Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rapid Reaction
September, 14, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
What it means: This isn't a full-fledged disaster, but it's entering that territory. The Bucs are 0-2 -- with both losses coming at home. Based on what we've seen out of them so far, there's no reason to think they can win their three upcoming road games (Atlanta, Pittsburgh and New Orleans). This loss was particularly painful because it came against a mediocre team that was playing a third-string quarterback (Austin Davis).
Stock watch: Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald was an offseason signing as a free agent. That's looking like a good move. McDonald played the run well and had an impressive third-quarter sack of Davis. Unfortunately, the Bucs didn't get much of a pass rush from anywhere else.
Big injury: There was no official news yet, but the hand injury suffered by All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy appeared serious. McCoy briefly tried to return to the game with heavy wrapping on the hand. But that was short-lived and he left the game for good near the middle of the second quarter. If McCoy is going to miss any significant time, it could be devastating for the Bucs. He's their best player and the team's unquestioned leader.
Honoring Brooks: One of the day's highlights came at halftime when the Bucs inducted Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks into the team's Ring of Honor and retired his jersey (No. 55). Brooks also was presented with his Hall of Fame ring.
Game ball: Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey. He got the start in place of an injured Doug Martin and responded with a 144 rushing yards.
What's next: The Bucs face a quick turnaround. They play at Atlanta on Thursday night.
September, 7, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 20-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
What it means: Let's keep in mind this was only one game, and it was a close loss to the defending division champion. It's not time to write off the season or even hit the panic button because the Bucs did show some spunk late in the game. But, geez, if Tampa Bay's offense doesn't get more productive and consistent, it could be a long season.
Offensive woes: Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who had an unspecified medical procedure two weeks ago, was in the press box, but he wasn't calling plays. Team officials said Tedford, who has been cleared only for light duty, was providing an "extra set of eyes." What Tedford saw out of his offense wasn't good at all. The Bucs let the Panthers take control of the game in the first half. In that half, Carolina ran 42 offensive plays while the Bucs ran 15. Carolina had 205 yards of total offense in the first half while the Bucs had 84 -- 54 of which came on a run by fullback Jorvorskie Lane. The Bucs didn't score until the fourth quarter.
Duel of the veterans: Tampa Bay's Josh McCown and Carolina's Derek Anderson have been backup quarterbacks most of their careers. McCown was given the starting job this season, and Anderson got a start in place of an injured Cam Newton. But Anderson had the better day.
Costly injury? Desperate to solidify their offensive line in the preseason, the Bucs traded for Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but suddenly, there's uncertainty about Mankins. He left the game with a knee injury midway through the second quarter and did not return. If Mankins is out for an extended period, the Bucs, once again, will find themselves in big trouble at guard. They could be back in the market for Richie Incognito, who visited with the team several weeks ago.
Game ball: Fullback Jorvorskie Lane. With a 54-yard run, he accounted for more than half of Tampa Bay's rushing yardage. He also was the only bright spot of the first half.
What's next: The Bucs host the St. Louis Rams next Sunday.
December, 22, 2013
A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 23-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
What it means: The Bucs are 4-11. The bright spot is that they remain in position for a prime first-round draft pick in 2014. But the downside is that the Bucs lost a very winnable game. Their defense played well. But the offense sputtered almost all day. A loss like last week's to San Francisco is understandable, but a loss to a mediocre team like St. Louis does not bode well for coach Greg Schiano's future. He'll head into the final week of the season with all sorts of speculation about his job.
Stock watch: Falling: Safety Dashon Goldson, who is under the league's microscope for his aggressive play, could be facing a fine or another suspension. Goldson was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit. The hit didn't look particularly flagrant, but the standards are stricter for Goldson, who already has served a one-game suspension.
No running game: Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who was sacked seven times, will take most of the heat simply because he's the quarterback. Glennon was far from perfect. But he wasn't Tampa Bay's biggest problem. The Bucs are supposed to be a run-first football team. Running back Bobby Rainey had 37 yards on 20 carries. The Bucs have to run the ball better than that to have any chance to win.
What's next: The Buccaneers close out their season next Sunday at New Orleans.
November, 17, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 41-28 victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
What it means: The Bucs are on a winning streak. Yeah, it’s only two games, but that’s pretty substantial for a team that lost its first eight games. The Bucs were loose and relaxed in how they coached and played and that led to their best performance of the season. There had been plenty of times when the Bucs squandered leads earlier in the season. But this time, they firmly put the game out of reach. Coach Greg Schiano remains on the hot seat, but he has a shot to keep his job if the Bucs continue to play like this the rest of the season.
A star is born: With season-ending injuries to Doug Martin and Mike James, the Bucs gave running back Bobby Rainey an opportunity, and he made the most of it. Rainey, who finished with 163 rushing yards, ran for two touchdowns in the first half and caught a touchdown pass in the second half.
A star gets brighter: Gerald McCoy went to the Pro Bowl last season, so it’s not accurate to call him a surprise. But McCoy, who came into the game with three sacks on the season, had the best game of his career. McCoy had three sacks and swatted down a pass.
Stock watch: The deep passing game is on the rise. Schiano had been saying for several weeks that the Bucs had to have more success taking shots down the field. They did against Atlanta. Quarterback Mike Glennon and receiver Vincent Jackson hooked up on a 47-yard pass in the first half and a 53-yard pass in the second half.
Injury update: Middle linebacker Mason Foster intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in the first half. But Foster suffered a concussion sometime in the first half and did not play in the second half.
