Pardon the Interruption
Seen the video of the Bucs' new training complex yet? If you haven't, go to the Bucs' own site and watch it. Jon Gruden is like a kid in a candy store as he sees the complex for the first time, especially the coaches' offices and weight rooms.
I have been going to One Buc Place since 1988 and know full well how outdated and cramped the conditions were. I've sat on the back porch talking with team officials whilst players lifted weights in the semi-outdoor room as the original weight room wasn't big enough to accomodate them all.
And I've seen first-hand how cramped the meeting rooms were when I sat with Trent Dilfer, Craig Erickson and Casey Weldon in 1994 as they watched game film with coach Turk Schonert. To say there wasn't room to swing a cat would be an understatement. In fact, most of the rooms had fur marks around the walls where people had tried.
This new complex is going to be a real booster for everyone connected with the franchise. All those people who mocked the Glazer family when they said it would never be built. All those people who thought that it would be a real bare bones building with minimal spending. Just go and look at it now.
Thanks to those nice people at Pontel, many Bucs UK members have been able to watch the Bucs' pre-season games starting with the win over the New York Jets.
Aside from it being the first real Buccaneer football we have seen since last January (cue weekly Edell Shepherd drop reference), a few observations to note from the game.
Pre-season football really does mean jack in terms of results and stats.
Ron Jaworski is one of the best colour analysts in the business - he is wasted on NFL match-up. Get him on instead of John Madden who is 20 years past his sell-by date.
Davin Joseph is an absolute beast at right guard. Watch the Bucs run both sides of center this season instead of just left behind Davis and Buenning as they did in 2005.
Jeremy Trueblood is pretty useful too and if your name is Kenyatta, don't take out any long-term property arrangements in the Tampa area.
How good are those cannons going off when the Bucs are inside the 20-yard line? The best sound effect in sport.
This is another world from the Buccaneers of pre-1995. It is a totally professional organisation from top to bottom where the players have everything they need to succeed. No excuses necessary - this is how a sports franchise CAN be run if you have professional people doing it.
A few other random thoughts
This just in from the projected stats team - Lavarenues Coles will catch 100 passes this season. For a grand total of 500 yards having seen Chad Pennington's arm. Anyone who claims that he can throw a decent deep pass is a fake.
This week saw a rare trade in NFL circles, as Ashley Lelie and TJ Duckett changed addresses. Players are traded for one reason only in the NFL these days - because the old team wants to get rid of them as they are a problem. Lelie was a cancer to the Broncos, and Duckett wasn't exactly Mr.Popular in Atlanta.
So before all you fantasy geeks start projecting huge numbers for these two in their new surroundings, just remember the reason behind their moves. For every Joey Galloway that helps his new team, there are a dozen deals that don't work out at all.
The Terrell Owens watch - more missed practices and two more press conferences by the mercurial one to announce his current status. Which actually has his head right up his own arse.
You've been great - enjoy Alexander O'Neal.
Paul Stewart, August 2006.