Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Drew Brees

TAMPA, Fla. -- If you think the officials were the reason for the Buccaneers’’ overtime loss to the Saints on Sunday, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Cornerback Johnthan Banks, who was called for the most crucial penalty of the day, isn’t blaming the officials. Give Banks credit for being a stand-up guy in a situation that put him in a bad light.

Banks
 “I did it,’’ Banks said Tuesday. “It was a penalty. I saw I was walking up and moving as the ball was being snapped. I just wasn’t ready.’’

Banks was called for hands to the face on New Orleans receiver Robert Meachem. The incident took place on the other side of the field from where the play went. Quarterback Drew Brees threw an incompletion to the other side of the field. The play came on third down, and it looked like the Saints were going to be forced to punt in overtime.

Instead, they were given a first down as the result of Banks’ penalty. That kept the drive alive and the Saints eventually scored the game- winning touchdown.

Banks also had his first interception of the season, but he wasn’t taking any consolation in that.

“There were so many plays that we didn’t make out there,’’ Banks said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better and move forward to the future.’’

Banks’ penalty was just one of a season-high 15 for the Bucs. Banks said that many penalties were uncharacteristic and cost the Bucs the game.

“I know what this team can be with a clean game,’’ Banks said. “I know what this team can be. Take those 15 penalties, that’s crazy. We don’t have 15 penalties, who knows how bad we could have beat those guys? We were up 11 points in the fourth quarter, and we had 15 penalties. We were just shooting ourselves in the foot every time.’’

Stock Watch: Buccaneers

October, 6, 2014
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FALLING

Cornerback Johnthan Banks. He had his first interception of the season against the Saints. But Banks also committed a hands-to-the-face penalty in overtime that kept New Orleans’ game-winning drive alive.

Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He had two early drops and a costly penalty. The rookie had a rough day all the way around. He was about a minute late for the team bus Sunday morning.

Running back Doug Martin. I still think the offensive line is the main culprit for Tampa Bay’s inability to run the ball with any consistency. But I’m starting to wonder if Martin, who averaged 3.2 yards on 14 carries, might be part of the problem.

RISING

Quarterback Mike Glennon. The second-year pro had his second straight strong start while playing in place of the injured Josh McCown. Glennon threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns. I'm thinking there's a good chance Glennon will keep the starting job even after McCown returns.

Receiver Robert Herron. The rookie had the first touchdown catch of his career in the fourth quarter. Herron struggled in training camp and the preseason, but it’s starting to look like he’s earning the trust of the coaching staff.

Linebacker Danny Lansanah. He’s won the starting spot at strongside linebacker. He picked off a Drew Brees pass and returned it for a touchdown. That was Lansanah’s second interception return for a touchdown this season.
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NEW ORLEANS -- The table was all set for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to turn around their season.

Then it all fell apart.

Despite holding an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Bucs lost 37-31 to the New Orleans Saints in overtime Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"We had every opportunity to win this football game," offensive tackle Demar Dotson said. "We had the Saints right where we wanted them. We didn't finish. We allowed things to slip out of our hands. We've got to learn how to finish football games. That's tough to come in here and have the opportunity we had and let it slip away."

It's tough because, with a win, the Bucs would have been nicely positioned. They would have been right in the NFC South race and they would have been coming home with a two-game winning streak and growing confidence for next week's game with Baltimore.

Instead, they're 1-4, in sole possession of last place in the NFC South and coming home angry. There was more anger in Sunday's locker room than there was after a 56-14 loss to Atlanta in Week 3.

"Somebody's got to make a play," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "You've just got to make a play. We let that one go. We let that one go."

The Bucs let this one get away in regulation and in overtime. They took a 31-20 lead when rookie receiver Robert Herron caught a touchdown pass from Mike Glennon with 13:28 left in the fourth quarter.

Plenty of teams have blown leads to Drew Brees and the Saints in their home through the years. But shouldn't you expect to hold on when you have an 11-point lead and your offense and defense have been playing well?

"Yes, we do," coach Lovie Smith said. "There's no other way around it. You're up by 11. With our defense, simple as that, you don't let them score and you win the football game."

That's not what the Bucs did. Two series -- one by the offense and one by the defense -- quickly turned the course of the game. On a New Orleans drive that featured three Bucs penalties, Pierre Thomas scored on a 27-yard run to cut the lead to 31-26.

