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Bucs RB Matt Brown’s NFL opportunity made possible by expired passport

US-PassportFormer Temple running back Matt Brown signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday night. Like any other undrafted free agent, he will have a lot to prove between now and August if he wants to make an NFL roster. But if not for an expired passport, he may not have even had the opportunity.

On Thursday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer shared with us the “everything happens for a reason” moment Brown recently experienced. The 2012 Big East special teams player of the year agreed to a contract with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League earlier this month. Brown was scheduled to fly to Saskatchewan on Tuesday night to sign the deal, but he was unable to board his flight out of Baltimore because his passport had expired.

Brown was traveling to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning to get a new passport when his phone rang. It was his agent, informing the 5-foot-5, 165-pound running back that the Bucs had offered him a contract. Rather than flying to Saskatchewan, Brown flew to Tampa and signed with his new NFL team.

We have heard some bizarre stories about passports having to do with the NFL before, but Brown’s is incredible. Had he brought the appropriate documentation with him to the airport, he’d be under contract with a CFL team right now. That’s pretty amazing.

Helmet smack to Eye on Football

Former Bucs respond to Bill Callahan allegations: We killed them fair and square

bill callahan raidersWe already know how many of 2002 Oakland Raiders feel about Tim Brown claiming that Bill Callahan sabotaged the team in Super Bowl XXXVII. Aside from Jerry Rice, it appears that Brown’s opinion is not shared by many members of the team. And it certainly isn’t shared by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who feel they earned the victory.

“You’re telling me (Callahan) threw it, Super Bowl, everything on the line?” Warren Sapp told Martin Fennelly of The Tampa Tribune over the phone. “That’s like being at 25,000 on Mount Everest, and you only got 4,000 feet left, crisp, clear, top of the mountain in sight, and you just go, ‘Nah, I think I’ll just lay here a while.’”

Former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said “some things don’t deserve a response,” but added that he texted Keyshawn Johnson and some of his other former teammates when he heard about Brown’s comments.

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James Laurinaitis: Buccaneers had tells that were easy to read

James-Laurinaitis-RamsJames Laurinaitis enjoyed a big day in the St. Louis Rams’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, as he recorded 12 tackles, an interception and defended two passes. At certain points, it almost appeared as though the fourth-year linebacker knew what the Bucs were going to throw at him. According to him, that’s because he did.

“We just felt like coaches do a phenomenal job of getting us prepared,” Laurinaitis said after the game, via the Tampa Bay Times. “We felt like we had a good beat on these guys going into the game, and what they were trying to do. They had some tells. So we’ve got to credit the coaches and credit the guys for studying hard.”

At one point in the second quarter, the Bucs were down only 7-6 and had the ball at midfield. Laurinaitis changed the momentum of the game when he recovered on a play-action pass and stepped in front of Vincent Jackson for an interception.

“There are a lot of tells you can get from teams week to week, this team a little more so,” he said. “So you just know when certain guys are in the game, you think more run. If other guys, think more pass. And they broke some tells. That always happens, teams self-scout, they do tendency breakers. But when they come back to the core of who they are, they go back to those tendencies.”

Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled for several weeks, which is one of the reasons they have lost five straight games. Predictability could certainly be one of the contributing factors to the Bucs’ losing streak.

Buccaneers LB Adam Hayward, coach Bryan Cox fight on sidelines

bryan-cox-adam-haywardTampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Adam Hayward crossed a line on Sunday when he got too physical with one of his coaches. Following a penalty committed by the Bucs defense in the second quarter, Hayward could be seen in the face of defensive assistant coach Bryan Cox. Cox had come onto the field to dispute the call with an official when Hayward tried restraining him. Cox pushed him aside, and then Hayward came back and pushed his coach in the chest. Hayward then got in Cox’s face while the coach pointed his finger back.

Cox was known as one of the toughest linebackers in the game during his 12-year career. That sort of disrespectful behavior certainly won’t fly with Cox, and it likely won’t fly with the organization, either.

