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A big miscalculation by Tampa Bay Buccaneers: disappointing defensive line

Defensive end Gaines Adams (one sack), left, and defensive tackle Chris Hovan (no sacks) have had little impact for the Bucs this season.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Defensive end Gaines Adams (one sack), left, and defensive tackle Chris Hovan (no sacks) have had little impact for the Bucs this season.

TAMPA — Among the many miscalculations by the Bucs entering the season — there were several — was overestimating the talent on their defensive line.

DE Gaines Adams, the fourth overall pick in 2007, gets much of the scrutiny for producing just 131/2 sacks in 36 games.

But would any of the other starters on the line — DT Ryan Sims, DT Chris Hovan and DE Jimmy Wilkerson — have similar roles on another team?

The Bucs are tied for 23rd with six sacks, four from the defensive line. Wilkerson leads the team with two.

What's more, sack specialist DE Stylez White, who leads the team with 10 quarterback pressures, has no sacks this season and had only five in 2008.

Sims is coming off his best game of the season at Washington: five tackles, including two for a loss, and two QB pressures.

The Bucs are on pace for 24 sacks, which would be the fewest since they had 20 in 1994.

Fortunately, the draft is deep at two need positions for the Bucs: defensive tackle and cornerback.

Good to the last drop: You may have heard about Raheem Morris' challenge. He dared any member of the media to question why WR Michael Clayton was part of the team.

After the past three weeks, there will be no shortage of takers. According to Stats Inc., Clayton's four drops through four games are the most in the NFC. With seven catches, that's only a 63.6 success rate with passes that hit his hands.

Worse yet, Clayton seemed to be making excuses last week.

"I've got to get more opportunities," he said. "I'm a guy that can help this team win. We've got to get our players the ball. Everybody needs more opportunities."

Music City Miracle: Morris likes to keep his team loose, but after a winless start, sometimes the atmosphere can send the wrong message.

For most of the season, the team listened to hip-hop during their stretching period. But after an 0-3 start, Girls, Girls, Girls by Jay-Z didn't seem to capture the urgency of the situation.

So last week, the 0-4 Bucs literally changed their tune.

It began Wednesday with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Unfortunately, the first cut was Free Fallin'. No joke.

The next day there was Twisted Sister belting out We're Not Gonna Take It, followed by Survivor's Eye of the Tiger.

Why not Bryant?: If you're still wondering why the Bucs didn't sign K Matt Bryant after releasing Mike Nugent, here are some clues.

Start with the fact that they hadn't seen Bryant compete since the second week of training camp. Moreover, his hamstring injury could recur at any time. And the Bucs learned that Bryant had a less-than-impressive workout with the Browns (he worked out with the Giants last week but wasn't signed).

But one of the biggest reasons might be this: Bryant wasn't going to come cheap. Nugent walked out with his $2 million base salary guaranteed. That's why the Bucs went with inexperience — Shane Andrus has never attempted a field goal in a regular-season game. And he will be paid the first-year veteran minimum of $310,000.

Does Morris have confidence in Andrus after watching him last week?

"You never know with kickers," Morris said. "Nugent went 6-for-6 every week here in practice. … That's just something where you've got to throw the young man into the fire, let him go out there and kick it under the lights and with all the people screaming and see how it goes. … I can sit here and make some stuff up to you about technique and operation time and all that type of stuff, but I'm looking at it like you right now. I'm a fan. Does it go in? Good."

A big miscalculation by Tampa Bay Buccaneers: disappointing defensive line 10/10/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:27pm]

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