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2010 Regular Season

  • When: Sun. 10/24 - 4:05 pm ET

  • Satellite Radio 10/24 -  4:05 pm - SIRIUS Ch TBD

  • Televised: Sun. 10/24 -  4:05 pm ET (DirecTV Sunday Ticket  Channel TBD)

Last Game
Meet the Bucs
Cardinals Roster
Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Matchups

Tampa Bay, at 4 & 2, is feeling pretty good about itself (HC Raheem Morris proclaiming "Rex Ryan style" that they're "the best team in the division."  The Cardinals sit at 3 & 3 in second place in the NFC West but without a productive QB to help make a fairly talented team competitive. The Bucs have gotten where they are by playing pretty close to their vest (relying on turnovers and FG's to keep them in games and eventually win most of them). When the Cardinals win, it's usually because their defense stepped up and made a number of impact plays. Can a team that relies on big defensive plays beat a team that keeps things close?

Late Breaking - Cards released LB Alex Hall and WR Onrea Jones to make room for newly activated LB's Gerald Hayes and  rookie O Brien Schofield. Both are coming off injuries. Schofield is a surprise (a) because of his injury and (b) because he is an untested rookie draftee.

Cardinals - Doubtful: LB Clark Haggans. Questionable: DL Alan Branch, WR's Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, LB Will Davis.

Bucs - Out: DL's Faine and Trueblood, DT Price. Listed but Status Unclear: G Vincent. Doubtful: WR Parker. Questionable: LB G Hayes, DE K. Moore.

Bucs came back in the final seconds to eke out an 18 - 17 win over the StL Rams. What was really impressive was that they came back from a point late in the first half where - trailing 17 - 3 at the 2-minute mark, with 2:54 left and having absorbed a 14-yard loss due to a sack - Josh Freeman and his charges fought their way back to score a late quarter FG to make it 17 - 6  and then plow on to eventual victory. (Would the Cards have had the fortitude and the poise in a similar circumstance to have replicated the Tampa Bay effort)?

First Quarter

  • Bucs received and moved from their own 30 to the Ram 42, where Freeman got sacked and TB was forced to punt. Deep in Ram territory, Bradford fumbled after a sack on the 4th play from scrimmage and  TB recovered (play survived challenge). Starting from the StL 6,  two TB penalties moved them back to the StL 36, but a 23 yard completion from Freeman to (the other) Mike Williams positioned the ball for a 35-yard Barth FG. Bucs 3 - Rams 0.

  •  StL started from their own 21 and ran off 12 plays to complete the quarter.  First Quarter Score: Bucs 3 - Rams 0.

Second Quarter

  • Brown's FG attempt was good from 25.  Bucs 3 - Rams 3.

  • TB went 3 & out. Rams got the ball back on their own 20 and (mostly off running plays by Steven Jackson and a 21-yard end around) managed to score on the 11th play of the drive - a 5-yard completion: Bradford to Amendola. Rams 10 - Bucs 3.

  • A holding call on Penn helped TB to go 3 & out again. A poor punt from inside the 20 gave StL the ball on the TB 45. They couldn't stop the Ram running game. (Jackson for +7 and +18. Darby for +3. Toston for +3. Incompletion. Successful FG try nullified by penalty. Darby for +7. Incompletion. TD pass to Hoosh. Rams 17 - Bucs 3. 

  • 2:59 til halftime. Spurlock's return put the ball on the TB 36. Despite being sacked for minus-14 yards, Freeman completed an 8-yard pass, scrambled for +16 & completed one to Straughter for +18 to put the ball on the StL 24 (where the Bucs settled for a 39 yard FG (that eventually proved to provide  the margin of victory. Rams 17 - Bucs 6.  

  • StL ran one more play before the 1H ended. Halftime Score: Rams 17 - Bucs 6. 

