Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Bryant’

Buccs defenders young and old are Wembley ticket stars in 2009

Buccs defenders young and old are Wembley ticket stars in 2009

With a month to go until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New England Patriots it was with a great sense of relief that I was able to go to my local sorting office this morning to pick up my tickets.

As the game is being treated as a Buccs home game the tickets were always going to have Tampa players on them.

The decision to go with wily veteran five-time Pro Bowl and Superbowl winning cornerback Ronde Barber (who maybe playing his final season this year) and rising star inside linebacker Barrett Ruud is a wise one.

Barber has been there for the entire Buccs revolution, from the Orange days of woe to the Pewter Power champions of the NFL.

Ruud in my humble opinion should have made the 2008 Pro Bowl, yes he is that good. The former Nebraska star already has 18 tackles in just two games.

As you can see above I was also lucky to get Tailgate tickets for the Wembley game. The NFL are supposedly bringing some items from NFL legends for all of us fans to gawp at. I will be bringing my camera for sure.

The catalogue is also a nice move. I will not be buying any Buccs or Patriots gear but I think this catalogue is a genuinely good marketing tool. On the front is wide receiver Antonio Bryant (centre) defensive end Gaines Adams (left) and Ruud again (right). Unfortunately Bryant has been injured but I hope he is going to be fit for October 25.

Interesting to also see Pepsi Max as the sponsor of this International Series game. Pepsi Max are also sponsoring the Channel 5 NFL magazine show. It is a very encouraging sign to see one of the fizzy drinks giants putting money behind promoting the NFL.

The game ticket has some very smart silver embossing on the NFL logo, and where the teams are named on the top right hand side.

The tailgate ticket has all 32 team helmets on it which is a nice touch. The NFL marketing people have done a lot more thinking this year.

Lets just hope that there is no rain before or during the game this time, the rest seems pretty much in hand.

What are your thoughts on the tickets?

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bucccccccccccccTwo of the busier teams so far in the NFL Free Agency period have been the London bound Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots.

The Buccaneers have given the Washington Redskins a run for their money with the following moving to the sunshine state;

***BIG GAINS***

Kellen Winslow – Tight End (from Cleveland by trade) This guy is a stud and maybe the best Buccs TE since Jimmie Giles.

Derrick Ward – Running Back (from New York Giants) A burner who will add great value to the backfield, with Earnerst Graham and Skoda Williams – well he breaks down far too many times to be called Cadillac.

Mike Nugent – Kicker (from New York Jets) I always think of either gold or chicken nuggets when I read out his name, Nugent is a good young kicker.

In addition Tampa re-signed – Tight End Jerramy Stevens, Wide Receiver Antonio Bryant, Wide Receiver Michael Clayton (not the one played by pretty boy George Clooney),  Safety Jermaine Phillips, Wide Receiver Cortez Hankton.

***BIG LOSSES***

Jovan Haye – Defensive Tackle (to Tennessee)

Philip Buchannon – Cornerback (to Detroit)

In addition Tampa released Linebacker Derick Brooks, Running Back Warwick Dunn, Wide Receiver Ike Hilliard, Linebacker Cato June and will not re-sign Quarterback Jeff Garcia.

So what does all this mean for new head coach Raheem Morris?

Pretty simple – heading into the 2009 NFL Draft the focus for the Buccs will be on defense.

It also means that Wembley bound Tampa Bay will need to get an offensive protagonist and a good one at that as the inclusion of Ward, Winslow and keeping Antonio Bryant means the supporting cast is already in place.

Luke McCown, Brian Griese and the unproven Josh Johnson do not make me think 11-5 and playoff win, more like 7-9 and another season of frustration. The consensus is that this is a rebuilding year for Tampa Bay, but if they do manage to get a stud qb in the next month then they can help expectations rise to a 10-6 or 11-5 season. Matt Cassell would have surely had more immediate fun/wins here than at Kansas City?

The current FA quarterbacks left who have started many games – JP Losman and Byron Leftwich (I still love the memeory of his college offensive linemen carrying him as he fought injury as a Marshall QB – see below) are not really the answer.

I am not ignoring the need for the Buccs to upgrade their offensive line, but defense is where the Buccs will be drawing in new blood at the 2009 draft.

With Derrick Brooks released and Ronde Barber getting older (maybe 1 or 2 seasons left realistically) the team will look for a stud linebacker in round 1. Someone like  Clay Matthews (the younger) or James Laurinaitis would be great picks for the Buccs.

Young defensive players such as Barrett Ruud, Gaines Adams, Aquib Talib, Quincy Black and Sabby Piscitelli are all players you would describe as having a huge upside, and Ruud was worthy of a spot on the NFC 2008 Pro Bowl roster.  

With some clever drafting and a few tweaks in Free Agency the Buccs can be a force to be reconed with, and as ever those people fortunate enough to get (and afford) tickets to the Tampa Bay v New England NFL game in London in October will be able to see of all the moves in March mean success in 2009-10.

The Buccs are doing the right thing by getting younger – but 2009 may be a tough year ahead.