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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at Sunday's Bucs-Seahawks game.
By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
Published September 10, 2007
Jeff Garcia's second pass of the day was batted down. Wonder if Chris Simms was thinking, "Hmm, I could've done that."
Jeff Garcia's first bomb actually reached the receiver and was caught by Joey Galloway for a 49-yard gain. Wonder if Bruce Gradkowski was saying, "Hmm, I couldn't have done that."
Yes, Brian Baldinger is the name of the color analyst who called Sunday's game, and, yes, I understand that nicknames come from shortening someone's name. But whenever Dick Stockton or anyone called Baldinger "Baldy," it just kind of creeped me out. Go with B-Square or Big Bad Bri. Anything but Baldy. It's just creepy, isn't it?
Hey, the Bucs had a winner after all Sunday - new radio analyst Dave Moore. It's only one game, but he already gets a vote for best radio analyst in Bucs history. It helps that a year ago at this time he was inside an NFL huddle. He had great insights, offered on-the-spot analysis and tendencies based on formations and even was critical when he needed to be. And he had a good repartee with play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff. A good start.
Good job by analyst Brian Baldinger (Big Bad Bri) to point out which Bucs players - the two tackles, the tight end and the slot man - are most affected by the noise in Seattle, which is reputed to have the loudest crowd in the NFL. That's the kind of analysis that only those who played the game can provide, and it goes beyond what casual football fans can figure out for themselves.
Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has forgotten more about defense than I'll ever know, but if I were calling plays, I don't think I'd ever have linebacker Barrett Ruud assigned to cover speedy wide receiver Bobby Engram. A 49-yard bomb to Engram led to Seattle's first points - a short Josh Brown field goal.
And I don't think I'd have Derrick Brooks in one-on-one coverage with speedy back Maurice Morris, who put the final nail in the Bucs' coffin when he caught a 34-yard touchdown to make it 20-6 with eight minutes left.
It only took a half for quarterback Jeff Garcia to win over fans and the media.
During halftime, Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson said, "Looks like Jon Gruden picked the right guy."
Partner Howie Long chipped in with, "I think (Garcia) is a short-term fix."
Fox analyst Brian Baldinger wondered aloud if the Bucs should've made more of an effort to end up with wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the draft instead of Gaines Adams.
"They may regret not moving up to get him," B-Squared said.
With the way the Bucs looked when Jeff Garcia was out, they might regret not taking Brady Quinn.
With the Bucs trailing 13-6 early in the fourth quarter, Fox analyst Brian Baldinger said, "It's almost like the old days. If the Bucs are going to win this game, it's going to have to be the defense that does it."
Don't you get the feeling that will be the theme for the season, especially if Jeff Garcia keeps getting thrown around like a chew toy?
On Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN, reporter Chris Mortensen listed his five coaches on the hot seat. Not surprisingly, the Bucs' Jon Gruden came in at No. 2 behind the Giants' Tom Coughlin.
"With his head on the block," Mortensen said, "we could get vintage Chucky on the sidelines this year. The Bucs have had just one winning season since Gruden won the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy's team."
With Tony Dungy's team? That might be true, but still ... ouch!
ESPN football analyst Merril Hoge, after Sunday's game:
"The thing that concerns me about the Bucs is the lack of a running game. ... Cadillac Williams can't do it. They need to find someone who can."
Jack Markle, a reader from Clearwater, sent this letter in during the Bucs game. He has a big beef, and it's hard to blame him:
"I just spent over three hours watching the Eagles/Packers game only to have Fox switch it to another game just as Green Bay recovered a fumbled punt with 59 seconds left in a tied game. What do the money-grubbing (people) at the TV stations think they're doing? I'm never going to watch a 1 o'clock game again. Why should I have my excitement, my enjoyment absolutely ruined by them pulling another Heidigame? If we face the possibility of not seeing the end of any game starting at 1 when another follows at 4:15, why watch?"
The reason for the switch? The 4:15 game was the Bucs, and the local markets - in this case, Tampa Bay and Seattle - are guaranteed to see every play of their home team's game. Still, you can understand the frustration of fans who were sucked into the 1 o'clock game.
Why even have a sideline reporter if the person is not going to do the most basic job a sideline reporter is supposed to do, which is give injury updates. Jeff Garcia left the game midway through the third quarter - and it wasn't until the start of fourth that Fox reported that the Bucs were not saying what was wrong with him. When Fox finally did go to reporter Cara Capuano, she said Garcia was back in the game when, in fact, he wasn't.