The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to travel to Tennessee, to take on the
Titans, in rookie head coach Raheem Morris’ coaching debut. But if you’re looking for either one of the veteran quarterbacks to see significant playing time it wont be this week, as Morris told the media that quarterbacks Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich will take 12-15 snaps each during Tampa Bay’s preseason opener on Saturday night.
There’s a laundry list of players who will be pacing the sidelines in street clothes includes center Jeff Faine (groin), wide receivers Antonio Bryant (knee surgery), Michael Clayton (hamstring) and Kelly Campbell (quad), linebacker Angelo Crowell (hamstring), kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring) and punter Josh Bidwell (hip).
Added to the list Friday morning was running back Cadillac Williams, as Morris stated during his press conference the decision to hold Williams out, was a precautionary one, but that Williams was completely healthy and ready to play if needed.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
While all eyes will be on quarterback Josh Freeman the team first round pick, there are a bunch of young hopefuls that will be out to prove they belong in the NFL.
With the teams two top receivers being ruled out. Here are four receivers to keep a close eye on in game one of the pre-season.
WR BRIAN CLARK 87
• Played in 20 career games with the Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.
• Career numbers include five receptions for 35 yards and 29 kickoff returns for 636 yards (21.9 avg.) and also has posted 11 special teams tackles, one blocked punt and one fumble recovery on special teams.
WR SAMMIE STROUGHTER 18
• Selected by Tampa Bay in the seventh round (233rd overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.
• 2008 Pac-10 First Team, 2006 Pac-10 Second Team and AP Third Team All-American.
• Third at OSU in career receptions (164) and receiving yards (2,653).
• 4,299 career all-purpose yards ranks fourth all time at OSU.
• Averaged 80.0 yards receiving per game as a senior, tops in the Pac-10.
• OSU school record for punt returns (127) and yards (1,235).
WR MARIO URRUTIA 19
• Signed by the Buccaneers on August 7, 2009.
• Spent portion of 2009 offseason with the N.Y. Jets.
• Spent entire 2008 season on Cincinnati Bengals practice squad.
• Originally entered the league as a seventh round pick (244th overall) of Cincinnati Bengals in 2008 NFL Draft.
• Posted the sixth-most receiving yards (2271) and had 16 touchdowns in three seasons at the University of Louisville.
WR DEXTER JACKSON 10
• Played in seven games as a rookie.
• Has recorded 20 punt returns for 97 yards and 14 kickoff returns for 327 yards.
• Had three kickoff returns for 100 yards, including a career-high 45-yard return vs. Green Bay (9/28). Also had one punt return for a career-high 19 yards in the game.
Date: Saturday, August 15, 2009
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. CT)
Site: LP Field (68,798)
2009 Preseason Records: Tampa Bay 0-0, Tennessee 1-0
2008 Records: Tampa Bay 9-7, Tennessee 13-3
Buccaneers Television: WFLA-TV
Play-By-Play: Chris Myers, Color: John Lynch,
Sideline: Dan Lucas
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore,
Sideline: T.J. Rives
Up Next: Tampa Bay at Jacksonville (8/22), Tennessee at Dallas (8/21)
The Buccaneers lead the all-time preseason series with the Tennessee Titans 6-1. The Buccaneers are 2-1 on the road in the series and undefeated at home at 4-0. The two teams’ first preseason meeting came at Houston in 1980. The Titans, formerly the Houston Oilers, moved to Tennessee in 1997. The two teams last met during the preseason in 2005, with the Buccaneers prevailing 20-17 in overtime at Raymond James Stadium. In the regular season, the Buccaneers and Titans have met nine times (Tennessee leads the series 7-2) since 1976, when the Buccaneers visited Houston for the first regular season game in franchise history. Houston won that game 20-0 on September 12. Since then, Tampa Bay has won twice, including a 33-24 victory in 1983, and a 13-10 win in 2007 at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay leads series 6-1
Year Score Site
1980 W, 21-7 Houston
1981 W, 27-17 Tampa
