Sunday, Oct. 14
Bucs make bold move, 1:02 a.m.
Just learned the Buccaneers have signed Lionel Gates from the practice squad and released Kenneth Darby. This is a pretty bold move by the Buccaneers on the eve of a game against the league's No. 3 run defense in Tennessee. It's hard to say why the Bucs are making this move now. The best I can figure is that Darby wasn't grasping the game plan and Gates was — or that Darby was making some mistakes in practice and the Bucs felt Gates might be more reliable.
Friday, Oct. 12
Final injury update, 6:30 p.m.
Here is the injury report for Friday: Buccaneers: Out — RB Michael Pittman (ankle); Doubtful — CB Brian Kelly (groin); Questionable — WR Ike Hilliard (shoulder), LB Barrett Ruud (knee), DE Greg White (shoulder). Titans: Questionable — WR Brandon Jones (knee); Probable — DE Albert Haynesworth (ankle), DE Sean Conover (ankle).
Pittman, Kelly and Jones did not practice.
Pittman scoots around, 11:04 a.m.
Michael Pittman is riding around on a scooter to rest his sprained ankle. It’s a funny sight, especially when he wheels into a Publix Supermarket.
To find out more about Pittman his ankle, including why he thought his season was over after it happened, go read my premium piece at Bucsblitz.com.
Get the inside skinny on Sunday, 11:00 a.m.
Our “Behind Enemy Lines” series for this Sunday’s game began Friday morning, as Titansinsiders.net’s Jimmy Morris answered my questions about the Titans. Friday night you can read my answers to Jimmy’s questions.
For now, you can find Part I of this premium series at Bucsblitz.com.
What about Joey?, 10:55 a.m.
If you’re wondering where Joey Galloway has been, he’s been on the field — he just hasn’t had the impact he had against New Orleans and St. Louis. But Jon Gruden said Thursday that he expects Galloway to be a big part of the game plan, according to the Tampa Tribune.
What about Joey?, 10:55 a.m.
Jon Gruden could probably go on for hours about the impact that Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia has had on this football team. But there’s a stark difference between Garcia’s play this season and all of the Bucs’ quarterbacks from last season. Interceptions, in that Garcia hasn’t thrown one in five games. Find out why in this article in the St. Petersburg Times.
Updated injury report,5:02 p.m.
Here is today’s updated injury report:
Bucs: CB Brian Kelly (groin) did not practice. WR Ike Hilliard (ankle) was limited. LB Barrett Ruud (knee) and DE Greg White (shoulder) practiced without limitations.
Titans: DT Albert Haynesworth (ankle) and WR Brandon Jones (knee) did not practice.
I said the same thing yesterday: If Haynesworth does not play or is limited on Sunday, that’s a big blow to the Titans run defense.
Thursday, Oct. 11
Pittman’s new ride,12:12 p.m.
Injured running back Michael Pittman spoke to the media today — on a scooter. Yes, the incredibly well-conditioned back rode into the locker room decked out on one of those mobility scooters you’ve seen advertised on late-night TV. It had his number on the back and a Bucs foam finger on the antenna. His right ankle is in a hard cast, but that comes off Monday.
And Pittman hopes days on the scooter are numbererd, too.
“I won’t be riding this thing when I’m on the field (on Sunday),” Pittman said. “I want to put this in the closet as soon as possible.”
A possible blueprint,10:46 a.m.
Reporter Roy Cummings picked new back Zack Crockett’s brain for an article on the desperate times the Bucs face thanks to injuries. But Crockett offered hope — he played on a Colts team in 1996 that went down to its third quarterback and third running back that season and still made the playoffs. Find out more in this piece in the Tampa Tribune.
More on Simms,10:42 a.m.
Columnist John Romano used some strong language on Thursday to describe how the Buccaneers treated the issue of Chris Simms the past few months (words like charade and deceive), but he focused his energy more on trying to figure out if Simms still has a place in Tampa Bay in his latest column for the St. Petersburg Times.
Closing the book on Simms for 2007,10:40 a.m.
Reporter Stephen Holder brought up an interesting point about Chris Simms’ move to injured reserve. The team had steadfastly said for three months that Simms was healthy, but on Tuesday announced his season would be over. Plus, on the NFL’s current injury report Simms’ reason for being placed on IR is listed as “spleen.” So how is it that Simms is eligible? Holder illuminates how teams make their case to put a player on IR in this piece from the St. Petersburg Times.
Breaking down Crockett,10:32 a.m.
