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News » Second guesses: Bucs blow it; Singletary goes off


Second guesses: Bucs blow it; Singletary goes off


Second guesses: Bucs blow it; Singletary goes off
While watching Jeff Garcia's final drive against the Cowboys, I really thought he was trying to put the Bucs into field goal range. Except that Tampa Bay was trailing Dallas by four points.


But the dink-and-dunk approach simply didn't make any sense. Jon Gruden's offense was ugly and painful to watch.

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The Bucs began their final possession with 4:15 left in the game, plus they had all three of their timeouts. In 16 plays, they covered 56 yards, a measly 3.5 yards per snap. When dropping back, Garcia seemed to look short and then even shorter.

Yes, there was pressure, but not on every dropback.

What's wrong with looking deep? What's wrong with throwing a pass 10 or 15 yards past the line of scrimmage?

Garcia simply refused to do it, and the Cowboys' umbrella defense succeeded to the max. Most teams have been picking on the Dallas safeties this season, but not Garcia and the Bucs. Garcia did throw for 228 yards, 106 more than winning quarterback Brad Johnson.

Tampa Bay will rehash this drive and wonder what it did wrong. This bungled opportunity may come back to haunt the Bucs, especially if they are matched in a wild card tie-breaker with the Cowboys. After allowing six touchdowns the past two games, the Cowboys didn't allow one on Sunday. It was a performance that may have saved their season.

For the Bucs, this is one loss that will be difficult to accept for a very, very long time. With the exception of Roy Williams' height-advantage touchdown catch over Phillip Buchanon, the Bucs totally dominated the Dallas offense. Monte Kiffin's side played well enough to win.

Singletary singling Davis out

We can say that Mike Singletary is auditioning for a full-time head coaching gig in San Francisco. He may or may not end up being selected by the York Family, but after one game, he got the attention of his players and tight end Vernon Davis in particular.

Singletary coached like he played, when he was the demanding middle linebacker of the Chicago Bears back in the 1980s. He played hard and accepted nothing less from his teammates. He played to win.

Now, let's not confuse the current collection of players in San Francisco with that great Chicago team, one of the most dominant Super Bowl champions of its era.

Early in the fourth quarter after Davis collected a silly personal foul penalty and later moped on the sidelines, Singletary basically didn't like his body language and attitude. He told him to leave the sidelines and take a shower. Stunned, Davis started to walk toward the locker room. But when Singletary noticed he left his gloves and helmet behind, he told Davis to return and pick up his belongings.

Later, Singletary said he'd rather play with 10 players who respected the team than with players who were thinking simply about themselves. Davis, a first-round pick, has been a major disappointment. He frustrated Mike Nolan, the previous coach, but when you are stuck with a $23-million contract and more than $16 million in guaranteed money, you learn to cope with disappointment and lackadaisical performances from players like Davis.

Now, Singletary won't win over the locker room with statements like this one because too many players don't care about being challenged. They have their money, and they are happy win or lose. It's one of the biggest problems in professional sports, but very few of those old Chicago Bears will second-guess Singletary's instincts. This guy was a winner, and he's a Hall of Famer. He respects the game and players who give their all. We can only hope that more San Francisco players follow Singletary and not Davis.

Cards moving closer to playoffs

The Arizona Cardinals are getting closer to being a playoff team. But they botched a great opportunity against the Panthers on Sunday, and I'm sure that coach Ken Whisenhunt will second guess his gamble to throw a pass out of a field-goal formation late in the first half.

Instead of kicking a 40-yard field goal, Cardinals punter and holder Dirk Johnson threw a 10-yard pass to Jerame Tuman, who couldn't get by Carolina rookie safety Charles Godfrey. The kid didn't panic and made a sure open-field tackle, forcing the Cardinals to turn over the ball on downs.

In hindsight, the Cardinals would have been better off with three more points and a 10-point halftime lead on the road. Instead, those three points and Johnson's botched hold on an extra-point attempt proved to be the difference in a 27-23 loss to the Panthers.

Have you ever heard of Andre Johnson?

Well, the Houston Texan receiver may be the NFL's greatest player who nobody knows. Johnson suffers from playing in Houston. They aren't a prime-time franchise; heck, they haven't been a winning franchise, either.

But Johnson continues to produce week after week no matter if it's Matt Schaub or Sage Rosenfels tossing him the football. Johnson had 11 catches for 143 yards on Sunday in a blowout win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnson now has 56 receptions for 772 yards, tops in the NFL today.

This is one special player, and if you watch him every week, he makes at least one or two spectacular receptions every game. The Texans are 3-4 now, but they must start winning (they have Minnesota, Baltimore and Indianapolis over the next three weeks) in order to have a wild-card chance in the AFC.

But they are doing something right. Johnson is a Pro Bowl receiver, and Mario Williams is a Pro Bowl defensive end. These are two very good players, but they need the team to start winning for the entire country to start noticing.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 27, 2008

Omar Gaither Name: Omar Gaither
#96
Position: LB
Age: 24
Experience: 3 years
College: Tennessee
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