The Bucs followed that with one of the worst offensive series in franchise history, which is saying a lot. The Bucs started with a first-and-10 at their own 20. They quickly got backed up by three penalties and a fumbled snap by Glennon. Stuck at the 1-yard line, Glennon was sacked for a safety by Junior Gallette to cut the lead to 31-28.

The Saints followed that up with a field goal to send the game to overtime. But that's where things got even worse for the Bucs. On a third down, the Tampa Bay defense appeared to force a New Orleans punt. But cornerback Johnthan Banks was called for illegal use of hands. That gave New Orleans new life and the Saints wound up winning on an 18-yard run by Khiry Robinson.

The Bucs, who finished with 15 penalties for 113 yards, have no one to blame but themselves. They had this game there for the taking and they didn't finish it off.

"It was a key game for us," Smith said. "We put a big emphasis on it. On the road and a division game, that itself says quite a bit. To be able to steal one would have put us in pretty good position. But we seem to do it the hard way. I'm still encouraged by a lot of the things I saw. Disappointed in the loss, but encouraged by some of our play. We're getting better as a football team and eventually our record will show it."

But, despite the golden opportunity, the Bucs aren't there yet.

W2W4: Buccaneers at Saints

October, 4, 2014
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Five things to watch in Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints:

Mike Glennon: The second-year quarterback will make his second straight start. He is coming off an impressive game-winning drive in Pittsburgh. Glennon had some success with the deep ball, something the Bucs weren’t getting much of with Josh McCown in the first three games. The Bucs don’t want Glennon in a shootout with Drew Brees, but they will try to take advantage of his big arm and take some shots down the field.

Martin
The running game: The best way to avoid the shootout with Brees is to have a strong running game. The Bucs haven’t run the ball very well so far. But Doug Martin is healthy after missing two games with a knee injury. The Bucs are likely to try to establish Martin early.

The pass rush: The defensive front four showed some signs of life in last week’s win against Pittsburgh. The Bucs recorded five sacks against the Steelers. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Johnson both are playing through injuries, but have been productive. Brees isn’t an easy quarterback to sack because he gets rid of the ball quickly. But the Bucs need to put some pressure on Brees and knock him off his favorite launching spots.

The secondary: The Bucs have a lot invested in their secondary. But the defensive backfield has yet to produce much in the way of results. That needs to change against the Saints. The Bucs have been credited with only five passes defended. The secondary needs to start getting its hands on some footballs.

Lavonte David: The linebacker has played well, but he hasn’t made any of the big plays he made last season. David is the Bucs’ best player after McCoy, and he needs a big game for this defense to slow Brees. David has to make a play or two as pass defender or a rusher.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed they're capable of winning with a victory against Pittsburgh. And they showed they can win in a hostile atmosphere.

But atmospheres don't come much more hostile than the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It's as loud as any venue in the league and that's going to make things tough for second-year quarterback Mike Glennon.

The Saints also are likely to be angry after their 1-3 start. They'll be playing this game to try to climb their way back into the playoff picture.

I think Tampa Bay is a team that's going to get better each week the rest of the season. But that doesn't mean I think they'll win in New Orleans. That's too much to ask for.

In games in which quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton were together (not including the season-long suspension served by Payton), the Saints haven't lost a home game since 2010.

My prediction: Saints 27, Bucs 17.
TAMPA, Fla. -- One of the traits I admire most about Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is his honesty.

Even if something isn't positive, McCoy's not afraid to say it.

"One of our Achilles heels right now is covering the tight end," McCoy said Thursday. "We have to be better at that."

McCoy simply was stating the obvious. The Bucs are coming off a game in which Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller caught 10 passes. Now, the Bucs have to face New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, who just might be the best tight end in the business -- if you even consider him a tight end.

"There are going to be times when we look at (Graham) as a receiver because they do move him around a lot," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "It's not often that he's a point-of-attack blocker. You see that on tape. He's an outstanding tight end with great pass-receiving skills. You've got to respect that and the way they move him around you have to recognize that he's not always at the tight end position. There are times we're going to treat him as a receiver."

The Bucs likely will use a combination of linebackers and defensive backs to try to slow Graham and quarterback Drew Brees. But there is one other way to prevent Graham from getting the ball.

"The (pass) rush can help that," McCoy said. "Somebody has to win early and we can make the quarterback make a bad throw. Or if the tight end is open, somebody is getting his hands up and getting the quarterback off his spot and making him make a bad throw. And, then, on the back end, guys being in the right spot covering the tight end. What better week to do it than this week. No. 9 and No. 80 over the past five years, that's been a huge combo."

