Gameday: Titans at Bucs
Matt Bryant (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Matt Bryant (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
bucsblitz@mac.com
Posted Oct 13, 2007


Sunday’s game between Tampa Bay and Tennessee is just hours away. Get ready for the game with Bucsblitz.com’s “Bucs Primer,” the most complete preview package for the Buccaneers on the Web each week (P-Denotes premium story that can only be accessed with a Bucsblitz.com subscription).

Need to get ready for the game? Look no further than Bucsblitz.com’s “Bucs Primer.” Along with a game capsule, the Primer also provides links to all of Bucsblitz.com’s coverage leading up to the game. So before the capsule, here’s a look at our complete package of stories this week:

Postscripts blog

This is where you can find story links, breaking news, my thoughts, the odds and ends that don’t fit into stories and injury updates throughout the week. Here’s the link.

Monday

Observation Deck: Bucs-Colts review (P).

Jon Gruden’s day-after press conference (P).

Bucs-Colts chat wrap.

Tuesday

Observation Deck: Speculating on RB help (P)

First Look: Tennessee (P)

Bucs to move Simms to IR

Wednesday

Bucs try out nine players on Tuesday (P)

Film Session: Bucs at Colts (P)

Bucs sign Crockett, move Simms to IR.

Jon Gruden’s Wednesday post-practice transcript (P).

Observation Deck: Crockett’s impact (P).

Press Pass: Bucs LB Barrett Ruud (P).

Thursday

Press Pass: Jeff Garcia (P).

Press Pass: Jeff Fisher, Titans head coach (P).

Press Pass: Derrick Brooks (P).

Bucs’ Graham ready for his audition.

Friday

Pittman vows to be back early (P).

Behind Enemy Lines, Part I: Insider analysis on Sunday’s game (P).

Fantasy Bucs — Week 6.

Haynesworth taking a big leap this season (P).

Saturday

Observation Deck: Bucs-Titans Preview (P).

Behind Enemy Lines, Part II (P).

Titans QB Young a new breed of dangerous (P).

Askew wouldn’t mind a few carries.

BucsBlitz.com’s Matthew Postins will blog during Sunday’s game from Raymond James Stadium, followed by a post-game chat at 10 p.m. in the Bucsblitz.com chat room.

Also, as a premium subscriber, you can now access Matthew Postins’ appearances on the Scot Brantley show on WHBO 1490, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg. Postins appears with Brantley on a weekly basis to talk about the Bucs. His last two appearances can be found in the audio section at Bucsblitz.com.

Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

SURFACE: Grass

TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

PREDICTION: Bucs 17, Titans 13 (Matthew Postins).

SERIES: 9th meeting. Titans lead the series, 7-1, and have won the last five in a row, including a 33-13 win in their regular-season finale in 2003, when Neil O'Donnell rejoined the team to play in place of the Titans' two injured QBs, Steve McNair and Billy Volek.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Titans QB Vince Young is coming off a three-interception performance, and must to a better job reading zone defense in going up against the Bucs' Cover-2 scheme. But the real key to the offense is RBs LenDale White and Chris Brown -- the Titans are converting 68 percent of their third-downs when they have less than five yards to go. ... With the running game ransacked by injuries the past two weeks, leaving third-stringer Earnest Graham as the starter, the Bucs will put even more of the offense on the arm of QB Jeff Garcia. He has yet to throw an interception this season, but he now has very little threat of a running game behind him and the Bucs' young left side of the offensive line has to cope with the tandem of Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and DT Albert Haynesworth.

KEY INJURIES: Titans: Haynesworth (ankle) and WR Brandon Jones (knee) are expected to play. Bucs: RB Michael Pittman (high ankle sprain) is out 6-8 weeks; CB Brian Kelly (groin) aggravated his injury and is doubtful; MLB Barrett Ruud (knee) has been limited in practice.

FAST FACTS: Young has a 90.9 passer rating in the fourth quarter this season. ... Graham has three career rushing touchdowns -- all in the past three games.

PERSONNEL NEWS:

Titans

WR Brandon Jones missed practice for the second day in a row Thursday with a knee injury suffered against Atlanta. If he's limited or cannot play, Justin Gage will get additional work.

DT Albert Haynesworth (ankle) was out for the second day in a row Thursday but is expected to be good to go Sunday. Tampa Bay rookie guard Arron Sears is likely to get a lot of help slowing Haynesworth down.

PR Chris Davis is ninth in the NFL with an 11.3-yard punt return average and has been pretty consistent considering his long so far is 28 yards.

K Rob Bironas has missed a second-half field goal two games in a row that would have provided the Titans with a bigger cushion. Those are his only two misses in nine attempts this season.

Bucs

CB Brian Kelly did not practice Thursday due to an aggravated groin injury and is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Titans.

LB Ryan Nece took some reps with the starting defense at middle linebacker as a precaution if Barrett Ruud is unable to play.

LB Jeremiah Trotter could be active for Sunday's game against the Titans. Trotter has been inactive every game since joining the Bucs.

WR Ike Hilliard returned to practice on a limited basis with a shoulder injury. He is expected to play on Sunday against the Titans.

DE Greg White returned to practice Thursday despite a shoulder injury and was limited. He's expected to play against the Titans.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Titans

Over the last 16 regular season games, no team in the NFL has more return touchdowns than Tennessee.

In that span, the Titans have four interception returns, three fumble returns and three punt returns for scores. That total of 10 tops the Chicago Bears, who have nine, and the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills, who each have eight.

"Every time we get a turnover or get our hands on the ball, out first thought on defense is to score," said nickel back Vincent Fuller, who has had an interception return for a touchdown in each of the past two games. "The offense isn't used to tackling and the defense is used to running and hitting people.

"As soon as the ball is in your hands, everybody else tries to find a block and you just try to get to the end zone as quickly as possible."

The Titans don't have a special teams score yet this season, but are 3-1 despite some concerns about the loss of dynamic return man Pacman Jones to a one-year league suspension.

Rookie punt returner Chris Davis has a solid 11.3-yard average and a long of 28 yards while rookie kick returner Michael Griffin has a 25.8-yard average and a long of 48 yards.

Buccaneers

Linebacker Barrett Ruud may be nursing a sore knee for the rest of the season.

Ruud suffered a knee sprain in training camp and it caused him to miss practice time Wednesday. But the club's leading tackler returned to work Thursday and says he expects to play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

"It's been lingering for awhile," Ruud said. "I kind of did it in training camp and it's lingered for awhile. I'll play."

Bucs coach Jon Gruden indicated Ruud likely won't be completely healed by Sunday.

"You know how it is this time of year," Gruden said. "I don't know how the guys do it. I wasn't an NFL player, I wasn't even a good college player. I never got sore or tired because I never got to play.

"These guys all are nursing something. When you're a middle linebacker, you're going to have issues. He's got his own issues. I don't think it's going to keep him out of the game but it certainly limited him (Wednesday) and he may be sore a little bit (Friday) and heading into the game, too.”


Related Stories
Observation Deck: Bucs-Titans preview
 -by BucsBlitz.com  Oct 13, 2007
NFL Draft Spotlight: RB Kevin Smith
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Oct 13, 2007
Gameday: Titans vs. Bucs
 -by TitansInsiders.com  Oct 13, 2007

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