1982 L, 21-6 Houston
1983 W, 23-17 Houston
1984 W, 30-17 Tampa
1989 W, 41-23 Tampa
2005 W, 20-17 (OT) Tennessee
LAST MEETING (PRESEASON)
Tampa Bay 20, Tennessee 17 (OT)
Friday, August 12, 2005
NASHVILLE – In its first overtime preseason game since 1997, Tampa Bay defeated the host Tennessee Titans 20-17 on K Matt Bryant’s 33-yard field goal 2:02 into the overtime period. A pair of Tampa Bay runners, RB Derek Watson and RB Earnest Graham, led an impressive Buccaneers rushing effort as Watson churned out 63 yards on 14 carries (4.5 avg.) and Graham produced 62 yards and one rushing score on 10 carries (6.2 avg.). The
Buccaneers defense was also impressive, recording two turnovers on the Titans’ first two possessions while limiting Tennessee to 83 rushing yards overall in the game. Tampa Bay’s offense started quickly, putting together a seven-play, 70-yard opening drive that culminated with Graham’s 10-yard touchdown run. The teams traded turnovers on the next two possessions before Tennessee drove deep into Tampa Bay territory on its second
possession of the game. The Titans’ potential scoring drive was thwarted by Buccaneers S Jermaine Phillips as he picked off Tennessee QB Steve McNair in the end zone. But Bucs QB Chris Simms was intercepted on the ensuing drive by Titans LB Keith Bulluck, who raced 29 yards to tie the game at 7-7. Following a Tennessee punt on its opening drive of the second half, Simms led Tampa Bay on a nine-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off by a five-yard scoring strike to Graham, his second touchdown. Tennessee tied the score with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter as Titans QB Billy Volek hit WR Roydell Williams on a 76-yard scoring strike. Tampa Bay jumped back out in front early in the fourth quarter on a K Todd France 35-yard field goal. The Buccaneers held the three-point advantage until late in the fourth quarter when Titans K Rob Bironas connected on a 53-yard field with 0:19 remaining in regulation. Tampa Bay’s defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession of overtime, giving the Buccaneers possession at their own 23-yard line following a Titans punt. Highlighted by a 33-yard pass interference penalty and a 24-yard run by Graham, QB Luke McCown guided the Buccaneers offense on a four-play, 62-yard drive that ended with
Bryant’s game winning field goal.
LAST MEETING (REGULAR SEASON)
Tampa Bay 13, Tennessee 10 (10/14/07)
TAMPA – QB Jeff Garcia led the Buccaneers on a seven-play, 55-yard drive with just over one minute remaining in the game to set up K Matt Bryant’s game-winning 43-yard FG with 11 seconds left in the contest. The kick came after Tennessee tied the score at 10-10 with 1:17 remaining in the game. It marked Bryant’s fourth game winner as a Buccaneer and the sixth of his career. Following a scoreless first quarter, Tennessee drove inside Buccaneers territory but QB Vince Young mishandled a handoff and Buccaneers DE Patrick Chukwurah recovered the fumble at the Tampa Bay 36-yard line. On the resulting possession, Garcia connected with WR Michael Clayton on a 39-yard pass play and four plays later Bryant hit a 23-yard FG to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. Tennessee took the ensuing possession inside Buccaneers territory, but CB Phillip Buchanon intercepted Young at the five-yard line to end the threat before halftime. Through three home games this season, Tampa Bay has yet to surrender a first-half point at Raymond James Stadium. Tennessee got on the board on the opening drive of the second half on a 48-yard K Rob Bironas FG to tie the game at 3-3.
Tampa Bay regained the lead with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter as Garcia hit WR Joey Galloway for a 69-yard TD pass. The score moved Galloway into fourth place in team history with 25 receiving TDs as a Buccaneer. Replacing an injured Young, QB Kerry Collins and the
Titans’ offense took possession with 7:34 remaining in the contest and drove deep into Buccaneers territory when CB Ronde Barber appeared to intercept Collins in the end zone. However, replay officials ruled Barber was out of bounds, negating the interception. Four plays later Titans RB LenDale White tied the game on a two-yard TD run.