McCoy said the key is to put pressure on Brees.

"Drew Brees is a Hall of Famer, but obviously different defenses get to him and rattle him and make him have a bad day," McCoy said. "You have to do that. It's going to start with us in the middle. He's a shorter guy, so we have to get in his face. We have different packages where we'll have taller guys in the middle and try to get our hands up and pressure him.

"Really, the big thing is to get him off his spot and it's a rush and coverage combo after that. But we definitely have to get him off his spot. He likes to throw from a certain spot. He has a certain step-up spot he likes. We have to get him off of that and get him uncomfortable."

Frazier was quick to point out the Saints have plenty of other offensive weapons besides Graham.

"You have to make a decision on what you've got to take away," Frazier said. "We have a plan for this week and hopefully we can execute it."
TAMPA, Fla. -- You could make an argument that the McCowns are the first family of the NFC South.

Josh McCown plays for Tampa Bay and previously played for Carolina. Brother Luke plays for New Orleans and previously played for Atlanta.

Their current teams will square off Sunday when the Bucs visit the Saints.

McCown
McCown
"We have Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa and New Orleans covered," Josh said Thursday. "We know where to eat at. We know where all the spots are. It’s just where the journey has taken us, and it’s been fun. All of our stops along the way and the guys we’ve gotten to work with whether it’s myself and Jake Delhomme in Carolina or Matt (Ryan) and Drew (Brees) with Luke, it’s been great."

The McCowns might not play Sunday -- Josh is dealing with a thumb injury and Luke is the backup quarterback to Brees, but the meeting still will be special.

"It will be cool," Josh said. "I’ve said it over and over, it’s a blessing just to be in the NFL for one person. For two people in the same family, those are long odds. It’ll be fun Sunday. It will be special for Luke and I."

Josh still was wearing a brace on his right hand Thursday and he has yet to grip a football, but he said he believes he’s making progress.

"It feels like I’m gaining ground and improving," he said. "But there’s still a healing time that has to occur. We just have to let the process take place."

Josh said surgery remains an option if the injury doesn’t heal with therapy and rest. But that is an option McCown wants to avoid.

"You never say never," McCown said. "You don’t know. But we’re hopeful. We’re very encouraged by where we’re at now. But, again, you can’t take anything off the table."
TAMPA, Fla. – On a day near the middle of training camp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith walked into his post-practice news conference and delivered a message.

"There's nothing really I can give you today," Smith said.

Smith wasn't being condescending or rude to the media. He simply was being truthful. Tampa Bay's camp hasn't had any major news or controversies. It has been downright boring at times -- but it beats the alternative.

We saw the other side of things last year, and it wasn't pretty. There was plenty of news and a ton of distractions. Former coach Greg Schiano and quarterback Josh Freeman were in the early stages of a feud that would end in divorce one month into the season. And it wasn't just Freeman who was having issues with Schiano's style. Numerous players had problems with Schiano's rigid ways and never fully bought into the coach.

That quickly caught up to Schiano, who was fired after two lackluster seasons. Enter Smith, who is the anti-Schiano in just about every way. Smith is calm and treats his players like adults, and you already can see the results of that. There have been no controversies.

Amid the tranquility, players are singing the praises of Smith. The coach brings back memories of Tony Dungy, who guided the Bucs to their first era of sustained success. That's no coincidence. Smith was the linebackers coach in Dungy's early years in Tampa Bay and has an approach similar to Dungy's.

People already are comparing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to Warren Sapp and linebacker Lavonte David to Derrick Brooks. Smith's hiring has brought enthusiasm to a fan base that hasn't had much to be excited about in recent years. But that fan base has pleasant memories of what things were like in the Bucs' glory days.

On several occasions, Smith has said that one of his goals is to make the Bucs relevant again. If things go according to Smith's plans, the Bucs might be boring, but they'll be good.

THREE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

1. Smith is known for being a defensive coach, and he has some good ingredients to start with. McCoy and David were All-Pros last year, and they play two of the most important positions in the Tampa 2 defense Smith is bringing back to the Bucs. McCoy and David give Tampa Bay a nice start, but some other players are going to have to come through. The coaching staff believes strong safety Mark Barron is ready to be a star. If some role players come through, this could be a very good defense.