After the game, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano expressed his unhappiness regarding the incident.

“I’m not happy about it, but I do know that it’s been resolved,” Schiano said, per Joe Bucs Fan. “I think you chalk it up to heat of the moment. Guys are very passionate. Adam is a passionate player. Coach Cox is a passionate coach. I know they’re very close. And they’re, I think, more of a family spat in a frustrating time than, you know, anything that I’m deeply concerned about. I know they’ve already smoothed that over. But again, it’s not what a football team that I’m the head coach of I want to see. So certainly it’s been addressed, and it will be addressed and we’ll move forward from it. But it need not happen again.”

Video via The Big Lead

Illegal touching penalty costs Buccaneers against Saints

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in their comeback bid against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday when the referees penalized them for illegal touching on the final play of the game.

The Bucs were down 35-28 and had a fourth-and-goal play from the nine with five seconds left. Quarterback Josh Freeman took a snap from shotgun, didn’t see anything, and rolled to his left to avoid pressure. He fired into the end zone for receiver Mike Williams, who caught what appeared to be a touchdown that would likely have led to a tie game

However, the back judge threw a penalty flag for illegal touching on Williams. Williams was pushed out of bounds, which made it illegal for him to touch the ball first — hence the illegal touching penalty. Analyst John Lynch incorrectly argued that Williams was eligible because he had reestablished himself inbounds.

Here is the official rule on eligible receivers, with the applicable rules boxed in red:

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Justin Tuck on Bucs kneel-down antics: ‘I thought it was a classless play’

If Greg Schiano sticks to his guns and does not change his approach in kneel-down situations at the end of games, he’s going to make a lot of enemies across the NFL. Whether playing hard until the final whistle is right or wrong (we gave our opinion here), Tom Coughlin and the Giants didn’t appreciate it. Justin Tuck reiterated that on Tuesday.

“I’m trying to be political, but I’m just going to go out and say it: I thought it was a classless play,” Tuck said according to the NY Post. “I thought it had no place in the NFL, and that’s how you get guys hurt. I’ve been in the league for eight years, that’s the first time that I’ve ever seen that.

“There are guys who have been in the league a lot longer than I have, and that’s the first time they’ve seen it. So, if that’s how he wants to play it, he can do that to them, and everybody else. It’s not going to be an issue, until somebody blows their knee out. Or gets some prime guy hurt on national TV.”

Tuck went on to add that he’s not saying the play is illegal but simply that he doesn’t agree with it. The thing I don’t understand is all the talk about how somebody is going to get hurt. If the offensive line blocks like they would on any other play when the defense is coming after them, they have no more chance of getting hurt on that play than any other throughout the course of the game. I realize the issue has to do with the defense diving at the offense’s knees, but as we mentioned before Rutgers forced four fumbles using the approach under Schiano. At least now opponents will know to expect it.

Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Outrage over Greg Schiano, Buccaneers’ actions on kneel down is ridiculous

The Giants and others in the media are complaining about the Buccaneers’ behavior on the last play of Sunday’s game, and I’m not really sure why.

The Bucs were down 41-34 and had just given the ball to the Giants after an interception by Josh Freeman. Sure they were upset about blowing a 27-13 lead and then turning the ball over in the final minute, but the game wasn’t over when they supposedly breached an unwritten rule by leveling Eli Manning and some offensive linemen while trying to cause a fumble in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Now this may be a dumb question, but … please tell me why, after competing for 59 minutes and 55 seconds, should the Buccaneers have stopped trying with five seconds left? The game was not over. The whistles hadn’t blown. There were still five seconds left and the Giants still needed to run one more play.

You think it’s that simple to snap a ball and take a knee before the defense gets to you? I suppose you’re the kind of person who doesn’t find it necessary to putt from three feet away. Why should NFL teams give their opponents gimme putts without making them hole-out? They shouldn’t because getting off a snap and kneel down still requires some blocking and a clean exchange from the center to the quarterback. And that’s why the Bucs were still trying hard on the last snap.

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