Bucs-Jags live blog; Starters done for the night
The Bucs and Jags are about to kick it off here at Raymond James Stadium.
The game is blacked out, but we'll bring you some insight and analysis as the night proceeds. The starters are expected to play the entire first half and one series after the intermission.
Once again, right guard Davin Joseph is out with an undisclosed injury. We'll try to clear that up later. I know he didn't miss practice this week, so perhaps it's not severe.
Kickoff coming in a few moments.
13:21: Big kick return for the Jags, but Quincy Black shoots through a gap to stop the back for a 1-yard loss. Now a third and long with Biggers and Price on the field with the big boys.
11:44: The Bucs have always had a bend but don't break mentality on defense, but that was a lot of bending very early. TE Marcedes Lewis catches a deep ball for 24 yards, but the Bucs buckle down and force the field goal. The Quincy Black play really set the tone for getting a stop on that series, I think.
11:44: Here's a guy we haven't heard from ain a long time Clifton Smith makes his debut ... and fumbles the kickoff. Bucs recover. Not a good start for a guy who I thin is on the bubble.
9:03: Mike Williams is flat out a playmaker. A 53-yard gain from Johnson. It was an easy throw for Josh Johnson because Williams left the cornerback literally on the ground. He got tangled up trying to cut when Williams put a move on him. And Mike has some YAC on that one, too. I'd say 20 yards plus in the open field. Electrifying.
8:57: Bucs had to settle for a 51-yard FG by Connor Barth because Kellen Winslow false started. That screwed up the down and distance on that possession. But one thing I noticed there was that Micheal Spurlock lined up in a Wildcat formation before the false start. I sure would have liked to see that play unfold.
7:24: Gerald McCoy just put David Garrard on his butt with a QB pressure up the middle. Made him overthrow his WR
4:42: The DL is playing one heck of a game. On third and long, McCoy and Stylez White were held on the same play as they were about to sack Garrard. Bucs took the penalty and made it third and 17. Brian Price put Garrard on the ground again with a rush up the middle. He got off a shovel pass but it was well short. Very nice showing.
3:45: To the commenter who asked about the return competition, I'm thinking Spurlock is the real deal. I think he has the lead right now given Clifton Smith's physical setbacks, even though they're not his fault.
1:11: Josh Johnson was late on his third down throw to Reggie Brown and the ball got knocked away. Should have gotten it off earlier, in my opinion.
15:00: Play has been suspended because of lightning in the area. Yes, a lightning delay. Of all things.
15:00: Okay, we're back. Third and 1 for the Jags at their own 37.
14:12: Bucs caught a break with a holding penalty but Jags pick up the first down with a pass to Sims-Walker. But Raheem Morris is challenging the ruling. He seems to think the WR caught the ball while it was also in contact with the ground. I think they lose this one but it's close.
14:12: I want to correct that last comment about the SF Bay area. The Bucs ownership doesns't decide to black out the games. It's NFL policy.: No sellout, no TV. Now, they made a choice last year to eat the unsold tickets at great expense to themselves. But from a business standpoint, that's dumb.
14:12: As I figured, they lost the challenge.
12:51: McCoy with another QB hit. This guy is having a hell of a night. They can't block him.
11:34: McCoy just got a "sack" if you want to call it that. He ran Garrard out of bounds after a bad shotgun snap. He gets credit for giving great pursuit even if he didnt put him on the ground. Great motor.
11:07: Raheem blitzing quite often tonight. Wonder if this is going to be his M-O come the regular season. He sent Ronde and Quincy Black on the Jags' last possession. He is big on being aggressive. I kind of like it. He id definitely the anti-Monte. He hated to blitz.
9:10: Sabby gets a personal foul on punt coverage. After his jab at Raheem this week, I think that's his second one in just the last few days!
7:49: Bucs DEs on this possession are Michael Bennett and Tim Crowder. Mixing it up.
6:24: Also noticed the Bucs subbed Biggers (nickel) for Geno Hayes just now. Usually it's the strongside linebacker (Qincy Black) who comes out in nickel rather than the weakside (Hayes). Also, Bucs getting gashed all of a sudden in the run game. First and goal at the 10.
3:27: Barrett Ruud just picked off Garrard and returned it about 80 yards on third and goal from the 1. Waiting on a replay but looked like he just jumped the route. talk about a game changing play. Bucs now first and goal after Reggie Brown gets held in the end zone.
1:57: Henry, as to your recent comment, some of my colleagues and I have wondered aloud whether Sabby is a little exposed considering Cody Grimm looks good and Corey Lynch is at least serviceable. It's worth asking.
1:51: I keep hearing they're going to throw the ball to Earnest Graham outta the backfield. Well, they just did: For a TD. ... 10-3 Bucs
1:44: Regarding the DirecTV point, that only runs during the regular season. I don't believe the package covers preseason games. Although, at this rate, the regulrar season will be blacked out too.
:29: Not sure I like the way the Bucs have played D on this final series of the first half: They are giving Jags waaay too much room in the secondary and the Jags are picking them apart. They're at the 19 already
:01: Bucs hold Jax to a field goal. Ruud should have had another interception in the end zone. Ball went through his hands.
:01: That previous interception is the sort of game-changing play myself and others have wondered if Ruud was capable of. It's a start -- a big one.
15:00: Look for the starting offense to get another crack according to Mark Dominik. Only 19 first half snaps.
13:46: First offense is back. JJ just missed Reggie Brown on a deep ball down the sideline.
10:48: Okay, this is what Johnson has to avoid. He just overthrew Jerramy Stevens who is 6-7 for crying out loud! Then he throws a bit high to Reggie Brown on a play that would have set up first and goal.
10:36: Bucs settle for a field goal. And for what it's worth, Derrick Ward had runs of 9 and 12 yards on that possession. He actually looked pretty good. Haven't seen that in a while
4:07: Rudy Carpenter warming up. Guess the starters are done. He's actually warming up by throwing to Michael Clayton. Take that however you want to.
3:02: To the question about Josh Johnson, I must say I was impressed. A little bit erratic on some of his throws, but the guy is making much, much better decisions than last year. He used to be hard to watch when it came to decision making. Not so tonight. Looks very comfortable in the pocket. I hardly recognize the guy. And he throws a pretty pass most of the time, too. Has as much or more touch than Freeman.
I'm on a tight deadline for the paper folks, so won't hear much more from me. But in the meantime, to update you, Sabby Piscitelli is down on the far sideline and has been for a while. No word on what's wrong.
Sabby's up... I'm probably done here. But I will update you on the blog after the game once I've been to the locker room and get some details on what happened out there tonight.
3:59: Sabby has a mild concussion. Should be all right.
3:48: Spurlock just missed a 40-yard-plus reception from Carpenter. Stretched out but the ball was just a bit too far away. I must say, Spurlock really has some jets. He was flying.