Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
1. It's business, not personal: Poor Mike Nugent. He's kicking against opponents, plus the memory of Matt Bryant. Nugent was supposedly an attractive alternative to Bryant because of his leg. Yet Nugent is 0-for-3 on attempts of 46 yards or longer. Bryant was 2-for-3 on his last three kicks of 46 yards or more in 2008.
2. Moving at a crawl: The offense was better than last week, but not by a lot. Take away a kneel-down and a short-field situation and the Bucs have netted 10 yards or less on 15 of their past 20 possessions. Hard to win when 75 percent of your drives are worthless.
3. Two kinds of turkeys: Which comes first, Thanksgiving or being mathematically eliminated in the NFC South? I'll take elimination, and a side of cranberry relish.
4. Short and not so sweet: The Bucs did not just change quarterbacks; they also changed offenses. And now they're stuck in offensive purgatory. It's wise to scrap the downfield passing game with a young quarterback, but the Bucs are not consistent enough for 12-play drives. Josh Johnson attempted only two passes of more than 15 yards. One was intercepted.
5. The (sort of) good news: Thanks to Aqib Talib, the Bucs have a positive turnover ratio this season, which is almost inexplicable for an 0-4 team. Just wait until they actually play a sloppy game.
A list of five
Five Bucs excuses.
5. Sucking up to Dan Snyder.
4. Receivers had just gotten used to throws over their heads.
3. Tanard Jackson made his "special" brownies.
2. Since when is covering the spread not good enough?
1. Second-quarter earnings are down for Manchester United.
Five unsolicited — and unhelpful — tips
1. Hurry, please: The timeout is your friend. Use it. The Bucs were called for delay of game on third down at the Washington 26. Wanna bet Nugent would have liked those 5 yards back on a kick that hit the upright?
2. Rethink third down: Converting 2 of 13 third downs is bad. Averaging 1.4 yards on 13 third-down plays is Gradkowski-esque. Ever heard of the slant pass?
3. Safety squeeze: No excuse for Talib on Santana Moss' 59-yard touchdown pass. He was beaten. But aren't safeties supposed to recognize deep routes by Pro Bowl receivers? Talib was hung out to dry by his teammates.
4. Don't get cute: I know it had the whole element-of-surprise thing working for it, but do you really want to go up the middle with a miniature back who has 10 career carries on a potential winning drive in the final minute? That wasn't Clifton Smith's fumble; that was the offensive coordinator's. Whoever he is these days.
5. Think Beach Boys concert: Hey, it usually helps the Rays sell out.
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
1. Saints: Just imagine if Reggie Bush weren't a fraud.
2. Vikings: Brett Favre vs. Green Bay? Yeah, and Captain Kirk is playing for the Klingons.
3. Colts: No Tony Dungy, no Marvin Harrison, no problem.
4. Giants: Back-to-back games against Bucs and Chiefs. How many bye weeks do they get?
30. Bucs: Eight-game losing streak is Tampa Bay's longest in more than 20 years.
Final five words
No rest for the dreary.