I took some time yesterday to break down Zack Crockett’s career — especially under Gruden in Oakland — and how he might be used in Tampa Bay in this premium piece at at Bucsblitz.com.
Wednesday, Oct. 10
Gruden Speaks, 5:59 p.m.
Jon Gruden spoke about Zach Crockett, Chris Simms, Albert Haynesworth and Vince Young, among other subjects, during his post-practice news conference on Wednesday.
He also updated injuries (featured in an earlier blog entry). Brian Kelly is still battling that groin injury. It’s turning into one of those injuries that could limit him all season.
You can read Gruden’s entire press conference transcript every time he speaks at Bucsblitz.com in this premium feature. See what else he had to say today.
Injury report, 5:12 p.m.
For Tampa Bay, RB Michael Pittman (ankle) is out. CB Brian Kelly (groin) did not participate in practice. LB Barrett Ruud (knee), DE Greg White (shoulder) and WR Joey Galloway (team decision) had limited participation in practice. WR Ike Hilliard (ankle) participated fully in practice.
For Tennessee, DE Albert Haynesworth (ankle), WR Brandon Jones (knee) and G Benji Olson (team decision) did not practice.
It’s a good sign that White participated at all today. As for Haynesworth, if he can’t go on Sunday that would be a big blow to Tennessee’s defense. The unit performs at a higher level when he’s in the lineup.
Crockett in, 2:13 p.m.
It's not a sexy move signing Zach Crockett. That would have constituted going out and making a trade.
But it's a solid signing. Crockett is a good goal-line and short-yardage back that knows Jon Gruden's intricate system pretty well, making his learning curve on the terminology less severe.
I might have preferred Kevan Barlow. Actually, I would have preferred the Bucs sign both backs. It certainly would have increased the options.
I'll have more later on Crockett.
Tampa Bay worked out nine players on Tuesday in anticipation of signing a player after the team announced Tuesday it would move Chris Simms to injured reserve.
Who will get the contract? Well, we can’t tell you that, at least not yet. But we can tell you, through a league source, who the nine tryouts were. Find out who they are by linking to this Bucsblitz.com premium piece.
Tuesday, Oct. 9
Simms to IR, 5:30 p.m.
RB drama to continue a little longer, 6:40 p.m.
Well, I thought it was going to be a trade. I’d say most people thought it was going to be a trade.
But Bucs GM Bruce Allen said moving Chris Simms to injured reserve would allow the team to sign a player on Wednesday. He wouldn’t say it, but it will likely be a ball carrier.
He also poo-pooed the idea of a trade. If we find out who the Bucs brought in today for workouts, we’ll let you know.
Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen just announced that the Buccaneers are going to put Chris Simms on IR tomorrow.
What about the trade?
Announcement is coming, 4:57 p.m.
Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen will have a conference call at 5:30 p.m. today to announce a roster move. It will likely be regarding a trade.
I’ve heard no concrete rumors about who this might involve, so I’m going to guess that it’s Detroit’s Tatum Bell. He’s expendable now that Kevin Jones is healthy and is unhappy with his role in Detroit.
We’ll see in about 30 minutes.
The rumors begin to swirl, 3:10 p.m.
If you read my “Observation Deck” piece on trading for a running back, then you know the reasons why the Bucs might be interested in a certain Jacksonville backup. But two other names have emerged today — Detroit’s Tatum Bell and the New York Giants’ Reuben Droughs. But don’t expect retired back Tiki Barber to ride to Tampa Bay’s rescue, says this blog entry from TBO.com.
Checking out RB options, 9:51 a.m.
The free agency market looks pretty bare. So what are the Bucs to do about their running back woes? The likelihood of a trade is almost a mortal lock. But what back should the Bucs go for? In my latest view from the “Observation Deck,” I put together a list of seven running backs that the Bucs could trade for — if they offer the right price. Some are names you’ve heard, but there a couple of guys you might not think of immediately, and both are AFC South backups. Get the view at in this Bucsblitz.com premium piece.
Bad news for Bucs, 9:48 a.m.
We all know how dynamic a performer Tennessee quarterback Vince Young is. Well, apparently the second-year pro has already developed a habit of following up dismal performances — such as his three-interception outing against Atlanta last Sunday — with great ones. Explore the phenomenon through this article at. Tennesseean.com.
To trade or not to trade, 9:44 a.m.
St. Petersburg Times columnist John Romano said the current running back situation isn’t a question of need — it’s a question of value. How much should the Buccaneers sacrifice to acquire a back that can help them now, but may offer little help in the future? It’s a smart question that Romano explores in this column at Tampabay.com.