[+] EnlargeDoug Martin
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesDoug Martin is back from a shoulder injury, but he shouldn't have to shoulder all of the load in a deep backfield.
2. Doug Martin is back from a shoulder injury that kept him out for about half of last season. That should provide a huge lift for the offense. Martin rushed for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012, and he has looked sharp in training camp. Under Schiano, the Bucs often overused Martin. That’s not going to be the case with Smith. The Bucs have made it clear that Martin will remain as the feature back but that they’ll rotate in some other backs to keep him fresh. Rookie Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James could be in the mix for playing time.

3. After using their first two draft picks on wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Bucs have one of the biggest receiving corps in the league. Williams, Seferian-Jenkins and Vincent Jackson each are at least 6-foot-5. They're going to present coverage challenges for defensive backs.

THREE REASONS FOR PESSIMISM

1. The offensive line hasn't looked very good in the preseason, and that's a huge cause for concern. The Bucs are especially thin at guard. All-Pro Carl Nicks left the team after not being able to recover from a toe injury. That leaves four guys without a lot of experience vying for two starting spots. Oniel Cousins, Jace Daniels, Patrick Omameh and rookie Kadeem Edwards have been rotating at the guard spots, and two of them will emerge as starters, unless the Bucs bring in some help from the outside.

2. Smith went out on a limb when he signed quarterback Josh McCown as a free agent and immediately named him the starter. McCown, 35, has been a backup most of his career, but he did play well in Chicago last year when Jay Cutler went out with an injury. McCown threw 13 touchdowns with just one interception. It's too much to expect him to keep up that kind of pace, especially with an unsteady offensive line. Smith, who coached McCown in Chicago, believes he can be successful over the course of a full season. But that's something McCown has never done.

3. Smith's philosophy is to play great defense and be efficient on offense. That worked well enough to get Smith to a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears. But that philosophy might be antiquated. The league has become quarterback-driven. The Bucs are in the same division as New Orleans' Drew Brees, Carolina's Cam Newton and Atlanta's Matt Ryan. McCown and this offense might not have enough firepower to stay competitive in the division.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • McCoy has had an outstanding training camp. He consistently has gotten into the backfield as a pass-rusher and has been stuffing running plays. But it remains to be seen whether McCoy's excellent play is simply the byproduct of the weakness at the guard spots.
    [+] EnlargeVincent Jackson
    AP Photo/Bill KostrounVincent Jackson, in his third season with the Bucs, will have a third starting QB throwing to him.

  • The chemistry between McCown and Jackson has been noticeable. In addition to the offseason program, the two spent a lot of time in the spring and summer working out at a local high school.

  • The Bucs have gotten almost nothing out of defensive end Da'Quan Bowers since taking him in the second round in 2011. But they are trying something new with Bowers this year. They're going to use him inside at defensive tackle in obvious passing situations.

  • The Bucs have high hopes for sixth-round draft pick Robert Herron. But don't look for the receiver/return man to get a lot of playing time early on. Herron has had ball-security issues in camp. He needs to hold on to the ball if he's going to earn playing time.

  • Herron will make the 53-man roster. So will Jackson, Evans and Chris Owusu. Eric Page also probably will stick thanks to his return skills. That probably leaves one spot to be filled from a group of receivers who have shown promise in training camp. Tommy Streeter, Louis Murphy, Lavelle Hawkins and Solomon Patton all have shown flashes, but at least a couple of them won't make the roster.

  • Hamstring injuries have kept cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins out for a big chunk of training camp. But there's a flip side to that, and it's positive. Second-year pro Johnthan Banks has gotten a ton of work with the first team and has looked good. Banks didn't have a great rookie year. But his performance in camp probably will keep him in the starting lineup.

Are Bucs behind NFC South?

July, 15, 2014
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I did a radio interview Monday with former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney. That got me thinking back to 2003 when Hurney built a Super Bowl team.

Led by Julius Peppers and Kris Jenkins on an awesome defense, the Panthers ran the ball with Stephen Davis on offense and quarterback Jake Delhomme didn't make many mistakes. That formula took the Panthers down to the wire against the New England Patriots in a game that was a lot closer than most people remember.

Anyway, I look at that Carolina team and then I look at the plan coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht have in place for this year's Buccaneers. It's the same thing, right?

Yes, in many ways it's the exact same strategy. A defense led by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David is going to keep the Bucs close in most of their games. In some of those games, a running game featuring Doug Martin with a little bit of passing from Josh McCown will do the trick.

But is that enough to get the Bucs anywhere close to the Super Bowl? I'm not so sure. There's no question that formula worked quite nicely for Hurney and coach John Fox back in the day, and it could do wonders for a Tampa Bay team that was 4-12 last season.

