If you’re a fan of both pro football and pro wrestling, there’s no better show to watch right now than “Breaking Ground” on the WWE Network. It is basically Vince McMahon’s version of the hit HBO show “Hard Knocks” — but instead of following NFL hopefuls during training camp, it follows WWE hopefuls who are learning the craft in the WWE’s own minor-league promotion called NXT.
In the first episode of “Breaking Ground,” the first wrestler we’re introduced to is Sabby Piscitelli, a.k.a. “Tino Sabbatelli” in the wrestling world, a 32-year-old who played defensive back for five seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers, Browns and Chiefs. Continue reading
Tags: Aqib Talib, Dashon Goldson, NFL, Oregon State, Ronde Barber, Sabby Piscitelli, T.J. Ward, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tino Sabbatelli, wrestling, WWE
There are plenty of places to spread blame around for the struggles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense during the team’s 1-4 start to the season.
You could blame the schedule, which has had the Bucs play three straight road games — including a short-week Thursday night disaster at Atlanta — and has had them face each of the elite QBs of the NFC South once already: Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. You could blame the leadership, as first-year head coach Lovie Smith has implemented a Tampa 2 defensive scheme that, while once dominant in the NFL, has mostly become outdated and ineffective for the teams who try it. Or you could blame the talent, as some of the players relied upon to be difference-makers for the Bucs have yet to make a positive impact. Continue reading
Thursday night’s primetime national-TV flogging of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons may have marked the exact moment when the “Tampa 2” defense, once the league’s most popular and puzzling scheme, became played out.
To be fair, the Bucs’ defense was just part of the team’s problem in the 56-14 loss. The special teams allowed Atlanta’s Devin Hester to return a punt for a touchdown, and Tampa Bay QB Josh McCown threw a pick-six to Falcons safety Kemal Ishmael. But the Bucs’ D was undeniably lit up by ground and by air. Continue reading
Tags: Bob Sanders, Charles Tillman, Derrick Brooks, Devin Hester, Herm Edwards, John Lynch, Kemal Ishmael, Lovie Smith, Monte Kiffin, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tony Dungy, Warren Sapp
Forty-yard dash times and wingspan measurements are understandably important to those who make a living analyzing and evaluating defensive backfield talent, but still, the best way for a cornerback or safety to catch a scout’s attention is the ability to stick to pass-catchers like duct tape.
To develop that particular set of skills, you won’t find many teachers better than Ron Cooper, currently the DBs coach for the University of South Florida who resume also includes stints with Mississippi State, Wisconsin, LSU and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Continue reading