Third Quarter

  • StL received and started out from their own 40, but went 3 & out. A penalty on the punt return pushed TB back to their own 5-yard line.  Heavy doses of Blount (32 yards on 4 carries plus a 3-yard gain called back due to penalty) led to a 53-yard FG by Barth. Bucs within 8. Rams 17 - Bucs 9. 

  •  Rams started on their own 15 but TB stalled them at the StL 30 and they had to punt. TB started from their own  31. A face-mask call on StL helped move TB to the Ram 20, where the drive stalled and Barth kicked another FG to put the game within one TD's reach. Rams 17 - Bucs 12.

  •   Kickoff ended the quarter. Third Quarter Score: Rams 17 - Bucs 12.

Fourth Quarter

  • Rams started from their own 27 and gave the Bucs plenty of Steven Jackson. (+6, +9, +2, +2) but - aided by a false start flag - TB's defense held and StL punted from their own 45 Bucs took over on their own 18 but an illegal block by Trueblood helped force TB to 3 & out. Punt went out of bounds on the StL 32. 8:30 left to play. Mixing short passes and runs by Jackson, the Rams made it to the TB 44, but a false start flag helped force another punt.

  • TB ball on their own 19 with 4:45 left. Lots of short passes (to Winslow, C Williams and M Williams. At the 2-minute mark with the ball on the Ram  37, a roughness penalty on TB's J Lee moved the ball back to the Ram 49.  But Freeman completed passes to  C Williams (+8), Stroughter (+11) and Mike Williams (+9) and, after a couple of incompletions and with 0:30 on the clock, hit Mike Williams for +20 yards. Two plays later (with 0:17 left to play) he connected with Cadillac Williams for the winning TD.  (2-point attempt failed. Kickoff and final multi-lateral play went nowhere).  Final Score: Bucs 18 - Rams 17.


  • Bucs hung in there.Things didn't look good for them and their comeback was, at best ugly, but they hung around long enough for Freeman to take them on their one impressive drive of the game - the last drive and a winning one.

  • TB was penalized 12 times for 92 yards.

  • They won the field-position game, with 4 field goals being just enough accompaniment to their final TD to edge out the Rams at the end.

  • Neither QB was intercepted. Only lost fumble was one by the Rams.

  • Freeman was sacked three times. TB pass rushers (White) sacked Bradford once.

  • Rams ran the ball 32 times for 161 yards. (TB ran the ball 21 times - 5 by Freeman & probably scrambles. Take the scrambles away and they dialed up 16 running plays).

  • Jackson gained 110 yards on 22 carries. Blount gained 72 yards on 11 carries.

  • Ruud and Barber led the TB defense in tackles with 11 and 10 respectively (next guy was black with 5 tackles).

Meet the Bucs
At first glance, the Bucs look like a solid, low-key football team that's learning how to get it done - a plodder more than a sparkler; a tortaise more than a hare. The cliche would be that "they seldom do things to beat themselves", but that would be wrong (when you consider their 12 penalties in the Ram game). But that's the direction they're moving in and the direction their head coach evidently wants them to take.

05 Freeman, Josh QB 6-6 248 22 2 Kansas State
11 Johnson, Josh QB 6-3 205 24 3 San Diego
12 Carpenter, Rudy QB 6-2 212 24 2 Arizona State

Freeman has been brought along carefully to a point where he is a very resourceful QB who seldom beats himself and who can beat you either with his arm or his feet. Three years ago, I went 180 degrees against the book and rated Johnson my #1 QB in my draft rankings.

 Running Backs
24 Williams, Carnell RB 5-11 217 28 6 Auburn
27 Blount, LeGarrette RB 6-0 247 23 R Oregon
28 Lumpkin, Kregg RB 5-11 228 26 2 Georgia
34 Graham, Earnest RB 5-9 225 30 7 Florida
44 Lorig, Erik FB/TE 6-4 275 23 R Stanford

Blount may be listed as the #3 RB on the TB depth chart, but he's challenging Cadillac for a starting spot and - at a bruising 247 lbs - is the kind of RB the Cards have the most trouble with. I expect Morris to play Blount early and often. Williams is more of a Westbrook type slasher/pass receiver with home run ability.

