Posts tagged with “mike williams tampa bay”

Will the Real Mike Williams, Please Stand Up?

Wednesday, 8 August, 2012

Will the Real Mike Williams, Please Stand Up?

By Zack Cimini

Playing with Greg Paulus as his quarterback during his junior year at Syracuse, Mike Williams broke multiple records at Syracuse. Including consecutive games with a touchdown at nine. Paulus had just went from finishing his basketball career at Duke to using his graduate eligibility at Syracuse to have a shot at quarterback.

For Syracuse fans it still is one of the better seasons offensively in quite some time. 2009, also was costly for Williams as himself and other Syracuse teammates were disciplined by head coach Doug Marrone for violating team rules. Williams was suspended for the rest of Syracuse’s games in 2009, and the team never had the explosiveness it had prior.

Instead of coming back for his senior season, Williams decided to put his name in the NFL Draft. Expecting to get drafted in the first two rounds was out of the question, after his troubled career at Syracuse. Yet, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a gamble on him in the third round, going higher than most draft prognosticators had predicted.

During 2010, Williams and quarterback Josh Freeman were a dynamic duo. With Tampa Bay struggling to find a solid tight end, Williams became Freeman’s main red zone threat. Eleven touchdowns as a rookie is unheard of, and Williams entered the class of rising wide receivers along with Josh Freeman becoming an elite quarterback.

Year two together did not fare very well, as both had awful seasons. Freeman as the quarterback just did not look remotely similar to 2010. He was one of the few quarterbacks that seemed affected by the lockout. Either that or Tampa Bay’s receiving core just was not cutting it.

Josh Freeman dedicated his off-season to getting in shape and lost nearly twenty pounds. Tampa Bay also went out and signed receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson who was embattled in a contract dispute with San Diego for a couple of seasons, finally was able to land elsewhere.

With a top target alongside him, can Williams come anywhere near his rookie levels? There are always variables to look at. Josh Freeman should have regained confidence, that hopefully can transfer to on the field. Excitement over rookie running back Doug Martin and power back LeGarrette Blount should provide a proper ground attack.

It boils down to Williams. Nothing is just going to come to him. His rookie season he had the hunger of someone that needed to prove something. He played as if he was an undrafted athlete. Fantasy owners should keep a radar eye on Williams during the important second and third preseason games.

If Tampa Bay’s offense looks fluid and Williams looks involved, than touchdowns can be counted on for Williams. Yardage has not been an area Williams has excelled in as he has caught 65 catches in both his seasons. If his touchdown consistency can rise though, Williams will be a high caliber number two fantasy wide receiver.

NFL: Team Deeply Affected by Lockout

Wednesday, 29 June, 2011

By Zack Cimini

The lockout imposes delayed reaction to just about everyone affiliated within an organization. Pressure of solidifying a deal is finally lurking with NFL training camps right around the corner. Both sides are expected to meet early next week for four days. Will these meetings bring about a resolution and get coaches and players back to proper preparation? Hopefully. Nobody wants to see pure rust the first two months of the NFL season, or worse a shortened season. Each year we see teams storm from the bottom and get on a run. That will not be a possibility if the season is shortened.

Veteran teams with coaching staffs that have been around have the advantage thus far. Forget the rookies and undrafted free agents that look good on paper. In all actuality not too many rookies put their stamp on the NFL in year one. There might be a game or two where they make the key play or have a solid game, but for the most part their play is sporadic. Sure they’ll be even rustier but coaches do not count on rookies to be the main spark anymore. CJ Spiller, Ryan Matthews, and even Michael Crabtree are all prime examples.

Young teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be affected the most. Their coaching staff of the Buccaneers has built this young team up quickly. Glancing at the talent that came out of nowhere last season, the roster is filled with under five year players. Keeping that strong resurgence could have been a push in mini camp and off-season contact. Who knows if the players have maintained proper off-season work ethic or communication with each other.

Do not forget Raheem Morris had the team at six wins and prime to take on a playoff spot. An extremely tough division let alone conference meant a 10-6 record fell just short. Josh Freeman proved to be the difference maker of such a turn around from a 3-13 2009 season. He stood in the pocket and made the tough and proper reads. This was all being done early in the year without a running game to rely upon.

