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Defenses tighten grip on Galloway
By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
Published October 14, 2007
TAMPA - Because it's a copycat league, you can expect more teams to borrow the blueprint to stop Joey Galloway.
After his explosive start with 13 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns in his first three games, Galloway has been held to five catches for 57 yards and no scores in the past two.
It's not surprising that Galloway faces more zone coverage, a pick-your-poison gamble by opponents that the Bucs won't be able to beat running or with other receivers.
Of course, this is nothing new to Galloway. Deep threats rarely get man-to-man coverage. And that's even more likely with injuries to running backs Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman.
"Last week, we saw an awful lot of zone," quarterback Jeff Garcia said. "That's how teams have been playing us, and maybe it's because of our different usages of personnel groups because we move him around a lot on the field. They just simplify their defense and play zones. ... And when you're going into a game at Indianapolis where you're dealing with a lot of crowd noise, you're dealing with good rush ends and a situation where they're going to get off the ball a little faster than our O-line, it's tough to really allow plays to develop down the field.
"I think this week will be a different situation in the sense that now we're playing at home. ... Hopefully we'll be able to give him some opportunities where he can make some plays down the field and utilize his speed."
Others have benefited from the attention given to Galloway. Ike Hilliard leads the team with 23 catches for 304 yards. Tight end Alex Smith has 13 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Galloway is remaining patient. He had four receptions last week at Indianapolis and dropped another pass.
"The running game always helps the passing game, without a doubt," Galloway said. "I think we've got to make some defenses uncomfortable and make them come out of what they want to do. ... But when I have days when the numbers are low but I can take two or three guys out of coverage and let someone else catch one, that's my job."
SIMMS FALLOUT: If you think Chris Simms is on board with the decision to place him on injured reserve, think again.
Normally one of the most accommodating players on the team, Simms has refused all requests for interviews and did not return some calls from coaches Tuesday.
The reason is obvious. When Simms was struggling with the effects of abdominal surgery during the offseason and training camp, team officials insisted there was nothing wrong with him. They made it appear as though most of his problems were in his head or that he couldn't compete with Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown.
Simms made it clear he did not want to go on injured reserve long before the final roster cutdown. So the Bucs kept him among four quarterbacks rather than let him take his $3-million signing bonus and become a free agent.
But as soon as injuries mounted and the Bucs needed a roster spot to sign a running back, they admitted that Simms is just having some problems from that spleen surgery.
The sad thing is, Simms has made tremendous progress and believes he could play effectively if called upon. In this case, Simms' silence speaks volumes.