Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
A big step forward: If you were wondering whether the Bucs could improve on 2010, this was your answer. A year ago, the defense collapses. A year ago, the offense does not hold on to the ball. A year ago, the Bucs lose this game.
The good-old D days: Back in the time of Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin, this franchise relied almost exclusively on defense and routinely won games when scoring fewer than 17 points. This is the first time in four years the Bucs have pulled off that feat.
Sideline owner: You wonder if Arthur Blank ever walked the cashier line at Home Depot and congratulated workers for counting the correct change.
Note of caution: Josh Freeman threw an interception every 79 pass attempts last season. So far in 2011, he's averaging an interception every 26.5 passes. Even worse, he has thrown two interceptions inside the red zone. He did that once in all of 2010.
Persistence: Is there a better story in the locker room than Brian Price? He missed almost all of his rookie season with a serious injury, showed up in training camp still limping, and yet has become Tampa Bay's most disruptive defensive tackle. His first career sack on first and goal in the fourth quarter was a game-saver.
A list of five
Five ways to avoid another blackout.
5. Invite Red Sox fans. Hey, it works at Tropicana.
4. Those stoic-looking fans in the upper deck? Blow-up dolls.
3. New slogan: Expect less. Pay more.
2. Threaten to move the team to St. Petersburg.
1. Car pool with the Glazers.
Five reasons Bucs are smarter than us
Barrett who? He still has some things to learn in the passing game, but linebacker Mason Foster already appears to be a more dynamic player than Barrett Ruud. Letting Ruud walk away was a gamble, but the early returns on Foster are promising.
Investing in the foot: Signing free agent punter Michael Koenen not only strengthened Tampa Bay, it appears to have weakened Atlanta. The Bucs gained about 48 yards of field position in the battle of punters Sunday and about 6 yards on every kickoff.
Can you spell IQ? They haven't drafted anyone foolish enough to jump offside on fourth and 1 with the game on the line. (At least, as far as we know.)
Just saying: Raheem Morris must be doing something right in the fourth quarter. The Bucs are 6-1 in games decided by three points or fewer since the beginning of last season.
Smarter, but not genius: They still should have signed a scat back.
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
1. Packers: Suppose we could buy some of their fans?
2. Saints: Here's your new target, Tampa Bay.
3. Patriots: Even Sinatra occasionally burped.
4. Lions: Almost like Eisenhower was back in the White House.
10. Bucs: Three years later, who would have believed Jon Gruden would return as a broadcaster and not an opposing coach?
Final five words
You should have seen it.