When 2007 began most people expected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to improve, but not to the extent that they did by the end of the year. A division championship was an unexpected gift to Buccaneers fans and the franchise. How did it happen?
In hindsight, there are signposts to a successful season. Here is No. 1 in our series of the most significant moments of the 2007 season and how they impacted Tampa Bay’s run to a division championship.
5. CHRIS SIMMS AND PROPRIOCEPTION, JULY 30
Chris Simms started training camp like a rocket. But by day three something was definitely up. He was taking fewer reps in 11-on-11 drills. By Monday of the first week of training camp, we knew what was going on — or at least someone thought they did.
The St. Petersburg Times reported on its Web site that Simms had proprioception, a condition that creates a disconnect between someone’s torso and his limbs (that’s the easy way to explain it).
That day, the Bucs press corps and GM Bruce Allen engaged in a 15-minute verbal fencing match that was one of the highlights of training camp. Allen denied there was anything wrong with Simms besides “general soreness.” He even called the Times reporter in question “Dr. Stroud.”
Simms stayed above it, saying he didn’t know what proprioception was and thanking the press for educating him.
But by the end of the preseason something was up with Simms. He barely played and barely made the roster. By October, he was on injured reserve for a spleen injury (at least that’s what the injury report said).
Simms’ injury left the Bucs without an experienced backup to Jeff Garcia, a role that was eventually filled by Luke McCown, who might have played in 2006 after Simms’ surgery had he stayed healthy.
A couple of weeks ago, Simms said he finally figured out why he wasn’t progressing. A new doctor, with experience with Simms’ type of surgery, told him that muscles around the scar have a tendency to shut down after surgery. That’s what happened to Simms. His muscles weren’t firing in his torso. After a couple of months of basic muscle exercises, Simms said he found himself throwing at a pre-surgery level.
So, what is the definition of proprioception?
"The process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body.”
Muscle contraction, huh? Hmmmm….
Next: “C’mon bro, just sign this one guy for me? Please?.”
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.