Big gains for Adams
Just one thought to leave you with.
Nice showing by Gaines Adams. He didn't put up numbers, but he sure made his presence felt. Just ask Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who was decked twice by the rookie defensive end.
Adams was in the backfield a lot today in making his first start, and I suspect we'll start to see more of that if his coaches continue to let him play through his ups and downs.
He is not going to be perfect. You need to know that he is still suspect against the run, and no less an authority than defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was clear on that point when he and I spoke earlier. But Adams made a big jump today because the Cardinals were a team bent on throwing the ball, so Adams was able to concentrate on his pass rush. With his ears pinned back, he was a force.
Another good sign: time of possession. The Bucs set a team record for a regulation game with 43:07 of possession to Arizona's 16:53. That's about as lopsided a statistic as you'll ever see in this league of parity. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they still don't find enough ways to capitalize on their good fortune. If you have the ball that long, I think it's fair to say you need to score more than 17 points. But we'll see whether they find a way to finish drives after the bye week.
A not-so-good trend continued in this one: the defense giving up the late score. This defense simply can't seem to play wire to wire. I don't know what it is, but it sure is getting old. The Bucs jump out 17-3 and let the Cardinals march 80 yards in 11 plays to make it 17-10 and give themselves a chance with seven minutes left. When a team is on the ropes, good teams finish the deal. That's all I'm saying.
Another thing to keep an eye on (literally): the New Orleans Saints. Those guys are starting to wake up. They are now 4-4 after winning four straight. And their next three games are against the Rams, Texans and Panthers, teams with a combined record of 7-17. I'd pay close attention because this thing is going to get real interesting before it's over with. The Bucs better win games in bunches over the next several weeks, because something tells me that those thoughts many of you had of 9-7 winning this division by a mile might not actually come to pass. If nothing else, it should be fun to watch.
Anyone notice anything else of interest in the game? Ask your questions or comment and I'll try to check in tonight and/or Monday morning.