tampabay.com

Talk of the town

Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.

By JOHN ROMANO
Published October 8, 2006


1. BANDWAGON LOADING AT THE CORNER OF HYPE AND HYSTERIA: All things being equal (except for the quantity of spleens), wouldn’t you say Bruce Gradkowski is Tampa Bay’s current, and future, quarterback? I know you’re not supposed to lose your job because of an injury, but Chris Simms was ineffective even before he got hurt. Naturally, things will change if Gradkowksi struggles in the coming weeks, but I have to believe it is now his job to lose.

2. THEY GET YIN AND LOSE YANG: Just when the offensive line gets respectable, the defensive line goes soft. No sacks, no turnovers, no impact. What does it tell you when the top four tacklers of the game are defensive backs? Perhaps  the defensive line is being blown off the ball?

3. NOW PLAYING OFFENSIVE TACKLE: Please, no whining about the penalty called on Joey Galloway on the late drive. It was a textbook pick play. Galloway had better blocking technique than I’ve ever seen out of Kenyatta Walker.

4. MORE TROUBLE AHEAD: What can be worse than an 0-4 record? An 0-4 record with a nasty schedule. The remaining 12 opponents have a combined record of 33-20.

5. JUST WONDERING: You were 0-3 and averaging less than 10 points a game. When New Orleans offered a gift timeout with two seconds remaining before intermission and the ball near midfield, why wouldn’t you take a shot at a Hail Mary toss, or a pass interference penalty, in the end zone? When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose. I think Dylan said that. Or maybe Vince Naimoli.

A LIST OF FIVE

Five things Chris Simms wanted to say out loud on Sunday:
5. “Did you read Gruden’s lips? I thought I was his favorite $^@*%#.”
4. “No more morphine. Get me the Jack Daniels.”
3. “I never lost when Cadillac rushed for 100 yards.”
2.  “Other than the medical staff, I don’t see anyone who can stop Gradkowski.”
1. “I wonder how much apartments cost in Cleveland.”

FIVE ROOKIE QBS
Ten quarterbacks were chosen ahead of Gradkowski in the 2006 draft. He is one of five rookie QBs who have seen action this season.

1. Vince Young, Titans, No. 3 pick: He is completing less than 50 percent of his passes (45.9) and has four interceptions in 74 attempts. On the plus side, he leads all rookie quarterbacks with 351 yards.

2. Matt Leinart, CARDINALS, No. 10 pick: Like Gradkowski, he made his first NFL start on Sunday. Leinart threw for two TDs and 253 yards in a loss. He has two interceptions in 44 attempts for the season.

3. Kellen Clemens, Jets, No. 49 PICK: Has moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart, ahead of Patrick Ramsey. Has one incomplete pass and two sacks.

4. Brodie Croyle, CHIEFS, No. 85 pick: Moved up the depth chart with Trent Green’s injury but still hasn’t thrown a pass.

5. Gradkowski, BUCS, No. 194 pick: Cheaper, less acclaimed and, so far, better than the rest. He has completed 59.4 percent of his passes, has two touchdown, no interceptions and rushed for 19 yards Sunday.

FIVE SUPER PICKS
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLI in Miami.
1. Bears: Winning by an average score of 31-7.
2. Colts: Two close calls against teams with losing records. Is this the same team without Edgerrin James?
3. Ravens: Eight years into his tenure, Brian Billick is still winning with defense. Do you suppose we can stop calling him an offensive genius?
4. Bengals: Boosting the economy in Cincinnati, one bail bondsman at a time.20. Bucs: The last time the Bucs lost consecutive games while scoring 21 points or more, Charles Mincy was the free safety. (That was 1998, if you really care.)

FINAL FIVE WORDS
Making losing much more interesting.