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The Answer Man, Vol. 1

Posted Aug 9, 2004

The fans have a new source on the inside, as the Answer Man posts his first installment, answering questions on such topics as FB Casey Cramer’s progress and the rules of the snap

Rookie FB Casey Cramer is battling for a job in the Buccaneers' training camp

Bumped into Art Valero today.

Now, Art’s an old friend of the Answer Man, so we could’ve chatted for awhile about just about anything: football, movies, the Answer Kids, you name it. On this day, however, I wanted to talk to Art, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running backs coach, about rookie fullback Casey Cramer.

See, Doug Melville, a Buc fan from Connecticut, had dropped yours truly a note, asking for an update on one of his favorite college players. I was only too happy to oblige.

As Doug will see below, I got the scoop on Cramer. I also looked up a rule clarification with Valero’s assistance and helped another fan find a valuable resource right here on Buccaneers.com. A busy week for Answer Man, sure, but I like it that way.

Oh, did I forget to introduce myself? I’m the Answer Man (you might have picked up on that). While I’ve been with the Bucs for too many years to count, this is the first time I’ve been put in a position to interact with the fans. My new mission: Give you an avenue to the inside and get your questions answered.

If you’d like to send a question to me, please click here. Can’t guarantee I’ll get to them all, but I’ll try to provide the answers to three or four questions a week.

For now, let me take care of the questions I’ve been working on this week:

1. Doug Melville, Old Saybrook, Connecticut asks:

Being in the backyard to Giants, Jets and Patriots, we don't see much news about the Bucs...and I have been a fan of Casey Cramer, Division 1AA All America from Dartmouth. We are proud of him! Can you give me a run down on how he is doing, and if possible we would like a picture of him in his Buc threads. Thanks!

Answer Man: Doug, I think you’ll see that I’ve fulfilled the second half of your request with the picture accompanying this article. Looking pretty good, huh? (By the way, if you click on the picture, a separate window will open with a larger version of that same shot. You could make it your screensaver!)

Casey, like all of the rookies, is knee deep in the Bucs’ playbook, trying hard to learn a very complex system. Running Backs Coach Art Valero tells me that Casey is working very hard and he’ll get a chance to show what he can do when the preseason games start in another week.

“Casey’s coming on,” said Valero. “He’s had his up days and down days like all of the young kids in camp. It’s going to be the players who prove they can focus through every day and take it to the next level who make this team and make an impact.”

**

2. Steven, Knoxville, Tennessee:

Is there a rule that states that if the QB is set behind the center, that the center must hike to the QB? In other words, in a regular offense formation could the center hike the ball to a running back directly behind the center, while the QB acts like he is going to take the snap?

Answer Man: Steve, Answer Man has seen that very ploy used in a flag football game, to moderate results.

But you weren’t asking about flag football, were you?

If Answer Man is reading your question right, you’re wondering if the center could snap the ball through the quarterback’s legs and to the running back behind him. On the other hand, perhaps you mean the quarterback is in the shotgun and the center snaps it directly to a back. If so, that tactic is actually used every so often, more so in college football, so it’s obviously legal.

If you’re describing the first scenario, here’s the answer on the rules legality, as told to me by Valero: Yes, such a tactic is perfectly within the rules.

Of course, the obvious follow-up question is, would you do it? Valero says no way.

Why? Too risky. You’re asking the center to shoot the ball through a pretty tight space, and if it clips either of the quarterback’s legs, you’re probably going to end up with a loose ball. The minute bit of misdirection isn’t worth the risk of a turnover.

“It would be like croquet,” said Valero. “You have to get it through the wickets or you’re in trouble.”

**

3. Zak Longacre, Tulsa, Oklahoma:

I would like to know all of the roster changes for record keeping. Do you think you could hook me up with some?

Answer Man: Okay, Zak, are you ready?

  • August 4: Waived/injured WR Justin Skaggs
  • August 4: Signed free agent WR James Williams
  • July 30: Signed free agent WR D’Wayne Bates

Wait…this could take forever. Would you like to know where to find all Buccaneer player transactions, always updated to the most recent move? It’s right here on Buccaneers.com. We have a section that lists all of these moves, and you’ll find it here: Transactions. If you’re looking for a specific player, click on the Player View link and the transactions will be sorted alphabetically.

You’ll notice that the archives go all the way back to 1999, when this site was launched. All of the seasons can be sorted both ways. If you’re doing some sort of project that requires information from before that season, I would suggest contacting the team’s public relations department. Their archives go back a long way.

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By the way, the Answer Man has also received the questions you sent in for players and coaches. Stay tuned for a new video on Tuesday that will feature the answers to several of those questions.