Week 3 Preview: Buccaneers at Patriots

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new-found soap opera rolls into Foxboro this weekend for a matchup with the undefeated Patriots.

So, how many penalties will the Bucs end up with this time around? They had 13 in Week 1, and ten more in Week 2. The flags have been very costly. Can the Bucs clean up their act in a hurry? They’re going to have to, for them to have any chance to get a win in New England.

Josh Freeman is completing just 45% of his passes through the first two games. There are still plenty of rumblings surrounding his relationship with head coach Greg Schiano. We’ll let the local/national media deal with those “reports.” All we know is Freeman’s on-field performance has been less than subpar so far.

Dashon Goldson will play against the Patriots. His one-game suspension for his hit on Darren Sproles was overturned this week, though Goldson was fined $100,000.

With everything surround the Bucs these days, Doug Martin is not a player to be concerned with. He’s rushed for over 200 yards through the first two games.

The Patriots are off to a 2-0 start, though a lot of the talk has been about how un-Patriot-like they’ve played so far. You have to think – eventually they’re going to break out of their funk.

Kickoff is Sunday at 1:00 on FOX. For the third week in a row, your announcers are Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch. Lynch has had pretty of time already to criticize his former team.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

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Week 1 Preview: Buccaneers at Jets

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The Bucs open the 2013 season on Sunday against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Here are three things to keep an eye on:

1. Darrelle Revis.  This is the headliner, obviously.  He’s playing his first game for Tampa Bay against his former team.  The Bucs acquired Revis in exchange for two draft picks just before this year’s draft.  Revis is recovering from a serious knee injury, and didn’t play at all in the preseason.  But he says he’s ready to go.  And why wouldn’t he want a little revenge against his former team?

2. The defense.  If the down linemen can’t get any pressure on the quarterback, then Revis, Dashon Goldson and the rest of the secondary can only cover for so long.  The Bucs had the worst pass defense in the league last year, and some (but hardly all) of that can be attributed to a lack of sacks.  The defensive front will be facing Geno Smith, the rookie out of West Virginia.  Some so-called pundits think Tampa Bay is catching a break in that regard.  I beg to differ.  Much of the buzz in New York has been about Smith, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez.  But if the Bucs’ defense can’t muster any pass rush, it may not matter.

3. The offense.  Last year, Josh Freeman threw for over 4,000 yards.  But he’s been inconsistent, especially down the stretch of 2012, when a 6-4 record turned into 7-9 and no playoff berth.  He did not play well in the preseason for what it’s worth, and spent a lot of time on his back.  We still don’t know if Carl Nicks will be ready to go.  Davin Joseph is back after suffering a season-ending injury.  This unit has to do a better job of protecting the quarterback.  As for Doug Martin? No need to worry about him for the time being.

Kickoff is at 1:00 on FOX.  Your announcers are Kevin Burkhardt and former Buc John Lynch.

photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Times

Warren Sapp Inducted Into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Pro Football Hall of Fame, meet Mr. Sapp.

On Saturday night, Warren Sapp became just the second Buccaneer to be enshrined in Canton (Lee Roy Selmon is the other.)  Sapp was one of seven players to be inducted into the Hall.

He joined the Bucs in 1995 when the team was awful.  Two years later, Tampa Bay was in the playoffs.  In 1999, he was there in St. Louis when the Bucs played in (and nearly won) the NFC Championship game.  And on January 26, 2003, he was celebrating a Super Bowl title on the field in San Diego with John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and the rest of his teammates.  Expect to see Brooks in the Hall next year.

Sapp’s career was defined by his relentless pass rush, and sacks – a lot of them.  He finished his career having taken down quarterbacks 96.5 times (some of those came with the Raiders.)  He was also known for having a big mouth; there’s no denying that.  I will never forget all of the times he and Brett Favre were seen yapping it up.  Those who had to line up against him will argue that Sapp’s mouth went a bit too far.  Such is life.

Warren Sapp will be inducted into Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Monday night against the Dolphins on Nov. 11.

To see Warren Sapp’s entire Hall of Fame speech, click here.

Photo Courtesy: AP