Bucsblitz.com's Top 5: Week 2

Davin Joseph (Getty Images)

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 decision to start Brian Griese at quarterback, the status of linebacker Derrick Brooks and the rehab of offensive guard Davin Joseph. Get the scoop right here.

1. Griese in the driver's seat

I said all along after the Bucs re-acquired Brian Griese that at some point this season he would be the starter. I just didn't think it would be Week 2.

The decision to start Griese over Jeff Garcia, at least for this week, becomes the most important move of the week. Turning over your starting quarterback during the second week of the season can be dangerous.

Just ask Bill Belichick.

Sitting Garcia is the right thing to do, if head coach Jon Gruden believes that, as he said Wednesday, that all Garcia needs is some rest for his ailing body. You know he's 38, right? The body's going to ail a good portion of the time.

If case your memory is foggy, here's what you get with Griese. He's a fairly accurate quarterback who was at his best in Gruden's West Coast offense. In fact, two of his best three seasons from an accuracy standpoint were in Tampa Bay. He's not terribly mobile but feels pressure pretty well. And he's prone to interceptions, and in fact they can be poorly timed. He threw three for touchdowns while with the Bucs in 2004.

Griese languished in Chicago's offensive system, so getting back to Gruden's scheme is welcome. He received plenty of reps in training camp, thanks to Garcia's injured calf, so he might have more chemistry with Joey Galloway right now than Garcia.

Now, if Griese leads the Bucs to a win on Sunday against Atlanta, does that change the dynamic of Garcia's role on the team? I've always contended Griese was Garcia's heir apparent in the short term. I'm wondering if the ascension will start earlier than I thought.

2. Davin's rehab

I had the chance to talk to right guard Davin Joseph on Monday for an article for Sooners Illustrated. I started by asking him about his knee rehab.

"Well, I really can't get into the details too much right now. But things are going well right now. I'm trying to get back as fast as I can, so I'm excited," he said.

He can't go into details? Maybe I'm just a little suspicious, but I found the response to be a bit odd. Most players will discuss timetables with you by a certain point, and Joseph is into the third week of his rehab.

Perhaps I'm just reading too much into it, but if Joseph's knee rehab drags into October, reporters will have to start asking some questions. I know what mine will be.

3. Will Derrick start?

The speculation over Derrick Brooks' hamstring will only intensify after the long-time pro did not practice on Wednesday.

Now, this is a team with a history of sitting veterans during the week and starting them on Sunday. But this is Derrick Brooks we're talking about, so the rules change a little bit.

Remember — he's started 193 straight games and has never missed a game in his illustrious pro career.

So, will he start on Sunday? My gut tells me that if Brooks was hurt enough to come off the field last Sunday, the injury was serious enough to put his status in doubt for Sunday's game against Atlanta. If he doesn't practice all week, then consider him inactive for Sunday.

What's of greater concern to me was Brooks' backup, Adam Hayward, reportedly suffering from dehydration in a dome last week. For that reason, I think the Bucs will move Cato June to Brooks' weak side position and elevate Quincy Black to start in June's place.

And wasn't that the plan to begin with once Brooks' career was finally done?

4. Third down blues

The Bucs, to me, have always had a reputation for not cashing in on third down.

The trend has already started in 2008.

The Bucs were 2-of-12 on third down last weekend against New Orleans. Even just a couple more third downs might have led to another touchdown, or at least a few more first downs that could have protected a lead.

No matter which quarterback the Bucs have started lately, they've struggled with these third-down conversion. It's not like New Orleans was gangbusters in that department, either — they only converted 5-of-13.

But those three extra conversions probably led the Saints to victory.

That's a difference the Bucs cannot afford to have this season if they expect to fulfill their lofty expectations.

My bold predictions

1. Derrick Brooks won't play. It will be the end of an era.

2. Earnest Graham will get more than the 10 carries he got last week and clear 100 yards for the first time this season.

3. Brian Griese will perform well at quarterback, completing at least 62 percent of his passes and throwing two touchdowns.

4. The Bucs will win, thanks to Graham and a pass defense that will frustrate rookie QB Matt Ryan.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of bucsblitz.com.

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