Tuesday, Dec. 11
Petrino resigns, 11:31 p.m.
Boy, I thought this was going to be a relaxing Tuesday …
Atlanta head coach Bobby Petrino resigned on Tuesday, calling Falcons owner Arthur Blank at 5:30 p.m. to let him know he was taking the Arkansas job.
This is perhaps one of the most no-class moves I’ve seen out of a head coach in a while. I mean, I know Petrino’s tenure has been one of the rockiest in NFL history, but to just up and leave with three games left for a college job a day after you tell the media that the team has find something to rally around? Pretty pathetic on Petrino’s part.
Petrino’s move was so out of the blue, apparently, that the Falcons don’t know who will coach Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.
Talk about gift-wrapping a victory for the Bucs?
Seriously, though, this season has set the franchise back years. The Falcons could be in the dregs of the NFL for a long time and the city doesn’t deserve that.
Stevens suspended, 5:07 p.m.
The NFL handed down a suspension of Bucs tight end Jerramy Stevens today. Here’s the statement from the NFL:
Jerramy Stevens of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been suspended without pay for the team’s next game and fined an additional game check for violating the NFL Substance Abuse Policy.
The suspension begins immediately. Stevens will be eligible to return to the Buccaneers’ active roster on Monday, December 17 following the team’s December 16 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Buccaneers released a statement from general manager Bruce Allen:
“The League office informed us this morning that Jerramy Stevens will be suspended for the Atlanta game this Sunday. When we signed Jerramy this spring, we knew there was a possibility that he could face some type of disciplinary action from the NFL for his prior actions.
“Since he has been with the Buccaneers, Jerramy has been a great teammate and productive player for our team.”
The league is never specific about what triggers such penalties, but Stevens was convicted of DUI in Scottsdale, Ariz., in September, the result of an April arrest before he signed with the Buccaneers. While alcohol is not a banned substance in the NFL, the league can impose penalties in certain instances, according to the league’s policy.
Questions, questions, 1:45 p.m.
The “Bucsblitz Mailbag” is back. I take your questions, either e-mailed to me or off the message board, and answer them. If you’d like to e-mail me a question, PM me at txrangerman.
Q: What about Michael Bennett? Have you ever seen this guy run? He is a bullet. When is he going to play? — Gunner04
A: I’m a bit surprised that Bennett isn’t being more utilized. Certainly, Earnest Graham has done a wonderful job and has received the bulk of the carries as a result. But Bennett is a burner, and on his two plays against the Saints — one rush and one pass — he gained at least 10 yards. I expected him to play more against the Texans because Graham has never had this sort of workload before and needs a little rest. Here’s what Gruden had to say on the subject on Monday:
“We are trying hard,” Gruden said. “As you know, we’ve always tried to be a team that featured two halfbacks at a time. There have been times where we’ve gone with our ‘three halfback at a time’ attack. Right now, we haven’t been able to probe some of those formations. We expect Mike Bennett to pick it up here down the stretch. We need him desperately.”
Translation? Either Gruden doesn’t trust him or Bennett hasn’t make enough progress with the playbook. Bennett’s a sharp guy. I just don’t think Gruden has the comfort level with Bennett that he does with Graham.
Q: Who thinks the Bucs should bump Jerramy Stevens up on the tight end totem poll? I mean he had good numbers with the Seahawks and I think he is a better playmaker than Anthony Becht. Thoughts anyone? — BayCaddy420
A: If you’ve been around the Bucs you know how much Jon Gruden loves tight ends (there are four on the roster right now). Is Stevens being under-utilized? Probably. At 6-foot-6 he’s an inviting target, and based on his touchdown catch against New Orleans, his hands are better than I expected. Becht is definitely the best blocking tight end on the team and is limited as a pass catcher. Alex Smith is a better pass receiver who’s blocking has improved. Stevens falls into the pass-catching tight end category. Again, I think this is a situation where Gruden has to trust the player in order to get increased reps, and Stevens has been in Tampa Bay less than a year. Remember — it took Ike Hilliard three years to work into a prominent role in the wide receiving rotation. Stevens should be used more in the red zone, but I’m not sure if Gruden trusts him enough to do it, touchdown reception or not.
Q: Doug Williams, who was a Buccaneers first round pick and is now with the Bucs front office, is on the early list for the HOF. But why is he in the front office and not on the sidelines? — ThePewterPirate
A: Unfortunately, Williams did not make the semifinal cut for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Certainly, Williams had a key milestone in NFL history as the first black quarterback to be named Super Bowl MVP and is a role model for this generation’s quarterbacks, including Washington’s Jason Campbell, who wears No. 17 in honor of Williams. Unfortunately, on numbers, Williams probably will not get into the Hall of Fame. I see him, potentially, as a selection by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, but he must exhaust his 15 years of eligibility first.
As for coaching, to my knowledge Williams has not expressed an interest since he left Grambling State as their coach. He hasn’t expressed an interest in being a general manager, either, though the NFL could use more minorities in the general manager ranks and Williams would be a good candidate. I see him with his kid after most homes games on Sunday and something tells me he’s settled into the area that first embraced him as a pro.
On the heels of a question, 1:40 p.m.
Seems Michael Bennett is feeling the same way as some of our users. He’s wondering why he’s not getting carries, either, if this article is any indication. Read more at Tampabay.com.
The missing link, 1:35 a.m.
Judging by the past three games, Jon Gruden misses Jeff Garcia. Specifically, he missed the veteran quarterback’s ability to get rid of the football in a bad situation, something Luke McCown hasn’t mastered yet. Read more at TBO.com.