Could the Bucs turn things around and make a Super Bowl run? Amid all the optimism that came with Smith's hiring -- and I think that was a great move -- I'm more than a little skeptical.

I think the Bucs will be better than they were last year. But I'm not sure they'll be good enough to make much of an impact in the postseason. As I said before, I see a lot of similarities between this year's team and the Carolina team (and Smith's Chicago team that made a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman). I also see a lot of similarities between this year's team and the Tampa Bay teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s. But that might not be all that big a compliment.

The game has changed a lot. The NFL is more driven by quarterbacks than at any point in the past. Do a reality check here.

Look at New Orleans with Drew Brees. Look at Atlanta with Matt Ryan. And look at Carolina with Cam Newton. Those are all franchise quarterbacks.

McCown doesn't fit that mold. He is a nice game manager, at best. With this offense, the Bucs still might be behind the rest of the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jonathan Casillas has obviously liked what he’s seen so far from new quarterback Josh McCown. While praising McCown on a recent radio interview, Casillas compared him to former New Orleans Saints teammate Drew Brees.

[+] EnlargeJosh McCown
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaJosh McCown is turning heads in Tampa, as the offseason signee has already earned praise.
Casillas, who began his career with the Saints from 2009-2012, said repeatedly that he didn’t want to take anything away from second-year quarterback Mike Glennon. But he said on ESPN New York’s Dave Rothenberg Show that McCown is just “on another level right now, I believe.”

“McCown looks like he’s played a couple of years in this game,” Casillas said of the 12th-year veteran, who shined with the Chicago Bears last season as a replacement for injured starter Jay Cutler before signing with the Buccaneers as a free agent. “It’s a strong comparison, but he reminds me of Drew (Brees), not just the way he throws the ball, but his approach to the game. The first one in, the last one out, he’s always around. He’s very communicable, very personable. And you can tell he’s a born leader.

“You know, he’s not even trying to do much now, but people are following him, just his approach to the game. And like I said, Glennon is learning a lot from him. So, if Glennon can beat him out this year, that will be great. Because at the end of the day, if Glennon can beat McCown out, then we’re going to get a good quarterback.”

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who played with McCown early in their careers, also praised McCown while participating in the Drew Brees Passing Academy, according to the Tampa Tribune.
There’s been a lot of talk about Josh McCown's age since the quarterback was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCown will turn 35 on July 4. That may sound old for a guy the Bucs are expecting to be their starter. But, at last week’s NFL owners meetings, coach Lovie Smith didn’t seem worried about McCown’s age.

“Thirty-four is a number and being a 34-year-old guy that has been back and forth for a long period of time and doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear on his body,’’ Smith said. “He’s a very good athlete. He won’t get the credit for being the athlete that he is. He brings mobility to the position. He makes good decisions.’’

Smith previously coached McCown in Chicago. That’s part of the reason McCown was Tampa Bay’s first, and only, target in free agency.

“As I looked at, I said, ‘Who is available that I think can help us win football games?’’’ Smith said. “What Josh displayed last year was that. I know a lot has been said about his leadership, but I’m talking about his play on the football field. That’s what you go on. There are a couple other good quarterbacks in their 30s doing a pretty good job right now. I don’t think you are ready to be put out to pasture yet when you get into your 30s. I feel pretty good – confident – about the type of play we’re going to get from him.’’

Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning all are 35 or older, so Smith has a point about not putting quarterbacks out to pasture. While it’s true that McCown hasn’t played nearly as much as Brady, Brees and Manning, his age might not be a negative because he hasn’t taken the punishment those three quarterbacks have.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson said he felt disrespected when New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees accused him of being a head hunter last season. Now, Goldson is doing something about it.

In this story by Anwar Richardson, Goldson said he’s going to work on his tackling technique with Bobby Hosea at Train 'Em Up Academy this offseason. That is a wise idea, because Goldson’s tackling created major problems last season.

[+] EnlargeDashon Goldson
AP Photo/Brian BlancoBucs safety Dashon Goldson was fined nearly $500,000 and suspended for one game because of illegal hits last season.
He was fined nearly $500,000 and suspended for one game because of illegal hits.

"When we get together, we’re going to break it down," Hosea, who played football at UCLA, told Richardson. "We’re going to do film study on tackling, and we’re going to look at all these flags, and we’re going to break it down. Dashon was the best tackler you’ve ever seen in high school ... something happened in the last couple of years when he started dropping his hat. I haven’t seen all of them (illegal hits). I saw a couple.

