The eyes have it
Critical decisions such as whether to attempt a long field goal might be a little difficult for Bucs coach Greg Schiano early this season because he still doesn’t know newcomer K Rian Lindell very well. “There is statistical information we have about Rian, and we’ve studied that,” Schiano said. “But we still have to get a good feel for each other, because I rely on communication a lot with our specialists. When you look him in the eye, he either gives you those (confident) yeah eyes, or those (not-so-confident) yeah eyes. When I see those (not-so-confident) eyes, I usually say, ‘Punt team.’’’
By the numbers
Winning on opening day is not necessarily critical to an NFL team’s playoff chances, but it sure does help. Since the NFL adopted a 16-game format in 1978, teams that won on opening day were twice as likely to reach the playoffs. Of the 506 teams that won their openers, 266 made the playoffs, while only 120 opening-day losers reached the postseason.
Did you know?
Josh Freeman is one of 23 former first-round draft picks projected to start at quarterback on Sunday. Freeman also is among 20 projected starting quarterbacks under age 30.
G Carl Nicks (MRSA), TE Tom Crabtree and CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring) did not practice for a second straight day Thursday. FB Erik Lorig (calf) and rookie RB Mike James (eye) were limited. CB Darrelle Revis (knee) participated fully.
Quote of the day
“We’ve got this clock that’s right behind me and I remember when it was 100-plus days. And now it’s down to (three). It’s getting real close and you can definitely tell that the energy around the building and the way we’re preparing for the games is a lot different now.’’
DT Gerald McCoy, on the regular-season opener drawing near
Sunday: at New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Sept. 15: New Orleans, 4:05 p.m.
Sept. 22: at New England, 1 p.m.
Sept. 29: Arizona, 1 p.m.