Chalk Talk with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

I was in a deep slumber last week when my phone rang.  It was about 10 am and I was resting comfortably on my couch, trying to pretend the Orlando Magic meltdown the night before never happened.

 

The Commish was on the other end of the phone.  He had landed tickets to a special Buccaneers function and invited me to attend.  New head coach Raheem Morris would be speaking and the event would certainly be worth writing about.  Little did I know there would also be cheerleaders there.

 

Chalk Talk with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is an annual luncheon held by the team which gives fans a chance to meet players and personnel.  It’s kind of like the team’s State of the Union address.  This year’s function was held at the Hyatt Downtown.

 

With all the off-season moves and acquisitions, a buzz surrounds these Buccaneers, as evidenced by the turnout.  There were several hundred media members, fans, businesspeople and elected officials in attendance.  Oh, and did I mention there were cheerleaders?cheerleaders1

 

As eager fans filtered into the room, the Commish tried to take some pictures of yours truly engulfed by four Swashbucklers.  Of course, neither photo came out due to a glare in the hallway.  Fortunately, a passerby who we knew happened to take a picture from the backside.  As you can see, Swashbucklers look good from all angles. 

 

The luncheon began after a brief autograph and meet-and-greet session.  To the right of the podium in front of the room sat Bucs G.M. Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris.  To the left, DT Chris Hovan and rookie QB Josh Freeman.  They all met a rousing ovation, after which they fielded questions from the audience.

 

As expected, this Bucs regime will be big on character.  Both Morris and Dominik stressed the importance of giving back to the community and filling their roster with mentally tough players, responsible guys who “play above the neck.”  Coach Morris promptly rejected the ‘rebuilding’ label, saying it was disrespectful to men like Hovan, Gaines Adams and others the team had already built around.

 

When asked whether he had selected his starting quarterback, Coach Morris said that answer will be determined on the playing field.  Nobody has been ruled out which means Josh Freeman might actually have a chance to edge out the veterans he’s competing against in Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson and Luke McCown.

 

freeman

Morris’ faith in Freeman as their QB of the future is robust.  Freeman, the 17th pick of this year’s draft, has found invaluable advice from another famous 17th pick for the Bucs back in 1978: Doug Williams.  Freeman could find a worse mentor.  The Bucs hold lofty expectations for the rookie, mentioning him in the same breath as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.  That might be a little premature, but it shows the belief they have in their top prospect.  Freeman remained humble throughout and looked like a kid in a library for the first time, continuously soaking up all the knowledge he can.

 

Coach Morris looks forward to implementing a three-back system (Williams, Graham, Ward) and has promised the new look Bucs will “bash, bash and bash some more” in 2009.  For a Buccaneer team that ranked near the middle of the NFL in rushing yards and yards per attempt last year, a successful ground game will make things easier for whomever they decide to put behind center.

 

There was also the inevitable mention of Derrick Brooks.  Morris reiterated that his most difficult day on the job came when he had to release the Buccaneer legend.  He stated there would always be a home for Brooks within the organization.  It is still unclear whether Brooks will retire as he hasn’t signed with another team yet.  Brooks was drafted back in 1995 and played all fourteen years for the Bucs, never missing a game.  He was selected to eleven Pro Bowls.

 

To a chorus of hisses, one spectator asked whether the Bucs had any interest in signing Michael Vick.  Dominik fielded the question professionally, answering that the Bucs will always do their due diligence when it comes to any acquisition that has the potential to improve the team.  He concluded the Bucs had no interest in Vick and that Josh Freeman is their quarterback of the future.  His response was followed by a roomful of applause.

 

The future looks bright for this Buccaneers franchise but of course they’re still in honeymoon mode.  They haven’t lost any games yet.  Coach Morris’ smile is infectious and so is his work ethic.  The Bucs will look to win and win now with no excuses.  Early reports from training camp indicate the revamped roster is buying into Morris’ philosophy.  We’ll see if that translates into wins on the gridiron.

29 thoughts on “Chalk Talk with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  1. I promised the Commish a hefty campaign contribution if he botched the photo shoot.

  2. Hey Chump nice view of the cheerleaders I know that was the whole purposes of the t rip dude.

  3. Maybe the Bucs have a great QB coach to help Leftwich? He definitely needs some help from “the neck up”.

    I watched/cringed his whole tenure in Jax. He has one speed on his passes…Nolan Ryan. Also likes to throw that fastball at the receiver’s feet, or four feet over their heads.

    A running game would be his best friend.

  4. RTP…. Actually, the Plax talk hadn’t quite heated up yet at that point.

    There’s also been rumors of the Bucs being interested in Brandon Marshall.

    Personally, I’d be surprised if the Bucs made a move for either of these guys.

    Morris and Dominik have placed their personal imprint on this franchise and it’s one of character. I’m not sure they’d upset the applecart to bring one of these WRs in.

  5. Han… Most of Tampa is looking forward to seeing what this Buccaneers team has to offer.

    The Leftwich pick up made sense. Worst case scenario is that he’ll keep all other quarterbacks competing for the position honest.

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he takes the first snap of the season. After all, he is the QB on the roster with the most game experience. It’ll just be up to him to keep that spot.

    This team will start from the basics. I expect them to be atop the NFL this year in rushing attempts and as you mentioned, that’ll help the passing game quite a bit.

  6. The Bucs look like the worst team in the NFC South…on paper. But in that division, never say never. Seems like the four teams in that div take turns winning it year to year.

    It will be interesting to see if the Falcons were a one year wonder last year. Gonzalez is still a beast. Probably the best offseason pick up in that division.

