Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Answer Man, Vol. 2

The fans’ inside source tackles a new round of questions sent in through Fan Central, touching on such topics as John Howell, the injured reserve list and an important tailgating consideration

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TE Dave Moore prefers gas grills for the convenience

Sigh.

You know, when the Answer Man took this assignment – answering fans' inquiries and, when necessary, tracking down information from players and coaches – he thought he would be able to ease into the process.

You know what I mean. Spend a few weeks answering questions about roster limits and team history before tackling any of the big issues. Everything seemed fine last week when we started off with questions about Casey Cramer, quarterback snaps and Buccaneer roster moves.

Then came this week's mailbag, and hidden within it one of the biggies. A core issue. A question whose answer could divide us, put us into separate camps eyeing each other suspiciously.

Why? Why must we be confronted with this topic so soon into our tenure? We blame a man known only as PG (that's his moniker from the Buccaneer Bulletin Board) who, it should be said, is only trying to get himself ready for football season. Like we said, sigh. Well, nothing to do but dive into it. See question one below.

(By the way, if you've got any questions for Answer Man, or for any of the team's players or coaches, click here and submit it. Next week, I'm sure we'll be back in a carefree mood.)

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1. PG of Palm Harbor, Florida asks:

Answer Man..... ya gotta help me bro.

I'm almost totally prepared now for the upcoming season. I have just one more thing on my list before I can invite my fellow Buc fans over for the games. Next weekend I'm heading to a Bucs Pewter Partner - The Home Depot - to obtain that all important final accoutrement to any successful Buccaneer tailgate extravaganza ....and I'm depending on your expert advice to chart my course for maximum grilling enjoyment at the PG household this season. The dilemma relates to where the Grid Iron "meats" the Grid Iron....

My question, sir ....... Charcoal or Gas?

Answer Man: Were you not a longstanding member of the BBB, we might have been tempted to skip your question and pretend it never arrived. But that wouldn't have been right, would it? This is a question that needs to be solved.

Now, the Answer Man is a gas man (one of the things that pains the Answer Wife, along with my constant shifts from first-person to third-person), but that's simply a matter of convenience. Besides, this isn't about my opinion.

So we conducted an informal poll of 11 players and coaches (Why 11? Why not?) at Saturday morning's training camp practice, and here's our informed answer: It's gotta be charcoal, at least when it comes to steaks.

PG, are you just going to be grilling up some burgers to enjoy with the game? Then don't worry about it. Go with gas for greater convenience.

But if you're tackling a tastier piece of meat, then only charcoal will add flavor to your cut. You will get no additional flavor from the gas, but the charcoal fire will give your steak or chicken that smoky, off-the-grill flavor. That's the opinion of nine of the 11 respondents to which we spoke.

There is, of course, the dissenting opinion. As tight end Dave Moore, an avid griller, says, "I get home and everything is already set up. Anne (his wife) has everything cut up and ready to be grilled or cooked. I just want to get the meal ready as quickly as possible."

So there you have it. Perhaps the first and only discussion of grilling techniques ever on Buccaneers.com. If Answer Man has his way, it will be the last. Now on to more traditional Answer Man topics…

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2. Ernie Ensign, Sarasota, Florida asks:

I have been to training camp and go to this web site almost every day. I have not heard anything about John Howell. How is he doing? Is he healthy? I have the roster and he still on it as of opening day of camp.

Answer Man: No mention of John Howell over two weeks of camp? Oops, our bad.

Howell, one of the most friendliest men you'll ever have occasion to run into, is having a fine camp. He is playing primarily free safety, where he played last year, and has been running with the second team, behind Jermaine Phillips. Because Howell is familiar with the Bucs' defense, can play both safety spots and is a good special teamer, he is considered a potentially valuable player. There is good competition at safety, however, with starters Phillips and Dwight Smith backed up by Howell, Scott Frost, Will Allen, Kalvin Pearson and Will Hunter.

By the way, Answer Man has it on good confidence that Howell is about to be prominently displayed on Buccaneers.com, perhaps making up for his being ignored during camp. Beginning next week, the site will have a Featured Player of the Week, and the first player is none other than John Howell. As you'll see this week with Howell, the section will include links to his bio, stats and photos, plus additional photos and information throughout the week and his postgame comments after Friday's contest in Jacksonville.

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Tom Solomon of Palm Harbor, Florida asks:

A player is injured and out for the season on the IR list. Does he get his contract salary or what? Any difference in being injured during camp or during the season??

Answer Man: Tom, that's a fine, fine question, and one that still confuses the Answer Man from time to time. Just to be sure, we checked in with Director of Pro Personnel Mark Dominik to verify our information.

The first thing you should know is that there are two types of injuries that lead to injured reserve, and they have nothing to do with when the injury occurs. There are 'minor' and 'major' injuries; the first kind might be healed in six to eight weeks, the second would require more than eight weeks to overcome.

In either case, if a team places a player on injured reserve, that player may not play for that team again that season. However, with a minor injury, the player may be released when he has returned to health and passed a physical. In either case, while the player is on injured reserve, he receives his full salary and that salary counts against the team's salary cap.

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Bill of Clearwater, Florida asks:

What is the name of the "pirate" music that plays during the battling ships and is it available?

Answer Man: We're definitely saving this link for future weeks, because that is a surprising common question.

If we know the piece to which you refer, it is called 'Carmina Burana, O Fortuna,' and it was composed by Orff. It is available in classical-music compilations at your local record stores. Buccaneers.com is particularly fond of that piece, as you may have noticed, for its dramatic sound.

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Alex of Lancaster, Pennsylvania asks:

When do the Bucs return from Disney?

Answer Man: Alex, we know you sent this question in before the arrival of Hurricane Charley, but we're glad we didn't answer it until now because the end of camp has changed quite a bit.

Because Charley's effects forced the Buccaneers' opening preseason game from Saturday to Monday (as General Manager Bruce Allen said, that is the least significant inconvenience caused by the storm), the team will wrap camp early. Instead of returning after Monday's game for what would be, in effect, one day of practice, the Bucs will break camp on the morning before that game and not return.

Back in Tampa, practices will resume. The team will no longer have two-a-days, but it will work out virtually every day in an effort to hone its offense, defense and special teams and make the necessary decisions to get down to 53 players for the regular season. Unlike the practices at Disney, however, the ones at One Buccaneer Place will not be open to the public.

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