Towards the latter part of the season the team went with undrafted free agent, LeGarrette Blount. Blount went undrafted largely due to his disciplinary issues while at Oregon. A season long suspension was imposed by Oregon after a fight with a Boise State player in the first game of 2009. Blount was dropped by the Tennessee Titans and fell right into the hands of the Buccaneers. Cadillac Williams is a fan favorite and a strong willed athlete, fighting back from multiple injuries. But his days as a feature back have come and gone. Blount carried the load and caught the attention of NFL fans with his leaping burst against the Arizona Cardinals.

The carries will likely rise for him, but will he come to the Buccaneers in shape? A big back already, it could be a problem that lingers into the season. How about Josh Freeman’s new found chemistry with now second year pros in Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn? The route running missed out on and constant barking of instructions from valuable assistant coaches is burning by the day.

The NFC South will likely be another dog fight and the toughest division again in the NFL. Predicting the Buccaneers finishing above .500 though doesn’t look likely.

Dynasty Rookie Drafts

Friday, 4 June, 2010


By Zack Cimini

There are an array of different formats of fantasy leagues to get involved with. One format that is amongst the highest in growing on a year to year basis is dynasty leagues. If you participate with the same buddies year in and year out it’s a way to grow that league as a whole. You’re tied with that pool of players for a longer stretch and it causes for an owner to bear more responsibility. Of course some dynasty formats force owners to part ways with a certain amount of players, and a smaller version of a redraft happens in the preceding summer. One of the areas that has been a fun process with dynasty leagues is the rookie draft.

We’ve entered our fifth year in a fantasy football expert league and a big part of our success has came via our selections through the rookie draft. Players such as DeSean Jackson, Steve Slaton, Chaz Schilens, Percy Harvin, and Ted Ginn Jr. have fell into our laps. Just like in regular drafts the difference in your team comes from your middle to late round picks playing above their value.

This years rookie class is more defensive laden than prior years. Teams are tired of offenses overpowering their defense, which was at an all time high last year. Quarterbacks were throwing for 300 yard games at an obscene rate, and backfields were pounding the ball with ease. It truly was an offensive explosion of sorts. Participating in our rookie draft this week we have been looking for a few steals.

With the eighth pick in the first round we were in a tough spot. With every capable rookie running back that will likely see significant carries snatched up we decided to draft a wide receiver. No one really stood out so we went with Andre Roberts. Roberts was a little known receiver in college from Citadel. When an athlete from a small college is able to garner attention in the third round we figured he was worth a look at. Roberts goes to a team with a solid chance at winning the third receiver spot, and learning from one of the best receivers in the game in Larry Fitzgerald. Even though Matt Leinart is the quarterback now, Arizona has been one of the league leaders at getting three receivers involved from a fantasy standpoint.

Steve Breaston is trying to take on a new role as the teams number two wideout now that Anquan Boldin is gone. If he can not handle the role Whisenhunt will likely spread out formations at a higher rate. We’re pretty strong as it is at receiver with our fantasy team so allowing Roberts to grow on our bench is no problem for us. In the second round we also decided to plan for the future and selected Jimmy Clausen. Clausen slid further than imagined in the NFL draft but is in a perfect fit in Carolina. Matt Moore goes in as the teams number one quarterback and will likely remain for the 2010 season. This will allow Clausen to develop properly and be even stronger to surpass Moore once the 2011 training camp begins.

Being successful in a dynasty league causes for different preparation for rookie drafts as you’re usually deep down at the end of rounds. A rookie draft is similar to an NBA team going into their draft with years of success. They usually look overseas or in years past the high school level to recruit talent that they believe will blossom. One player we really liked that was selected in the early second round was Mike Williams of Tampa Bay. He had some issues while at Syracuse that led to him being booted off the team twice. Once was for academic reasons and last year was for conduct off the field. While he was on the field though Williams was a beast and had a stretch where he caught a touchdown in nine straight games. Last year he was basically there lone receiver that produced for quarterback Greg Paulus. That’s right Greg Paulus who was inaccurate as could be and basically through up lobs that Williams hauled in regularly. If you’re looking for a steal in rookie drafts keep an eye on Williams. He went under the radar at Syracuse and was drafted in a prime opportunity with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.