 Wide Receivers
19 Williams, Mike WR 6-2 212 23 R Syracuse
81 Spurlock, Micheal WR 5-11 200 27 3 Mississippi

85 Stovall, Maurice WR 6-5 220 25 5 Notre Dame
18 Stroughter, Sammie WR 5-10 189 24 2 Oregon State
17 Benn, Arrelious WR 6-2 220 22 R Illinois
87 Parker, Preston WR 6-0 200 23 R North Alabama
None of these guys is projected to make the Pro Bowl but they somehow manage to get the job done. (The Other) Mike Williams is a pleasant rookie surprise out of Syracuse. Spurlock is a former Cardinal - good speed/reliable out of the slot/can return kickoffs and punts.

 Tight Ends
82 Winslow, Kellen TE 6-4 240 27 7 Miami (Fla.)
88 Gilmore, John TE 6-5 257 31 9 Penn State
46 Purvis, Ryan TE 6-4 260 24 1 Boston College
Cards have had difficulty covering quality TE's and Winslow is another one of those.

 Offensive Line
70 Penn, Donald LT 6-5 305 27 5 Utah State
77 Lee, James T 6-4 305 25 3 South Carolina State
68 Vincent, Keydrick LG 6-5 325 32 10 Mississippi
76 Zuttah, Jeremy G 6-4 308 24 3 Rutgers
52 Faine, Jeff C 6-3 291 29 8 Notre Dame
62 Larsen, Ted C 6-2 305 23 R North Carolina State
75 Joseph, Davin RG 6-3 313 26 5 Oklahoma

65 Trueblood, Jeremy RT 6-8 320 27 5 Boston College
73 Hardman, Derek T 6-6 300 24 R Eastern Kentucky
The impression I get is that the TB offensive line has struggled a bit this year - especially at the  tackles. They may struggle even more this Sunday due to injuries. Faine and Trueblood are out. Vincent is listed on the Injured list with others who are Out, but his status remained blank.

 Defensive Line

94 Moore, Kyle LDE/DT 6-5 272 24 2 USC
96 Crowder, Tim DE 6-4 260 25 4 Texas
97 Magee, Alex DE 6-3 298 23 2 Purdue
93 McCoy, Gerald DT 6-4 295 22 R Oklahoma
98 Sims, Ryan DT 6-4 315 30 9 North Carolina
90 Miller, Roy DT 6-2 310 23 2 Texas
92 Price, Brian DT 6-1 303 21 R UCLA
91 White, Stylez G. RDE 6-3 270 31 4 Minnesota
71 Bennett, Michael DL 6-4 274 24 2 Texas A&M
Bucs employ a 4-man front. McCoy is the high-profile rookie penetrator. Stylez is a surprise - plays his position smartly (holding the edge and seldom losing outside contain, but still occasionally pressuring the QB


58 Black, Quincy OLB1 6-2 240 26 4 New Mexico
56 Watson, Dekoda LB 6-2 240 22 R Florida State
51 Ruud, Barrett MLB 6-2 241 27 6 Nebraska
53 Koutouvides, Niko LB 6-2 238 29 7 Purdue

54 Hayes, Geno OLB2 6-1 226 23 3 Florida State
57 Hayward, Adam LB 6-1 240 26 4 Portland State
Bucs are stout up the middle.

25 Talib, Aqib LCB 6-1 205 24 3 Kansas
31 Biggers, E.J. CB 6-0 180 23 2 Western Michigan
20 Barber, Ronde RCB 5-10 184 35 14 Virginia

33 Mack, Elbert CB 5-10 175 24 3 Troy
23 Lewis, Myron CB 6-2 203 22 R Vanderbilt
26 Jones, Sean SS 6-1 220 28 7 Georgia
21 Piscitelli, Sabby S 6-3 224 27 4 Oregon State
35 Grimm, Cody FS 6-1 203 23 R Virginia Tech
41 Lynch, Corey S 6-0 206 25 3 Appalachian State

Alib is the talented youngster at CB. Barber is the cagey Pro Bowl veteran. Rookie, Grimm has made a quick name for himself as a play maker.  He's Russ's kid - definitely makes for interesting color story. Piscatelli has been a perennial SIRIUS Radio interview favorite  since he showed up 4 years ago as a draft prospect.

