Joe’s Take

September 3rd, 2008
Look for Earnest Graham and the Bucs backfield to chew up yardage on Sunday.

Look for Earnest Graham and the Bucs backfield to chew up yardage on Sunday.

Joe thinks fans and pundits have overlooked what will win the game for the Bucs on Sunday. That would be the running game (no disrespect to the Bucs’ defense.)

There’s been so much focus this preseason on the Bucs’ old, fragile veterans, Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway, the Brett Favre drama and the team’s uninspiring receivers, that the Bucs’ backfield has been off the radar.

Earnest Graham is confident, healthy and now wealthy. Warrick Dunn returns with fresh legs and a revitalized spirit. And Michael Bennett looks comfortable and back to the form that made him a 1,000-yard rusher in Kansas City.  B.J. Aksew also has a fat new contract after being named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2007.

Plus all of these guys can catch the ball and get yards after the catch.

The Bucs gobbled up 466 yards in their last meeting with New Orleans, a romp at the Superdome with Luke McCown sitting in for Garcia.

Now the Bucs have added Jeff Faine, the stud center who was a monster on the offensive line in New Orleans last year. Like he’s not going to be salivating to line up Sunday.

The Saints defense is their soft spot. 

Rookie defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, the Saints’ first-round pick, has not been a head-turner so far. And linebacker Jonathan Vilma, an offseason pickup, is still learning the system and shaking off rust from injuries. The Saints secondary? It sucks.

Look for the Bucs to pound the rock relentlessly and keep Drew Brees off the field. If rookie Jeremy Zuttah can hang in there for the Bucs on the offensive line, this could be blowout.

Joe puts the over/under for Bucs rushing yards at 140.

One Response to “Joe’s Take”

  1. Chris Says:

    Without sounding biased, I 100% agree that the Bucs will control the game with the RUN and then exploit the NO 2ndary.

    Heres why:
    1.) Brees stays off the field and we want that.
    2.) Ellis hasnt been anything thus far and DT isn’t their strong man on the Dline their DE is in Grant
    3.) We kept our hard-nosed running under wraps all preseason. BJ Askew is ready to do his thing. I completely agree with his statements made about being ready come game time. A proven FB doesnt need to bust his head during preseason.
    4.) Everything you said about Graham is correct. Hes primed and ready to go. Same cant be said about NO back field. And we have a vey diverse back field. The Hammer, the Burner and the Ninja!
    5.) If anything our Oline is built WELL for the run and OK for pass.

    Say what you want about Gru and Allen but they really dont give up much info EVER and I like that. He stuck to his preason game plan and almost got out injury free. Bucs have $ but didn’t waste it on a prima donna WR or CB…thank god!

    I think Talib gets a pick in this game! Im callin it now!!!