PRESEASON SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
QB Chuck Fusina throws for 61 yards and one touchdown as Tampa Bay takes the first ever meeting between the two teams in the preseason 21-7 (8/11/80)… Doug Williams throws for 206 yards with two touchdowns to lead the way in another Tampa win 27-17 (8/22/81)… Houston RB Earl Campbell runs for 121 yards and scores one touchdown as Houston gets its
first preseason victory against Tampa Bay 21-6 (8/28/82)… QB’s Jack Thompson and Jerry Golsteyn combine to throw for 245 yards and one touchdown (8/15/83)… Led by a stellar performance by the defense, including three interceptions, five fumble recoveries and 2 sacks, the Buccaneers win 30-17 (8-4-84)… The Buccaneers offense, led by QB Vinny
Testaverde’s 137 total passing yards, scored five touchdowns to win 41-23 (8/12/89)… K Matt Bryant connects with a 33-yard field goal in OT to help Tampa Bay win 20-17 (8/12/05).
BUILDING FROM WITHIN
Tampa Bay’s current roster contains 32 of its draft picks stemming back from the 1997 draft, including 25 from the past five drafts.
BUCCANEER DRAFT PICKS CURRENTLY ON ROSTER (32)
PLAYER YEAR ROUND GP GS
QB Josh Freeman 2009 1st 0 0
DT Roy Miller 2009 3rd 0 0
DE Kyle Moore 2009 4th 0 0
T Xavier Fulton 2009 5th 0 0
CB E.J. Biggers 2009 7th 0 0
WR Sammie Stroughter 2009 7th 0 0
CB Aqib Talib 2008 1st 15 2
WR Dexter Jackson 2008 2nd 7 0
OL Jeremy Zuttah 2008 3rd 12 5
DT Dre Moore 2008 4th 0 0
QB Josh Johnson 2008 5th 0 0
LB Geno Hayes 2008 6th 9 0
DE Gaines Adams 2007 1st 32 23
G Arron Sears 2007 2nd (a) 31 31
S Sabby Piscitelli 2007 2nd (b) 18 5
LB Quincy Black 2007 3rd 31 0
S Tanard Jackson 2007 4th 32 32
DT Greg Peterson 2007 5th 12 0
LB Adam Hayward 2007 6th 28 0
G Davin Joseph 2006 1st 41 40
T Jeremy Trueblood 2006 2nd 47 45
WR Maurice Stovall 2006 3rd 29 3
RB Carnell Williams 2005 1st 38 33
LB Barrett Ruud 2005 2nd 63 36
S Donte Nicholson 2005 5th (a) 16 0
WR Michael Clayton 2004 1st 71 44
S Will Allen 2004 4th 76 25
C/G Sean Mahan 2003 5th 88 52
CB Torrie Cox 2003 6th 45 3
S Jermaine Phillips 2002 5th 94 72
FB Jameel Cook 2001 6th 109 24
CB Ronde Barber 1997 3rd (b) 161 152
YOUTH AT THE HELM
The Buccaneers decision to tab 32-year-old Raheem Morris as the eighth head coach in franchise history fit in with a league-wide hiring theme. The average age of the 11 new coaches in the NFL this year (representing just over a third of all the teams, and including two coaches who finished 2008 in interim roles), is 43.2 years old. Morris is the youngest of the crew. Morris, in fact, is the fourth-youngest individual hired to coach an NFL team since World War II. He is one of four head coaches currently in the league who have yet to celebrate their 40th birthdays, joining Denver’s Josh McDaniels (33), Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (37) and Cleveland’s (Eric Mangini).
NFL’S ALL-TIME YOUNGEST COACHES (Modern Era)
COACH TEAM AGE WHEN HIRED
Lane Kiffin Raiders 31 years, 8 months
Harland Svare Rams 31 years, 11 months
John Michelosen Steelers 32 years, 2 months
Raheem Morris* Buccaneers 32 years, 4 months
David Shula Bengals 32 years, 7 months
Josh McDaniels* Broncos 32 years, 8 months
John Madden Raiders 32 years, 10 months
Don Shula Colts 33 years, 0 months
Al Davis Raiders 33 years, 6 months
Joe Collier Bills 33 years, 7 months
Bob Snyder Rams 33 years, 11 months
Jim Trimble Eagles 34 years, 3 months
Jon Gruden Raiders 34 years, 5 months
Bill Cowher Steelers 34 years, 8 months
Joe Kuharich Cardinals 34 years, 8 months
Norm Van Brocklin Vikings 34 years, 10 months
Mike Tomlin* Steelers 34 years, 10 months
Joe Schmidt Lions 34 years, 11 months
Eric Mangini* Jets 34 years, 11 months