day the two are tight and Brooks still mentors him, like a surrogate coach even though Brooks, obviously, is no longer with the Bucs.
--Finally, give us a quick game prediction.
This is a tough one because there's no telling how brutal both teams are. Seems as though the Redskins are having trouble stopping the run and that is supposed to be the Bucs' strength. But the Bucs defense is miserable beyond words and the Redskins clearly have weapons, even if Clinton Portis doesn't play.
Besides, the Redskins still have something to play for. And Jim Zorn likely is looking at a pink slip late Sunday afternoon if he loses. Based on this, Redskins 24, Bucs 17.