Nov 13, 2005, 2:01 PM EDT
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Like many NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out a large book of information for use by the media in preparation for their coverage of each game. The one for this week’s game against the Redskins is about 200 pages of 8.5 X 11 paper, spiral bound and packed with data—stats, player and coach profiles and the like.
Some of the stats are interesting, some not so much. Under “Team Notes” you can find out, for example, that Joey Galloway is tied for the lead among NFL receivers for the most touchdown receptions since December 5, 2004. He and Marvin Harrison each have 11 TD catches in that time span. Drew Bennett and Chad Johnson are right on their heels for this coveted record with 10 each. I can just seen it now—Galloway catches a touchdown pass, the game stops, fireworks go off and the scoreboard flashes the word that Galloway is now in sole possession of first place for touchdown catches since 12/5/04. The ball immediately is shipped off to Canton, Ohio.
Right below that, you discover that Jon Gruden has coached 10 receivers who have amassed 500 or more career catches. You might think, wow, ol’ Chucky has a way with wideouts. That’s until you read on and find out that the list of 10 includes the likes of Art Monk, who (much to the chagrin of many) played his last games in an Eagle uniform in 1995, when Gruden was the offensive coordinator. Monk got the last six of his 940 career catches in three games under Gruden’s watch so that “counts” as one of his 10. So does Jerry Rice, who at least had the whole 2001 season with Gruden.
Back to Galloway–who just joined Gruden’s 500 club—he’s the one Buc who scares you offensively. With their unproductive running game and an inexperienced Chris Simms at quarterback, Tampa Bay is unlikely to be able to crank out many long drives. However, the bugaboo of the Washington defense is giving up the long play (recall Philly’s lone TD last week) and that’s Galloway’s specialty. He has TD catches of 78 and 50 yards in the past two weeks. The big fear is that the Redskins will play exactly the kind of game they want for 55 minutes, lead by six and then see Simms and Galloway catch lighting in a bottle for the third week in a row and the Bucs will steal a win.
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