Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
1. The more things change: Sunday you saw how a defense remains among the league's best for more than a decade. You have an old guy (Derrick Brooks) looking potent on one leg and a young guy (Gaines Adams) making amends for a poor first week. You have the guy in charge (Monte Kiffin) with another stellar game plan, and you have the kids (Sabby Piscitelli and Aqib Talib) making names for themselves. In the end, you have the NFL's longest-running defensive highlight show.
2. I'll see your 71.3 QB rating and raise you to 82.7: Brian Griese looked like a Pro Bowl quarterback Sunday. Of course, the Pro Bowl QB he looked like was Jeff Garcia.
3. Anyone find a quarterback? Among the athletes who showed up for the game: Tiger Woods, Vinny Lecavalier and James Blake. Among the athletes missing: Atlanta QB Matt Ryan.
4. The "white tiger" clocks out: Brooks has a bad hamstring and refuses to leave the huddle. Joey Galloway has a foot strain and can't even be bothered to stay on the sideline for the final three minutes. And the Bucs thought Keyshawn Johnson was self-indulgent?
5. Rewriting History 101: After the game, Jon Gruden made light of critics who said Earnest Graham did not have the speed to be a top back. So I guess the Bucs knew all along that Graham was a star and they were simply running an elaborate ruse when they released him twice, drafted another back in the first round and kept Graham buried on the depth chart for four years. Smooth.
A list of five
Five possible headlines from the game.
5. Garcia Volunteers To Start All Remaining Preseason Games
4. Referees Penalize Selves For Unnecessary Dumbness
3. Graham Asks For Recount Of 2003 Draft
2. Drunk Fan Ejected For Cheering Tight End
1. Bruce Allen Says Bucs Never Made Offer For Brian Griese
Five reasons to be thankful
1. On a team that cannot depend on its No. 1 receiver and has yet to develop a young receiver, Ike Hilliard plays hurt, goes over the middle and does not drop balls. The Bucs converted six third downs, and Hilliard was responsible for four.
2. Graham never gave up. He has gained 775 yards in his past nine starts and threw the key block on Warrick Dunn's TD run.
3. The Bucs won't ask Piscitelli to run the option offense.
4. The college scouting department understands the value of the second round. Barrett Ruud, Jeremy Trueblood, Arron Sears and Piscitelli have been the second-round picks since 2005.
5. Be thankful for the Falcons. They are the only team the Bucs have beaten in their past seven games (regular season and playoffs).
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.
1. Cowboys: I sorta liked Terrell Owens when he was nuts. Now he's just obnoxious.
2. Eagles: Check back with me around 10:48 tonight.
3. Steelers: The Colts lack depth, the Pats Tom Brady. The Steelers just might sneak in.
4. Panthers: Maybe everybody was a year off when they predicted big things for Carolina in 2007.
15. Bucs: Be loud, and be proud. The Bucs are the most penalized team in the NFL.
Final five words
Luke McCown throwing in bullpen.