DE Gaines Adams will look to recapture his early-season magic from the 2008 season
"It comes with the territory," says Gaines Adams.
Adams was the fourth overall draft pick in 2007, the man the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tabbed to rejuvenate their pass rush. As a rookie, he recorded six sacks, most among all first-year players in the NFL in 2007. As a second-year player, he led the Buccaneers with 6.5 QB takedowns.
In 2009, he envisioned taking his sack numbers into double digits. That may still happen, but through the first two games of the season Adams has made little impact. That has brought scrutiny to bear on him, as one might expect in his particular bit of football territory. Adams, who has never shied away from such scrutiny, is not surprised.
" Just like I have said since day one, drafted where I was drafted, there comes a lot of responsibility and I feel like I can take care of that," he said. "In anything you do, you are going to have to battle through adversity. That's in football and regular life. Everybody has problems at times in their lives and you just have to overcome them."
The big picture for Adams, in terms of adversity, is that his Buccaneers are 0-2 and about to take on the 2-0 New York Giants in what might be considered a critical game, despite the early date. Tampa Bay's defense has struggled in a couple of ways, including a deficient pass rush, so there is more to the solution than just an uptick in Adams' production. Still, Head Coach Raheem Morris, who doesn't believe in playing games or coddling egos, let his third-year end know this week that more is expected of him.
"Gaines is one of those guys that knows he's judged on whether he's touched the quarterback or not," said Morris. "Right now he's not getting the production as far as not touching the quarterback. The tackles, the sacks — he's not getting any of that. He's just not playing up to par right now. He's holding himself accountable. We've got to hold him accountable. It's tough right now. He is not getting it done. There are no excuses, there are no explanations. Gaines is not getting it done right now."
Morris spoke those words on Monday, following the Bucs' 33-20 loss in Buffalo, so Adams has felt the heat of the spotlight all week. It's not unfair, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Adams was hot at the beginning of last season, with a two-sack game against Atlanta and a pair of early interceptions. Morris indicated that Adams didn't appear to be quite as active at the beginning of this season.
Adams believes he has been putting forth maximum effort, but it's likely that Morris' words will serve as a challenge anyway.
"I'm a football player just like everyone else is in this locker room," said the young defender. "I work hard just like everybody else. Maybe the numbers aren't showing it right now but I'm not worried about that. I can't worry about that."
Game Notes: Giants at Buccaneers, Sunday, September 27, 2009
- Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET * Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,890), Tampa, FL * 2009 Records: Tampa Bay 0-2; N.Y. Giants 2-0 * Network Television: Fox (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnson, Tony Siragusa) * Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM; Gene Deckerhoff, Dave Moore, T.J. Rives) * Up Next for Tampa Bay: at Washington (10/4) * Up Next for N.Y. Giants: at Kansas City (10/4)
All-Time Buccaneers-Giants Series Results
The Buccaneers have won three of the past five regular-season meetings with the Giants, including a 19-13 home win on Monday Night Football in 2003. The Giants lead the all-time series 10-6 in the regular season.
The teams first met in 1977, which produced a 10-0 New York win in Tampa. The Giants proceeded to win the next three games before the Buccaneers won 31-3 at Tampa Stadium during their 1979 postseason push. Tampa Bay followed that up with a 30-13 victory the following season.
After the teams split a pair of meetings in 1984, New York won three consecutive games between 1985 and 1993. The Buccaneers won 20-8 at the Meadowlands in 1997 to all but wrap up their fourth playoff berth. The Buccaneers also prevailed 20-3 in 1998 at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay is 5-4 all-time at home in the regular season against the Giants. Following the 2007 season, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants met in the postseason for the first time, and the Giants came away with the victory at Raymond James Stadium 24-14.
Battling a fierce wind on October 29, 2006, including gusts up to 40 mph, Tampa Bay's record fell to 1-10 all-time in the Meadowlands as the host Giants defeated the Buccaneers, 17-3.
New York took a 7-0 lead with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter as QB Eli Manning hit WR Plaxico Burress on a seven-yard touchdown pass. Following a QB Bruce Gradkowski fumble inside Tampa Bay territory, the Giants increased their lead to 14-0 on RB Brandon Jacobs' one-yard touchdown plunge midway through the second quarter. On the Giants' next possession, DE Simeon Rice sacked Manning and forced a fumble at the New York 10-yard line, but the Bucs could not capitalize as Manning recovered.
The Buccaneers got on the board just before halftime as K Matt Bryant connected on a 43-yard field goal in the swirling winds. Following a scoreless third quarter, the Giants pushed their lead to 17-3 as K Jay Feely hit a 31-yard field goal with 3:43 left in the contest to close out the scoring.
For Tampa Bay, DT Ellis Wyms recorded his fourth sack in a three-game stretch and LB Derrick Brooks appeared in his 183rd career game, tying him for most in team history.
The Bucs know they will be without starting center Jeff Faine (triceps) and rookie defensive end Kyle Moore (knee), both of whom were ruled out on Friday. They also expect to sit wide receiver Maurice Stovall, who was doubtful on the injury report with a knee ailment.
Of less certainty is the status of three key members of the offensive attack: wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee) and running backs Earnest Graham (hamstring) and Cadillac Williams (knee). All three were questionable on Friday, though Williams did practice without limits. Tight end John Gilmore(ankle) is likely to appear in his first game so far and cornerback Elbert Mack (shoulder) is expected to play as well.
The Giants' injury report on Friday was extensive, with five players ruled out, not including safety Kenny Phillips, who was put on injured reserve. The five Giants certain to miss Sunday's game are defensive tackle Chris Canty (calf), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot), cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring), running back Danny Ware (elbow) and linebacker Clint Sintim.
Two other players listed as starters by the Giants are considered questionable for the game: wide receiver Domenik Hixon (knee) and defensive end Justin Tuck (shoulder).
Some of the players and coaches in Sunday's game have ties to the other team or to the opposition's region.
- Bucs RB Derrick Ward spent five seasons with the New York Giants from 2004-08. In his career with the Giants, Ward rushed for 1,750 yards with five touchdowns. Last season, he broke the 1,000-yard mark with teammate Brandon Jacobs, gaining 1,025 yards. * Bucs Offensive Line Coach Pete Mangurian served in the same capacity for the Giants from 1993-96. * Bucs DE Stylez G. White was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, attending Malcolm X. Shabazz High School. * Bucs CB Ronde Barber's brother Tiki played for the Giants from 1997-2006.