  7. Very true, Gene.

    Vegas list New Orleans, Carolina and Atlanta as close to odds on favorites to win the division while the Bucs come in at just over 5:1. But then again this division is known for it’s worst to first tradition.

    Let’s hope that holds true once again.

  8. Chris …aka sportschump ..
    The way I view it overall for the Bucs this season. It’s that between Leftwich and McCown they’ll decide who’s the better option. But as the season progresses things are liable to change. For all sense and purpose Griese appears to be odd man out. And he’ll more likely be cut. As for Josh Johnson that appears to be a none starter from the get-go. If Freeman is to be their guy of the future. Then he’d better all that they hope him to be and a great deal more. Cause at this juncture … talk is cheap ! And that’s all we’ve been hearing from both Dominik and Morris. Once the reality of the situation sets in. There’ll be nowhere for the both of them to hide at all !

    Alan ………………

  9. Chris aka sportschump ……….

    For all sense and purpose I’ve dropped the golf from my viewing schedule. Tiger’s got too much to do and with the inclement weather conditions. It won’t at all make his task any easier. So whomever wins I doubt that their fifteen minutes of fame’ll last all that long.

    And with Wimbledon just around the corner here’s a piece I just placed up within the site.

    Anyone For Tennis ….?

    And this my piece on the ongoing Brett Favre saga with the Vikings.

    Well It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking And Giving …Well It Is You’re A Favre Fan ……………

    Alan …………..

  10. I’ll check out the tennis post in a bit, Al.

    I wonder what sort of growing pains Morris and his staff will have. Tomlin didn’t seem to have any.

    I can easily see Leftwich nailing down that starting spot but anything can happen.

  11. Chris aka sportschump …

    One tends to overlook the continuity that there is within the Steelers’ organization. And rarely have they gone outside their realm in order to make a coaching decision.
    Hence the reason why Tomlin’s job has been made somewhat simple.

    And as much as they both appear to be like minded. He (Morris) and Tomlin seem to be light years apart in terms of their overall coaching philosophy.

    I do believe we’ll see growing pains for this Bucs’ team on all sides . From the coaching staff with Bates’ defensive options coming into play. And less we forget we’ve also got a fresh new offensive coordinator in Jeff Jagodzinski handling the options there. So basically it’s a whole ball of wax for the team altogether.

    Players and coaches’ll be learning from each as to likes , dislikes and practically everything concerning the game.

    I see the Yankees’ll be allegedly stitting A-Roid for a few games ? Supposedly Girardi sees it as a way of keeping the player fresh. LOL, LOL ,LOL !!!! How ’bout the fact that the boli that his Papi Chulo gave him weaked havoc with his body ……. i.e his hip ?

    This guy is softer than a virgin’s ….. #ymen ! I think you get the picture ? As I didn’t want to use the word directly as to open you up to public scrutiny and censorship.

    If you’re a closeted NASCAR fan then you’ll love this piece within the site.

    We Know Our Fan And Our Fans Know Us : Oh Really ?

    Check it out and let me know what you think ?

    Alan ……….

  12. NASCAR? Me? Is that the sport where the cars go fast?

    And any true Red Sox fan must crack on the pinstripes every so often. It’s in our nature.

  13. Chris aka sportschump ….

    Come on now not all of the NASCAR guys are mono-syllabic tools. It only looks that way when they’re unable to conjugate a sentence. Is it any wonder Kyle Busch has to channel his inner Keith Moon to give the appearance of being tough ?

    As for the Sox fans they’re riding high and with good reason as they’re by far the best team in the AL and quite possibly all of baseball at present given their current record.

    Here’s my take on the US Open .

    Lucas Who ?

    I think you’ll find this link on with regard to the video montage of Katie Price aka Jordan quite rivetting .

    Katie Price video pic montage …….

    And check out Vida Guerra’s video pics.

    Vida Guerra Celebrity Slideshow pics ………..

    Alan ………….

  14. I’ve gained a lot of respect for NASCAR over the years. There’s a specific science to it that a lot of people aren’t aware.

    Lucas was money on the last few holes to close the thing out. Tiger needs to get back to the putting greens.

  15. Dude,
    I don’t think there’s one team we have in common that we both like!! Do you like the Carolina Mudcats?!
    Dan

  16. I was going to defend NASCAR, but I couldn’t come up with a good argument. Yeah, car go fast.

  17. Chris aka sportschump ….

    Well with NASCAR being what they are . And the mere fact that the Big Three .. may in all good time either becom the Big One . As it’s my belief for all sense and purpose we’ll be seeing Ford coming to the trough for some of that government cheese. I’ve heard one moron explain to me that they’re in a healthy position.

    Well if you think being in a healthy position is to leverage yourself with in excess of $39bn worth of debt. It shows that your knowledge of the automotive business in this day and age ain’t worth jack !

    By no means are either GM or Chrysler for that matter out of the woods. As they too’ll still be taking out their begging bowls. Sergio Marchione is a smart dude. But there’s more to this deal than meets the eye. Chrysler’ll soon go the way of the doh-doh bird and become extinct.

    As for the US Open you can’t keep a good guy down. And Tiger knows that he’s now got to work more on his short game. And with The Open just around the corner. It’s by no means certain that he ought to be the prohibitive favorite to win it all.

    Here’s my take on the stepping down of Donald Fehr as head of the Players’ Union of Major League Baseball.

    Well It’s About Time Perhaps Selig Can Take The Hint ?

    Alan ………..

  18. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

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