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Buc Update


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Wondering who’ll be at the helm for the Bucs this season? So, apparently, are they.


Posted this as a blog, but WW suggested it would be useful in the forums as well.


Steve Kyler, host of The Game on ESPN Radio in Tampa (I'm a regular Sunday morning guest on the show), checked in from the Buccaneers’ training camp and provided some information that might have you tweaking your fantasy draft board.


Let’s start at the quarterback position, where Josh Freeman will—to the surprise of no one—need time. At present he’s no higher than third on the Tampa Bay depth chart, with Byron Leftwich second and Luke McCown the winner by default. Leftwich has demonstrated a strong arm but questionable decision-making, which again is unlikely to surprise anyone familiar with his game.


With no one able to deliver the ball downfield—save for Leftwich, though the joke at camp is that if he gets the starting nod he’ll be sacked 50 times before Tampa’s bye week—the Bucs’ game plan will lean heavily on the run. That doesn’t bode well for Antonio Bryant, who is being extremely well compensated this season as the franchise player but might struggle to put up the kind of stats that will fetch a hefty long-term deal in the offseason.


It’s a good thing the Bucs will run a bunch, because they have a bunch of guys to run the ball. Earnest Graham will be the feature back, though Derrick Ward will get carries as well. It also sounds as if Clifton Smith will get touches in the preseason to determine if he’ll factor into the committee as well. No one is expecting anything from Cadillac Williams, who was injured again last season. If he’s healthy, however, that’s four Buc backs looking for touches.


The Bucs have the offensive line to be a force in the running game, even if Arron Sears continues to be absent from training camp. No one is talking about what is keeping Sears away; guesses range from problems associated with the concussion he suffered last year to a battle with depression. Jeremy Zuttah, who was likely to find a starting spot along the line anyway, has stepped in to keep the front line intact and is a great fit with the blocking scheme. But it does bite into the depth up front of a team that will lean heavily on its ground game.

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I really hope they don't get carried away with Ryan and Flacco's success and start Freeman, everything I've seen suggests he needs time. Possibly quite a bit...


I'm staying away from Ward in fantasy as he's going too high given the situation, and if Graham starts climbing he'll be overvalued too.


Thanks for posting this.

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Curious though that EG is reported as the starter when most seem to have assumed the job was going to DW.


Agreed. I had just been talking myself into Ward as a nice mid-20s range back because of a quality line, the ZBS, and their lack of QB; now I'm having to back away from that. And where Graham is going, it makes him a nice RB4 to throw in there in R10 or so.

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