Taking stock of trade options, 9:42 a.m.
Earlier you read my column on the possible trade candidates for the Bucs. The Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings took the opposite approach, and it’s a good one. He explored the assets the Bucs have on their roster — you know, the ones that might be traded to get that running back? Read his analysis at TBO.com.
Looking for RBs everywhere, 9:40 a.m.
How far will the Buccaneers go to find a running back to replace Michael Pittman. Well, the Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly has a suggestion — linebacker Barrett Ruud. He played some fullback in high school. Read more in this article I found at Tbo.com.
Monday, Oct. 8
The view from the Observation Deck, 2:15 p.m.
My Observation Deck review of Sunday’s loss is up. Find out why the Colts dominated the Bucs, my post-game awards and disappointments and the temperature on Jon Gruden’s hot seat in this Bucsblitz.com premium piece.
Others to monitor, 2 p.m.
Three other players to monitor this week:
Cornerback Brian Kelly aggravated his groin injury and did not finish the Indianapolis game:
Wide receiver Ike Hilliard was “banged up” on Monday, but didn’t elaborate’
Defensive end Greg White has a shoulder injury, the extent of which is not know.
Gruden, Bucs will look for help, 1 p.m.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden made it pretty clear the Buccaneers are going to look for a third back via trade or free agency.
“I think we’re going to go for it,” Gruden said. “You have to have somebody that is a willing partner and sometimes that’s easier said than done.”
I would expect Tampa Bay to make a move within the next 72 hours. The trade deadline is on Oct. 16, which gives them only eight days to make a deal. The Bucs’ 3-2 record — and the relative state of mediocrity in the NFC South this season — pretty much demands that the Bucs make a move. Plus, I don’t think the Bucs want Kenneth Darby one heartbeat away from the starting role.
Do you want more from Gruden? Check out our premium feature, the Jon Gruden transcript. Everything Gruden said on Monday is included.
Graham ready to welcome new back, 12:10 p.m.
New starting running back Earnest Graham said that he fully expects the Bucs to go out and find a running back to back up he and Kenneth Darby, the only two running backs on the active roster.
“We’re the only two backs here,” Graham said. “I’m sure they’re going to get somebody. We need depth.”
One name that is going to come up immediately is San Diego backup Michael Turner, coming off a big game against Denver. Turner would likely cost the Bucs a second-round pick, and he’s a free agent after this season. Rentals like that in the NFL are pretty rare.
Pittman could be out 6-8 weeks, 11:20 a.m.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden didn’t go into specifics, but he indicated that Michael Pittman’s sprained ankle could keep him out as long as 6-8 weeks.
Pittman is undergoing more tests today. Gruden did not say if doctors had detected a crack or break in his fibula, as some news outlets had reported after Sunday’s game.
Gruden said the team will be looking to shore up the running game and that just about anything to improve that area will be on the table.
The Bucs rushed for just 17 yards on Sunday against Indianapolis.
Pittman’s injury appears serious, 10:30 a.m.
Running back Michael Pittman has a small crack in his fibula, according to sources quoted at TBO.com. You can read the entire blog entry here. Head coach Jon Gruden told the media after the game that it was a sprained ankle. Either way, it sounds serious enough to keep Pittman out of the lineup for a few weeks.
Allen gets out his Rolodex, 10:15 a.m.
Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson writes that Sunday’s loss will have a big impact on the Buccaneers — as in, what they may have to give up to get a running back that can take the place of Carnell Williams AND Michael Pittman. exposed some big flaws in the Buccaneers. Those flaws include the running game and the pass rush.
Running game woes, 10:12 a.m.
There’s a big reason the Buccaneers lost on Sunday and it turned out to be something that had been a strength — their running game. In my postgame article, I dig inside the numbers and show why the Bucs gained just 17 yards on the ground.
Death by Manning, 10:10 a.m.
You can’t go 15 minutes during a football game without seeing Peyton Manning — whether he’s actually playing or not. As St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton writes, perhaps it’s time for Manning to get into endorsing Ginsu knives or a veg-a-matic, because he sliced and diced the Buccaneers on Sunday.
A key drive wasted, 10:05 a.m.
Tampa Bay had a chance to stop the Colts from breaking the game open to start the third quarter on Sunday. But as Dave Scheiber of the St. Pete Times writes, the Colts used a 77-yard touchdown drive as a dagger that killed the Bucs’ hopes of making it a ball game.