Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A Toss-Up

The Bucs and the Broncos have a keen interest in the coin flip that will take place between Chicago and Jacksonville on Friday at the Combine...Plus, an Answer Man sneak preview and new information on auditions for the Buccaneers Cheerleaders

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Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik will definitely be interested to see how Friday's coin flip falls

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be pulling for the Jacksonville Jaguars to prevail over the Chicago Bears. Conversely, the Denver Broncos will be rooting for the Bears over the Jags.

Why this sudden cross-conference rooting interest? And more importantly, what could the Jaguars and Bears be competing over on February 26?

It all revolves around a coin flip.

You have to rewind to last spring to get the full story. On April 2, 2009, the Broncos traded quarterback Jay Cutler and a fifth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft to the Bears for quarterback Kyle Orton, Chicago's first and third-round picks in 2009 and the Bears' first-round pick in 2010.

The Bears weren't done dealing their 2010 assets. On October 19, Tampa Bay sent defensive end Gaines Adams to Chicago in exchange for the Bears' second-round pick in the 2010 draft. That story, of course, had a particularly sad coda when Adams died of cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart this past January.

Cutler and Adams helped the Bears produce a 7-9 record in 2009, a mark equal to that of the Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins. That is relevant because the NFL uses the previous season's results to determine its draft order. The Bears, Jaguars and Dolphins will all be part of a rotating, three-team group during the draft, but the league has to determine how they initially line up in the first round, beginning with the 10th overall pick. For that, the NFL uses strength-of-schedule in 2009.

The Dolphins played teams that combined for a .559 winning percentage in 2009. Meanwhile, the opponents of the Bears and Jaguars combined for identical winning percentages of .496. That means the Dolphins will pick last in that group in the first round, or 12th overall. Since there is no tiebreaker beyond strength-of-schedule, the Bears and Jaguars will see who goes 10th and who goes 11th by flipping a coin.

Representatives from both teams - probably General Managers Jerry Angelo and Gene Smith - will convene in a room at the site of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis at some point on Friday. The coin will be tossed, and not long after the Buccaneers and Broncos will find out exactly what they got out of their respective trades.

For the Broncos, the formula is easy. If Chicago wins the flip, it will be slotted first in its group in the opening round, or 10th overall. If the Jaguars win, the Bronco-owned Chicago pick will slide back to 11th.

For the Buccaneers, it's a little more complicated because of the round-to-round rotation in the Chicago-Jacksonville-Miami group. The rotation within any group goes from the bottom to the top. Thus, Miami will move up to 11th in the second round, the team at 11 in the first round will move up to 10th, and the team that was 10th in the opening round will cycle back to 12th.

That's why the Buccaneers, unlike the Broncos, want Chicago to lose, even though they also own one of the Bears' picks. If Chicago wins and is slotted 10th to start the draft, it will cycle back to the 44th pick in the second round. If the Bears lose the toss and get slotted at #11 in the first round, they will rotate up to the 42nd spot in Round Two.

Can't make heads or tails of all that? Don't worry, it should all be clear by Friday.

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Answer Man Queued Up!

For those of you enjoying the return of the Buccaneers' Answer Man to Buccaneers.com, be sure to visit the site on Friday. The Answer Man's second Q&A column since he announced his comeback is due to be posted at week's end, and it's rumored to weigh in at over 8,000 words, with over a dozen questions answered.

The Answer Man is putting the finishing touches on his column today. If you've submitted a question or two and are wondering whether they will be included in this week's post, here are a few topics the Answer Man has definitely tackled so far:

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With the forceout rule no longer in the books, could a defender catch and carry a receiver out of bounds to prevent the reception? The NFL's Mike Pereira weighs in to help the Answer Man with this one.

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What is the most players the Buccaneers have ever drafted in one season? Know this: The NFL Draft used to be a lot longer. In fact, it was 17 rounds when the Bucs first entered the league.

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How would you rank the top five defenses in franchise history, by season? Is the obvious answer the right answer? The Answer Man uses a variety of defensive metrics to break it down.

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What other cornerbacks have come close or could still join Ronde Barber in the 20/20 club? Twenty sacks and 20 interceptions...only 10 players have done it and Barber is the only corner in the group. Will it remain that way?

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Exactly how many seconds has it been since the Bucs won the Super Bowl? Yes, Answer Man actually decided to answer that question.

There's more, including questions about throwback uniforms, illegal blocks in the back and Super Bowl first-timers. Check on Buccaneers.com on Friday!

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Cheerleader Auditions Set for March

Preliminary auditions for the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders squad have been set for March 22-24. They will take place at the Buccaneers' headquarters, One Buccaneer Place, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, just east of Raymond James Stadium. Callbacks will take place on March 27 at the USF Sun Dome Corral, and the Finals, including a three-night training camp, will stretch from March 30 to April 1.

There will also be an optional Pre-Audition Workshop on the USF campus on March 16 and 17, spread over four sessions. Potential applicants can attend any one or all four of the sessions.

Detailed information regarding the tryout process was posted on Buccaneers.com on Friday. Click here to visit the new audition page, download registration forms for the workshop and the tryouts and read a list of frequently asked questions.

Applicants for the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers must be 18 years old and a high school graduate or G.E.D. recipient by July 1, 2010. There is no maximum age limit.

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