Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
1. From Cover 2 to cover who? In 17 games last season, including the playoffs, the Bucs defense gave up two touchdown passes of 39 yards or more. On Sunday, they gave up three. For now, we'll call it a fluke. But we reserve the right to call it an omen at some later point.
2. Another ominous sign: Tampa Bay's older players looked like older players. Ronde Barber gave up the longest touchdown pass the Bucs have allowed since 1995, Derrick Brooks tweaked a hamstring, Jeff Garcia was rusty, Joey Galloway had little impact and Kevin Carter went missing.
3. Kim Kardashian loves her Trojan: After that performance, Reggie Bush will probably demand a raise. At least, that's how he used to handle it at USC.
4. One step forward and 10 steps backward: An offense that is short on weapons cannot afford to sabotage possessions with silliness. Between them, Jeremy Trueblood and Arron Sears committed five penalties (one was declined) and every one of those possessions ended with a punt.
5. Pick your bad news: You can say the Saints have a dynamic offense, or you can say the Bucs have holes on defense. Either way, the ramifications are the same. New Orleans looks like the team to beat in the NFC South.
A list of five
Five surprises in the Bucs opener.
5. Retired Brett Favre's No. 4 jersey in a pregame ceremony.
4. Ed Glazer released in a salary cap move.
3. Game plan disguised in Jeff Faine's tattoos.
2. The guy covering Reggie Bush in the fourth quarter? Yup, Troy Percival.
1. Updated slogan: Pound the Ba-rock.
Five reasons for optimism
1. Between them, Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn had 19 carries for 145 yards. This tailback-by-committee thing may be even more effective than having Cadillac Williams carrying the load in 2005.
2. Matt Bryant put his awful preseason behind him. With his two field goals, Bryant has now hit 35 of his past 36 from under 40 yards.
3. Barrett Ruud looked good on blitzes — including the one that led to Phillip Buchanon's interception return for a touchdown — which has not been a recent trait of Bucs linebackers.
4. The 352 yards of total offense was better than Tampa Bay did in 12 of their 17 games last season.
5. Sorry, I only had eight hours to think about this.
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.
1. Cowboys: This should lift Jerry Jones' face, um, I mean spirits.
2. Steelers: Forget Tony Dungy, how about Mike Tomlin returning to Raymond James?
3. Eagles: Just flattering Donovan McNabb before the Bucs go after him in 2009.
4. Jets: At least Brett Favre has two good legs.
15. Bucs: Lost three consecutive season openers for the first time since 1984-86.
Final five words
Disappointing but not that discouraging.