Each week Bucsblitz.com’s Matthew Postins will analyze the top five issues facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that week. In this opening edition, Postins analyzes the Bucs’ player moves, including Eugene Wilson, Sean Mahan and Dan Buenning, along with why the Bucs might be worried just a bit about WR Joey Galloway. Get the scoop right here.
PK Matt Bryant missed five field goals in the preseason, but made his last three attempts in the final preseason game at Houston.
"I'm very confident in him," coach Jon Gruden said. "Again, I'm not disappointed in his inability to make a few of those kicks. I'm more shocked than anything because I've seen him be dead on for so long. I'm going to be very confident in him. Hopefully, a couple misses are good for him. You know you're not perfect and you've got to maintain your stroke and you've got to be focused and ready to go.
"I think he went weeks without missing a field goal from any hashmark tha=
t we challenged him from. He missed four or five in the preseason which is shocking, but he did make his last three and I think that will help."
TALKING TRADES: Gruden talked about the three-way trade that sent C Dan Buenning to the Chicago Bears for a draft pick they used to acquire Steelers C/G Sean Mahan.
"I wish Dan the best," Gruden said. "He laid it on the line for us and he'll do a good job as a man and as a Bear. I just think Sean Mahan comes in here with playing experience at the center position, at each guard position. Given our situation at this point in time, a veteran leader, a proven signal caller helps us."
Mahan, who started 16 games for the Steelers last season, says he is improved over his first stint with the Bucs.
"I'm a better player than I was when I left here," Mahan said.
BENNETT WONDERS ABOUT PLAYING TIME: RB Michael Bennett was the Bucs leading rushing in preseason, but he might not be active against the Saints. The Bucs will go with Earnest Graham, Warrick Dunn and fullbacks B.J. Askew and Byron Storer.
CAPTAINS: The Bucs captains are QB Jeff Garcia, C Jeff Faine, LB Derrick Brooks, CB Ronde Barber, DT Chris Hovan and S Will Allen.
DUNN HAS THE QUICKS: Warrick Dunn may be 33, but he looks as quick an elusive as ever to Bucs LB Derrick Brooks.
"He looks just as quick," Brooks said. "I think he's been challenged more mentally learning Jon's offense and that's been good for him to get his juices flowing again because he felt anxious every day he had to learn something new and get caught up."
BY THE NUMBERS: 501. That's the number of receiving yards WR Joey Galloway has in his last four games against the Saints. He has 19 catches, including five touchdowns.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I feel like the zookeeper, too. No disrespect to the zookeepers out there." -- Bucs coach Jon Gruden.
PLAYER NOTES: WR Antonio Bryant won the No. 2 spot behind Joey Galloway, beating out Michael Clayton, the Bucs former first-round pick. All three receivers are battling injuries however, so it's hard to know which WRs won't dress for Sunday's game. Clayton, Maurice Stovall and rookie Dexter Jackson are key special teams contributors.
WR Dexter Jackson is expected to be used for both punt return and kickoff return duties.
G Jeremy Zuttah, a third-round pick from Rutgers, took the first-team reps at right guard with Davin Joseph out with a broken foot.
C Jeff Faine, who was signed as a free agent, will open the regular season against his former team.
QB Brian Griese is expected to be the No. 2 behind starter Jeff Garcia and ahead of Luke McCown and rookie Josh Johnson.
RB Michael Bennett says he has not been a big part of the game plan in practice and believes he could be inactive for Sunday's game against the Saints.