 Special Teams
10 Barth, Connor K 5-11 193 24 3 North Carolina
48 Economos, Andrew LS 6-1 250 28 5 Georgia Tech
01 Malone, Robert P/H 6-2 215 22 R Fresno State
81 Spurlock, Micheal KR/PR/WR 5-11 200 27 3 Mississippi

Barth kicked 5 FG's vs. the Rams (one from 53). Any questions. I don't know anything about Malone. Former Cardinal, Spurlock has quietly been making a name for himself as a returner.

 Coaching Staff
Raheem Morris  Head Coach
Greg Olsen Offensive Coordinator
No Defensive Coordinator Listed
No Special Teams Coordinator Listed
CNo doubt theBucs have trhe DC and ST coaching functions covered, but it does indicate their young head coach has his own unique way of doing things.

Tampa Bay Stats
Green means good stats/Red means bad stats/Black means average stats.

Tampa Bay Bucs Opponents
PASSING (COMP-ATT-INT-AVG) 127-212-3-6.3 101-178-10-6.8
SACKS 5.0 14.0
FIELD GOALS 10/12 5/7
  • The above set of team stats suggest a team that's having trouble scoring touchdowns and has difficulty stopping the pass, but is getting the job done via opportunistic play (i.e. field goals, turnovers).

  • Josh Freeman has an 82.8 QB Rating (58.8% completions; 7 TD's; 3 interceptions). He's been sacked 12 times. He's also run the ball 23 times, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

  • Cadillac Williams has been the feature back with 80 carries (Freeman is next with 26. Don't ignore 247 lb rookie RB LeGarrette Blount (21 carries) who fits the big thumper profile that gives us fits. The good news is that Cadillac only averages 2.5 yards per attempt. Bad news is that Blount is averaging 4.9

  • What does it tell you when your top receiver is your TE and your 3rd best receiver is a RB? Kellen Winslow leads the Bucs with 29 catches followed by (the other) Mike Williams with 28 catches (& 3 TD's) and Cadillac Williams with 23 catches and one touchdown. Sammy Stroughter is 4th with 15 catches. Former Card Mike Spurlock has a couple of TD's to his credit.

  • Barth has nailed 10 of his 12 FG attempts (going 3 for 5 outside the 40).

  • It looks as though Robert Malone has replaced orginal punter (Chris Bryan) and tacxed on an additional 5.0 yards per punt.

  • Bucs are slightly better than their average opponents in both kick and punt returns - Spurlock does both. No TD's scored/none given up.

  • Defensively, top two tacklers are  Ruud (47) and Barber (41) Next best tackler (Hayes) has 33.

  • TB pass rushers have sacked opposing QB's just 5 times (vs. 12 sacks surrendered). White and Crowder lead the team with 2 sacks apiece.

  • Interceptions are an entirely different matter - TB pass defenders have picked off 10 passes. (TB quarterbacks have only thrown 3 picks)

  • Talib leads the team with 3 interceptions followed by Barber (2) and Grimm (2)

Cardinal Roster

QB - 06 Hall,  03 Anderson, 19 Skelton,
To put it bluntly, we don't have a QB who can make plays when needed - even 50% of the time. It remains the Achilles heel of our team and we will struggle to reach .500 unless the lights magically go on for either Hall or Anderson. An overall completion-rate of under 40% in the Seattle game was pretty sad. Our lack of a  competent QB is dragging us down. One possible solution to the problem - design more roll-outs for the diminuative Hall (who sometimes appears to be throwing out of a man-hole) in order to make it easier for him to locate passing lanes.

