Tag Archives: Tampa Bay

Sunburn, Beer pong and a fourth quarter showcase by Manning: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants 16th Sept 2012

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I’m back from New Jersey and it was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had!

For a look back at the game there is a good article here:

A look back at the Giants’ 41-34 win against the Buccaneers

I got to the tailgate at about 8am and wandered around for an hour or so before approaching a group to see if I could buy a beer. I made the right choice! The guys that I met gave me the beer, and many more and fed me all morning until kickoff. I couldn’t have met a nicer group of fans. They made my trip.

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Mike, Joe, Chris & Jaime – the four best people in the world to tailgate with before a game

We played Beer-Pong (a complex game that I won’t go into here) all morning, ate great food and generally laughed away the morning until kickoff:

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Joe teaching me the nuances of Beer Pong

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Chatting about Giants football and catching the sun

I arrived in the stadium (merry from plenty of lager) in time for the National Anthem. My seat in row 1 was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have been closer to the field and when the ball was at the far end the HD screens were just like watching on TV so you didn’t miss a moment. They even had NFL Redzone highlights on of other games during the TV timeouts.

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A rather sunburnt me in MetLife stadium during the game.

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Andre Brown (Running Back) awaits the opening kickoff. After Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury Brown carried the load for the Giants and averaged 5.5yards per carry and a TD.

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The view from my seat as Brown celebrates his TD late in the 4th to give the Giants their lead.

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A professional photo of the same celebration

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The Giants celebrate another TD

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The Giants D gets to work in the 4th quarter after tying the game

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Eli throws a toss to rookie first round pick David Wilson in the 3rd quarter.

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The next day’s New York Post celebrating Eli’s record breaking day

One final word on the replacement referees; there seemed to be a lot of contact and holding by Corner-backs on receivers down the field and very few flags. At least one of these led to an interception and others led to big missed plays. The NFL needs to get it together and get a deal done to get the real refs back on the field – and they need it done quickly.

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8am in East Rutherford, New Jersey

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The view of the Giants’ Timex practice facility from my hotel room.

There was also a great view of the sun rising over Manhattan across the East River in the other direction.

At 7am (before my breakfast) I saw the Buccaneers’ advance party of coaches and staff leave for the stadium.

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Their 3 team coaches are here already to take the players to the game.

I saw TB linebacker Quincy Black getting in the hotel lift when I arrived yesterday. Can’t get over the sheer size of these players.

Looking forward to getting stuck into the tailgate party in the stadium car park in an hour or so…

Here’s my look ahead to the game

A look ahead to Week 2: Buccaneers @ Giants 16th September 2012

This week 2 match up is the Giants game that I am most looking forward to this season. This is for a very simple reason; I will be sitting in row 1 of Metlife Stadium with 80,000 other Giants fans. I will be writing a lot more about my day at the Meadowlands in the run up to it and afterwards (including copious photos) but what I want to do today is purely concentrate on the story lines around this game and the key match ups that I will be watching unfold on the field.

The last two meetings of these teams have been Giants wins in Florida, 24-0 in the 2009 regular season and and 24-14 in the wild-card round of the 2007 post-season.

This is a very different Buccaneers team to those that the Giants saw in those two games. Under Raheem Morris this young team had an excellent 2010 season (narrowly missing the play-offs with a 10-6 record) behind the arm and legs and exciting young QB Josh Freeman. In 2011 they failed to mature into that promise as a ‘youngry’ (young and hungry) team and finished with a disappointing 4-12 record and cost head coach Raheem Morris his job.

So the 2012 team is an enigma. They are certainly stacked with young talent but potentially may be lacking some veteran locker-room leadership. The question is which team will show up in New Jersey in mid-September? The focused and (at times) lucky Buccaneers from 2010 or the in-disciplined sloppy team that played in 2011.

I’m interested to see how new head coach Greg Schiano has been able to shape and lead this team through the off-season, pre-season and into week 1. He certainly is no stranger to dealing with, and getting results from, young players. Schiano spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach of Rutgers University.

Update 07/08/12: A nice article about Buccaneers training camp.

For the Giants, defending their position as champions, this is a game that they should win if they are going to be taken seriously. They will have a lot of time to prepare for this game and correct any issues from their game against the Cowboys, as their Week 1 game will played over 10 days before.

The key for them will be limiting Josh Freeman, not just hitting and sacking him, but holding him in the pocket. It is important that they force Freeman to win the game with his arm and not by leaking out of the pocket and gaining yards with his feet.

The other key will be stopping the Buccaneers bruising running game behind LeGarrette Blount. If the Giants can take an early lead and establish the run then the Buccaneers should struggle to win the game with Freeman’s arm.

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My score prediction for this one is a comfortable win to the Giants if they execute their game plan – maybe 21 – 10.

Key Match Ups

Buccaneers Guard Carl Nicks vs Giants Defensive line

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Carl Nicks is a big guard and a former pro-bowl player for the Saints but when the Giants get into a pass rush situation and move Tuck and Pierre-Paul into interior line positions whilst rushing Umenyiora and potentially Kiwanuka from the edges that is a lot of firepower for O-Lines to face. If the Bucs get caught in long 3rd down situations or chasing a big Giants lead then Nicks will be tested by the Giants line.

UPDATE: 03/08/2012

Carl Nicks is reportedly having an excellent training camp with the Buccaneers.

Buccaneers Secondary vs Victor Cruz

The Bucs’ Defensive Backs are young and athletic but Cruz made a living last season running the ‘option’ route from the slot and getting open against wily veteran backs. I’d be surprised if they have the talent to contain Victor Cruz from the slot as well as Hakeem Nicks and potentially Hixon or Randle outside the numbers.

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Buccaneers TE Dallas Clark vs Giants LBs / Safeties

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The long-time safety blanket for Peyton Manning’s Colts is one of the veterans the Bucs have added in the off season. Clark is a big target with sure hands and a knack for getting open. If Freeman can avoid the pass rush long enough to find him then he will have an out-let against the rush.

Clark can line up in the slot receiver position or in the traditional Tight-End position and he is a nightmare for a safety or linebacker in man-man coverage. This will be a sleepness night for Jacquian Williams, Antrel Rolle or Matthias Kiwanuka prior to covering him. If there is any doubt what kind of threat a big and skilled receiving tight-end is to the Giants then one only needs to watch film of the NFC championship game and see what Vernon Davis did to the Giants when lined up against a safety in man-coverage.

Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy vs Giants O-Line

The Giants O-Line and particularly the Center David Baas struggled at times to block a determined pass rush and to open holes for the running backs last season. McCoy is a force on the interior of the line and can brush off blocks and blow up a running play in the backfield. He is the last person that you’d want to see landing on Eli on passing downs. Look for the Giants to double team him in the middle with center and a guard or leave a back into help out in 3rd and medium to long situations.

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McCoy demands double teams and lineman consideration and will allow other rushers and blitzers to get free on the edges or through the A & B gaps.

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