TAMPA - It’s reunion Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
The 2002 Super Bowl Champs will be in the house, peering down on their successors 10 years later against a team they beat for the NFC title, the Philadelphia Eagles.
First this year's version.
I was a bit disappointed in the results at Denver last Sunday. What I saw in that game and the Broncos win over Oakland Thursday night, is their ability to make successful adjustments to their scheme to make the 3rd quarter count.
Yet, this Bucs team ended up losing by eight. Too big a hole to dig and shouldn’t have been in that position.
Denver’s TD pick of Josh Freeman’s pass when he got hit right as he unloaded was the game-changer. A missed assignment the culprit.
Philadelphia is now on deck. They are no Denver.
However, they played with plenty of intensity and heart against Dallas in their latest loss.
You could read the hurt and disappointment on their faces as the cameras panned the sideline when the game was clock was ticking down to zero.
I feel for Andy Reid. He is a guy who, as Bucs Head Coach Greg Schiano said, is a giving man more than anyone will know. Schiano said Reid did things for him that he kept private.
Now the longest-tenured coach with one team is in the hot seat, and likely to be fired at season’s end.
But Reid has a season to finish, apparently with backup quarterback Nick Foles.
I saw enough of Foles against Dallas to realize he is no beginner.
A quick learner, knows his reads, and has mobility to get out of trouble, providing the Bucs exert a pass rush.
Beyond that, I just don’t see anything that would put the Bucs defense on notice.
Problem is, the Bucs are just horrible against the pass.
This will be a season-ending albatross to fix in the upcoming draft, but it does little to satisfy the needs of the Bucs right now.
The Bucs offense is not posting those 30-plus point games lately……20-24 pts is about it.
So the chance of out-gunning anyone from here to the finish is likely a pipe dream.
I know the Bucs can move the ball in the air against the Eagles D.
Will they be able to run it?
Another key this week as was last week.
As I look at Sunday’s game, I see a two-fold kicker to get the Bucs engines going.
One is they are in a must-win situation from here to end to have any chance at a wild-card playoff spot.
Second, that awesome team that won the Super Bowl will be there.
The cheers we’ll hear at halftime will be deafening. A packed house is expected.
It will feel like old times, but in a new era.
As Schiano said earlier this week, they need to do their part this week.
I’m quite sure that Ronde Barber might have flashed his Super Bowl ring in that DB room this week.
He should have.
Whether that will intimidate or provide extra drive for the young corners, we shall see.
I am looking forward to this Sunday.
I get to see some guys who I haven’t seen in 10-years.
A part of Buccaneer history that will forever been engrained in my mind.
Now, we must deal with the here and now. Bucs are a 7 1/2 point favorites.
I like the Bucs to win, but I don’t like the line.
It started at 8 ½ and a ton of people jumped on it, dropping it a point.
Still too high.
I’m going with the Eagles plus the 7 ½, with the hopes we have two things to celebrate by 4:15 Sunday afternoon. A Bucs win and a memorable few minutes honoring the boys of 2002.
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