RB - 34 Hightower, 31 Wright, 36 Stephens-Howling  (KR/PR), 26, Wells
We were able to run against Seattle, but Hightower was carrying the ball like a bag of groceries when he was tackled and coughed it up. Another contributor to our loss in Seattle.

FB - 45 Mau'ia
Kind of invisible Sunday, but that's OK so long as he makes his blocks.

WR - 12 Roberts,  80 Doucet,  15 Breaston
WR -11 Fitzgerald, 18 Komar, 14 S Williams,
It was Fitz plus 3 other guys who were either inexperienced or rusty. This put additional pressure on Fitz (who then received extra attention from Seattle). Doucet was especially disappointing, but all in all, it was a "group effort."

TE - 89 Patrick, 83 Spach,  81 Dray
Other than one key Spach grab, we didn't hear much from our TE's. Our running game looked less shaky - perhaps greater blocking emphasis on our TE's (at the expense of sending them out as receivers) was a key factor.

LT- 75 L Brown,
73 Bridges
66 Faneca,  70 Hadnot
63Sendlein,  (70 Hadnot), 62 Claxton,
RG- 76 Lutui
72 Keith
The sacks-surrendered stats don't show it, but both Hall and Anderson were running for their lives back there.

DE - 93 Campbell, 79 Iwebema
NT - 97 B Robinson,  92 D Williams, 98 Watson,
DT - 90 Dockett, 78 Branch
They Other than a few unecessary penalties, the D-line performed gallantly. Branch (2 sacks) had arguably his best game as a pro. Campbell looked like an octopus sacking Hasslebeck. The problem stopping the run wasn't caused by the D-line (who plugged the right gaps and caused Lynch to repeatedly spin out of his assigned holes). The root cause sits with the Cardinal LB's

OLB1 - 55 Porter
ILB  51 Lenon, 54 Hayes
ILB- 58 D Washington,
56 Walker,
OLB2 - 53 Haggans,  59 W Davis, 50 Schofield
Why is it that guys weighting 235 - 250 lbs repeatedly got dragged down the field by 194 - 215 lb running backs? It didn't look like it was due to lack of effort or being caught out of position. More like poor tackling techinique/leverage and lack of lower body strength. It's a problem. I didn't like the way Porter got sucked in and lost contain on Hasselbeck's bootleg at a key point late in the game. The one bright spot remains Washington (who was second on the team with 11 tackles and whose sack up the middle was a thing of beauty).

RCB - 28 Toler, 20 Jefferson,  37 McBride,
29 Rodgers-Cromartie, 27 Adams   
  24 Wilson,
 22 Ware, 41 Abdullah,
40 Tillman
FS- 25 Rhodes,  
49 Rash Johnson
Although our secondary has emerged as a force to be reckoned with, a weakness was exposed last week in Seattle - Card corners have problems when matched one-on-one in man-coverage with big dominant receivers. They will continue to be picked on in similar situations unless they're given additional help back there. Other than that, I really like our secondary and its continued development. Toler continues to improve from game to game - leading the defense with 12 tackles vs. Seattle.

K-04 Feely
P- 05 B Graham,

H - 05  B Graham
82 Leach
KR -

- 12 Roberts, 18 Komar, 15 Breaston, 37Stephens-Howling
Feely is reliable.  Graham has become legendary for dropping punts inside the 10 - 15., but he'll occasionally drop a clam (like the 7-yarder vs. Seattle last Sunday).  It's pretty much accepted fact now that LSH is the real deal when it comes to long KR returns. Maybe it was the damp, clammy weather in Seattle, but the muffs by Roberts and Wright contributed significantly to our loss. Ball security issues must be cleaned up. Weather is no excuse - extra care must be taken to protect the ball in inclement circumstances.

   Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay  Matchups

Tampa Bay  Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
To date, the Bucs have tended to keep things conservative,with 65 of 149 completions going to their RB's or TE's. Kellen Winslow and Cadillac Williams will once again present a challenge to Cardinal safeties and LB's. Tampa Bay pass blockers have given up 12 sacks in 6 games this season so we should expect the Cards to tee off on Freeman - however his ability to escape the pressure and take off with his feet will place additional stress on the safeties and LB's. Cards will have to contend with their second straight receiver named Mike Williams (this one a rookie from Syracuse) who is second on the team in catches. Stroughter, Graham and Spurlock round out the Bucco receiving corps. None are spectacular but all are reliable.

Tampa Bay Running Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Tampa Bay is not known for its scintillating rushing attack, but that doesn't mean that Cadillac Williams can't gash you. Scarier is the emergence of 247 lb rookie RB LeGarrette Blount, who is a load to bring down (If you think Marshawn Lynch was hard to stop - Add 32 pounds of power and you've got Blount). If TB watches (and heeds) the Atlanta and San Diego tapes, they will give us heavy doses of Blount smashmouth. While the Cards had trouble stopping Lynch last week, they did prevent Seattle from running amok via the ground. We're going to need an equal if not stronger effort by our run defenders (Alan Branch, I'm talking to you!) this week if we're to have any chance of winning this game.

Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Tampa Bay Pass Defense
Through six games, the Cardinals have not demonstrated that they can mount anything in the way of a steady, competent (let alone spectacular) passing attack. We unfortunately have no other choice than to sit back and hope one or more light bulbs eventually go off for Max Hall or Derek Anderson, but so far, they haven't).

Tampa Bay's weakness in pass defense is its lack of a pass rush (5 all season). It's strength is its ballhawking (13 picks). If everything sticks to form, both Hall and/or Anderson should have a little more time to read defenses and pick out receivers, but both will have to be very careful about where they aim (& whom they eyeball) if they are to avoid being picked off repeatedly by Buccaneer DB's.

Cardinal Running Attack vs. Tampa Bay Run Defense
I read somewhere that TB ranks somewhere around 30 in stopping the run. Given the desultry play of our QB's, maybe this will be the week we unleash Beanie and Hightower, but with one cautionary note - If we turn over the ball (a TB strength), we'll be more likely to desert the run and throw more often to dig our way out of an early hole. Our passers cannot afford to throw picks. Our RB's and QB's cannot afford to fumble.

Special Teams
Last week - despite a lack of scoring punch - TB, off the boot of Barth, inflicted "death by a thousand cuts." He kicked 5 FG's last week (to keep TB close enough to win). He could do it again. Malone seems to have stablized a problematic punting situation for TB. Although we still feel he's Pro Bowl material, Graham is good for one really ugly shank every other games. Feely has been solid. Although Spurlock is solid and gives the Bucs home run potential, so far - based on actual results on the field - LSH gives us an advantage in the kick return game. Roberts and our other punt returners are making each outing an adventure.

Huge. For how long can the Cardinal defense sustain play at so a high intensity without winning? Sooner or later, things are likely to crumble. This represents a major gut-check where the HC asks his defensive players to "carry the team on its back" until we can get our offensive act together. Some teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh rise to the occasion. Others do not. My greatest fear: Raheem Morris decides to play "smashmouth" and we can't stop Blount. Tampa Bay has gotten to where it is by staying in games long enough to cash in on late opportunities & win. Arizona hasn't gotten to where it wants to be by falling behind early, losing its discipline and poise and not being able to dig its way back.

With Hall and Anderson unlikely to light any fires, it might be wise for the Cardinals to play more like Tampa Bay this Sunday.

Note: One possible TB Achilles Heel: Penalties. They were flagged 12 times for 92 yards last Sunday.

 Final Word
We're lucky to even be at .500 and things do not look promising. We are at the point of this season where this team has to pull itself up by its bootstraps and win one or more games on sheer will, if necessary. Gut check time.

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