"I know him. He’s like a son to me. He can control what he’s doing. He’s gotten away from it. I don’t know what (former Bucs coach) Greg Schiano was teaching or emphasizing, or if they were emphasizing anything at all. We’re going to get Dashon back on track, and keep his money in his pocket."

But this isn’t just about money. It’s about pride. Goldson has a lot of pride and it took a hit last year when Brees spoke out about his tackling tactics.

"I felt very disrespected," Goldson said. "This is coming from one player to another. We all love the game. We all play the game to win, and that’s all I ever wanted to do was win. People ask me why do you hit so hard? Why do you play so hard? I just explain to them that all I want to do is win. For him to come out and say something like that when that was never the case was shocking. I respected him as a football player, but with something being said like that, it was like he was trying to sabotage, pretty much hate on me, because I was known for being a ferocious hitter.

"He’s an icon guy in our league, and he’s talking about how I’m trying to take guy’s heads off and being a dirty player. I just felt very disrespected, and I didn’t think that was called for."

There’s only one way to stop the criticism. That is to play the game within the rules, and Goldson is working on that.

QB Watch: Buccaneers' Josh Freeman

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
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A weekly analysis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback play.

Freeman
Rewind: Josh Freeman had his third straight game in which he completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in a 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots. Freeman completed 19-of-41 passes (46.3 percent) with no touchdowns and one interception. Freeman was sacked three times and had four catchable passes hit the ground.

Fast-forward: New Orleans’ Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns against the Arizona defense on Sunday. But let’s keep in mind that the Bucs don't have anything close to Brees.

The Freeman era is over. Freeman will be benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon for Sunday's game with Arizona, according to Adam Schefter. This is further proof that the reported rift between Freeman and coach Greg Schiano was very real. Glennon was drafted by Schiano and Freeman was not.

Prediction: The best thing the Bucs can do for themselves and Freeman is to trade the guy who once was viewed as a franchise quarterback. It's too late for Freeman and Schiano to patch up their differences and the Bucs have to move forward with Glennon.

Fines keep coming for Buccaneers

September, 20, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- We told you earlier how Tampa Bay’s penchant for personnel fouls is going to cost ownership.

Well, there’s now another layer to that. In addition to the already-reported fines on safety Dashon Goldson ($100,000) and safety Ahmad Black ($21,000), the NFL said Friday afternoon that defensive end Adrian Clayborn has been fined $21,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.

That means the Bucs now have been fined at least $179,875 for personnel fouls through two games.

Any team that reaches $105,000 in total personal-foul fines for the season has to pay a $50,000 fine. If a team’s total reaches $157,500, there’s another $25,000 team fine and the team also has to match all subsequent fines.

The Bucs technically are at $129,875 because Goldson’s fine only counts $50,000 toward this program, according to league rules. But the Bucs are close to the threshold where they’ll have to pay for every fine and they’re only two games into the season.

Brees: Goldson has no regard for rules

September, 18, 2013
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On the same day Dashon Goldson's one-game suspension was overturned, the Tampa Bay safety took a verbal hit from across the Gulf of Mexico.

Goldson
Brees
Goldson originally was suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles. But, on appeal, the suspension was reduced to a $100,000 fine. Since 2010, Goldson has been called for a league-high 15 personal fouls. He also was fined $30,000 for an illegal hit in the season opener against the New York Jets.

"He’s had a lot of those,’’ Saints quarterback Drew Brees told the New Orleans media Wednesday. “He certainly has no regard for the rules in the middle. He’s going after guys' heads. You can see it.

“So, obviously $100,000 is a pretty hefty fine. And I’m sure if it continues to happen it will be even greater punishment than that.’’

In Tampa Bay, Goldson told reporters he’s not trying to hurt opponents.

“I’m an aggressive player,’’ Goldson said. “We all know that across the league. I’ve never tried to hurt anybody. I try to keep my hits within the rules. And that’s what I’ll do week in and week out. I have to make sure I get guys to the ground, but at the same time I have to be careful.’’

Goldson acknowledged his hits will be under the microscope going forward.

“I know there are going to be a lot of eyes on me from now on,’’ Goldson said. “And that’s OK. I just have to be smart. I’m not trying to hurt my team and I’m definitely not trying to hurt myself with the way I play.

“I have to take my shots when they present themselves but I have to do it clean. No launching, of course, no hats on hats. Just make sure I get the body down on the ground and do it properly.’’

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