Posts Tagged ‘Kellen Winslow’

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.

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Fred Dean en-route to one of his Superbowl rings as a 49er

Fred Dean en-route to one of his Superbowl rings as a 49er

He may have won his two Superbowl rings in the red and gold kit of the San Francisco 49ers but for many thousands of NFL fans Fred Dean was the San Diego Charger’s original sackmaster, ploughing his furrows through the likes of the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lines in the late 1970s.

It has been announced today that Dean joins thirty-three other former Bolts as the 34th member of theSan DIego Chargers Hall of Fame.

2008 is turning out to be a glorious year for Dean, as back in February he was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

I do wonder why it took so long for Dean to get elected into the ChargersHall of Fame, but with the likes of Lance Alworth, Charlie Joiner, Sid Luckman, Kellen Winslow (the original not his bad boy son), Dan Fouts and the man nicknamed the intellectual assassin offensive tackle Ron Mix already in the Californian Hall then it really isn’t that surprising.

In 2004 I had the absolute pleasure and honour to watch the San Diego Chargers play against the New York Jets at  Stadium. What made the day one of the most memorable sporting events I have ever been to however was that my wife and I watched the game from the 50 yard line with none other than Charger Hall of Fame inductee Ron Mix.

My wife worked with a professor (Speedy Rice) who studied law in California with Mr Mix – hence his nickname – the intellectualal assassin. Mr Mix also is in the NFL Hall of Fame and took great pleasure in flashing his Hall of Fame ring to our party as many times as he could. Aside from his rather dark sense of humour Mr Mix was a real gent, and it was a day I’ll never forget.

Whilst Ron Mix and Fred Dean’s paths never crossed in uniform, I am confident they have got together at Chargers reunions, and even Charger Hall of Fame events.

The Chargers press office said  “The NFL did not make sacks an official statistic until 1982, but numbers kept by teams indicate that he recorded nearly 100 sacks during his 11-year career. In 1978, Dean unofficially posted 15.5 sacks, which would be the third-highest single-season mark in Chargers history were it official. He unofficially logged nine sacks in 1979 and 10.5 in 1980.”

Some remarkable statistics when you look at it – above alcongratulations Fred, and maybe to celebrate you will come over to England in October and watch the NFL International game between the Chargers andthe New Orleans Saints on 26 October at Wembley.

If you come Fred I’ll buy you a cold one !

If anyone has any memories of Fred Dean playing please feel free to post…………