Hello Patriots fans. Unless you live under a rock and are completely clueless, you know our New England Patriots are crossing the pond this week to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium. My personal opinion? Belichick and the players hate this. It's a long flight, different timezone by a mile, and their surrounded by soccer fans. Is that even a sport? Anyway...
As is customary, Niko from Buc 'Em exchanged questions with me regarding his favorite team. He was pretty up front about the needs of his 0-6 franchise, but also optimistic that there were bright spots as well. To get our journey to land of Fish and Chips rolling, I give you 5 Questions with Buc 'Em.
1. At 0-6, there's probably more than 1 or 2 things in need of attention, but if you were to pick your biggest issue, what would it be?
The defensive line needs a total overhaul. Perhaps left End Jimmy Wilkerson is starting material, but the rest simply are fillers and Backups for next season, except Chris Hovan who is probably playing his last days in the NFL. With a solid D line, the run stopping is accomplished and pressure fits Jim Bates system of bumping corners.
2. How much of an impact is the loss of fullback B.J. Askew? Can Earnest Graham fill his shoes?
Graham filled in nicely last year when both fullbacks went down, so Im sure he will do the same this year. Its unfortunate because Askew is a good weapon when used correctly, but car accidents are car accidents, you cant help them.
3. What defensive weapons can Tampa Bay bring to the table to stop the likes of Randy Moss and Wes Welker? Do you think the Bucs will use the "tried and true" rush Brady and make him go lateral?
We are not capable of rushing the passer with any consistency. CB Aqib Talib has shut down Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson the last two weeks, and had 3 picks the week before, all in his first year starting. He is pro bowl material, and the future of this defense will be built around Talib and others who play like him. Expect Moss to be taken out of the game by Talib. However, you have more than enough weapons to do the deed.
4. Do you think the penalty handed to Panthers CB Dante Wesley for his vicious hit on RB Clifton Smith is appropriate?
Yes. Some fans wanted more, but the truth is though it was a flagrant penalty, I dont believe it was done with malice. I feel Wesley was just not sure where he was and wanted to hit someone. Was it cheap? Yes. Dirty? not really.
5. Is it time to give Josh Freeman the keys? Is he the future of the franchise?
He is the future of this franchise as long as Raheem Morris is the Head Coach, and sources say his job is secure no matter what his record this year, as the Glazers know this team is in full rebuilding mode, and that he is making chicken salad out of chicken spit. Most feel the best time to do this is after the Pats/Bucs game, when he will have 2 full weeks to work with starters.
A big THANK YOU to Niko from Buc 'Em for answering my questions. Look for some more exchanges in the coming days.