I had the chance to talk to BucPower.com editor and writer Paul Stewart about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their game against the Patriots on Sunday.
Patriots Gab: Can you tell me a little about your website bucpower.com?
Paul Stewart: BUCPOWER.COM was launched in January 2002 having evolved from the British fanzine There’s Always Next Year. It quickly grew into a site combining the latest team news and views, with the biggest historical archive available on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Every game in franchise history has its own screen and every player has their own screen with statistics, comments and pictures from the very first game in 1976 right through to the current day. BUCPOWER.COM has and always will be a free site with no kind of membership costs or hidden extras. There is no advertising on the site and links are by recommendation only.
PG: What do you make of the rumblings that Darrelle Revis and Josh Freeman are not happy with their head coach Greg Schiano?
PS: A lot of it is media speculation with a few net-based writers trying to make their names by guessing. But there is no smoke without fire and Josh Freeman is definitely not the same player I knew in London in 2011.
PG: The Bucs are an 0-2 team that could easily be 2 – 0 right now. What were the factors in the close losses, and what needs to change for them to win this Sunday?
PS: Stop making stupid mistakes. The Jets loss came down to a personal foul penalty putting the Jets in FG range. Last Sunday, a TD got called back for a procedure penalty and a strip sack and fumble recovery in the redzone was also pulled back.
PG: Bucs QB Josh Freeman has struggled in the first two games of the season, completing less than 50% of his passes. What does he need to do to have success this weekend and for the remainder of the season?
PS: Get his confidence back. Something is definitely not right with him on or off the field right now. He had a ton of drops last week and he played better than his numbers indicate.
PG: Last Sunday the Bucs defense was able to pick off Brees twice, pressured him, and had held the potent Saints offense to just 13 points before giving up the game winning field goal.. How was the defense able to contain the Saints offense for most of the game?
PS: Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy are just beasts on the defensive line and Darrelle Revis now shuts down one corner making everyone else stronger. In 2012 there was no pass rush so the passing numbers were just horrific.
PG: Against the Jets, the Bucs were without Fullback Erik Lorig and Martin only rushed for 69 yards, against the Saints, Martin rushed for 144 yards with Lorig back in the lineup. Can you talk about the importance of FB Erik Lorig?
PS: That actually surprised me how effective he was but it may be that the New Orleans DL was seriously banged up and the Jets’ strength is their front four. But the Muscle Hamster (Martin) is the key point of the Buc offense and last Sunday was more like his rookie season.
PG: Safety Dashon Goldson had his suspension reduced to a 100,000 fine. How big is having him in the game Sunday?
PS: Massive. He is a real leader back there although he has had more late hits these past two seasons than any other player. He is also personally keeping Roger Goodell in limo rides.
PG: What are the Bucs strengths and weakness heading into their matchup with the Patriots?
PS: The pass rush and improved pass coverage play. I guess the Pats will have to do without the help offered by Terrell Owens this week! If the offense gets moving into 2012 form, then an upset could be on the cards.
PG: Who will be the Bucs X- Factor in the game Sunday?
PS: Simon Cowell. The Bucs have been called for a ton of penalties so far this season and no-one delivers a lower blow than the British TV presenter.
PG: Prediction for the final score?
PS: Another depressing night for Buc fans and my daughter’s cat knows another kicking is coming after a 24-10 loss to the Pats