What’s next: The Buccaneers play at Detroit next Sunday.
October, 20, 2013
ATLANTA -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 31-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:
What it means: The Bucs are 0-6, and they’ve lost 11 of their last 12 dating to last season. This loss was similar to the first five of this season. The Bucs were in the game but never able to take control. That storyline is getting old. The lack of progress doesn’t bode well for coach Greg Schiano, who clearly is on the hot seat. About the only thing Tampa Bay fans have to look forward to is an early draft pick next year.
Stock falling: On a play in which the Bucs had seemed to force a punt near the end of the first quarter, reserve defensive end Trevor Scott was called for roughing the passer. That gave the Falcons a first down, and they followed up with a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Jacquizz Rodgers.
Stock rising: Rookie running back Mike James got extensive playing time after starter Doug Martin left with a shoulder injury. James looked fairly solid, which could lead to more playing time, even if Martin is all right. The Bucs have been using Martin too much and need to reduce his workload.
Missing in action: Tampa Bay’s pass rush was pretty much nonexistent. That’s why Ryan, who was without starting receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, was able to have such a productive day.
Why bother? I don't understand Schiano's decision to kick a field goal with five minutes left in the game. Even with the three points, it still was a two-score game.
What’s next: The Bucs host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
October, 13, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 31-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium:
What it means: The Bucs are 0-5 and going nowhere fast. They couldn’t even beat a mediocre team at home. Coach Greg Schiano has lost 10 of his past 11 games, dating back to last season. Schiano is officially on the hot seat and the Bucs are officially in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. By late in the fourth quarter, much of the rare sellout crowd that remained in the stands was wearing Philadelphia green jerseys. The Bucs have looked to be in disarray all season and things aren't getting any better.
Still a rookie: Making his second start, quarterback Mike Glennon looked good at times. But his third-quarter interception, which came on an apparent miscommunication with wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, helped set up a touchdown that put the Eagles ahead for good.
Stock Watch, rising: Tight end Tim Wright quietly had a nice game. For the first time this season, the tight end was a factor in the passing game. Wright had seven catches for 91 yards.
Stock Watch, falling: The zone defense. The Bucs need to scrap it because it’s not working. Cornerback Darrelle Revis never should be asked to play zone defense.
History repeats itself: Nick Foles started at quarterback in place of an injured Michael Vick, for the second straight game, and led the Eagles to victory in Tampa.
What’s next: The Bucs play the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome next Sunday.
September, 29, 2013
A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 13-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
What it means: You can change quarterbacks, but not results. Rookie Mike Glennon started in place of Josh Freeman and looked adequate for most of the game. But Glennon was intercepted with 3:12 remaining to set up Arizona’s tying touchdown. The Bucs, who controlled the game most of the way before squandering a 10-0 lead, are 0-4, and it’s pretty clear their problems go well beyond the quarterback. Coach Greg Schiano is officially on the hot seat.
So much for the defense: The Tampa Bay defense was outstanding much of the day. But two fourth-quarter turnovers gave the Cardinals prime field position, and the defense couldn’t hold up.
Suspension time? Safety Dashon Goldson appealed a previous one-game suspension and won. But he probably won’t be as lucky this time around. Goldson was called for a personal foul that set up the winning field goal. He probably will get a suspension, because he is very much on the NFL’s radar.
Stock watch: Rising -- Kicker Rian Lindell entered the game on the hot seat after missing a field goal attempt in each of the previous two games. He put himself back on good footing with a 50-yard field goal.
Stock watch: Falling -- The one thing the Cardinals did well was bottle up Doug Martin. They put a lot of defensive focus on Martin, and he wasn’t able to do much. Martin also lost a fourth-quarter fumble that led to an Arizona field goal.
Demps’ debut: Recently signed running back Jeff Demps got his first playing time of the season. Demps had a 14-yard run in the first quarter, three kickoff returns and a catch out of the backfield for 8 yards.
What’s next: The Buccaneers have a bye week. They’ll return to action Oct. 13 at home against Philadelphia.
September, 15, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 16-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What it means: The Saints improve to 2-0. Since 1990, 63 percent of the teams that have started 2-0 have gone to the playoffs. Tampa Bay falls to 0-2. Since 1990, 12 percent of teams to start 0-2 have made the playoffs.
Lightning delay: The Saints marched down the field and made a field goal on their opening drive, but that’s when the game stalled. Officials ordered both teams to the locker room, and fans were ordered to go to the concourses because of lightning in the immediate area. The game was delayed for 69 minutes.
Play of the day: Marques Colston's last-minute catch of a Drew Brees pass to set up the game-winning field goal.
Almost play of the day: Middle linebacker Mason Foster picked off a Brees pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Bucs the lead with 12:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Non-play of the day: Vincent Jackson caught what appeared to be a touchdown bomb from Josh Freeman with 6:58 left in the third quarter, but the play was nullified because Tampa Bay was flagged for using an illegal formation.
Non-play of the day II: The Saints kicked a field goal with 20 seconds left in the second quarter to (briefly) take a 13-7 lead, but Tampa Bay was called for a penalty, putting the ball at the 2-yard line. The Saints took the points off the board and went for the touchdown. A Mark Ingram run was stuffed. Think coach Sean Payton would like those three points back?
Stock watch: Freeman lost a fumble and threw an interception. That’s not going to silence his critics.
Injury watch: New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson was carted off the field with what appeared to be a leg injury and did not return.
What’s next: The Bucs play at the New England Patriots next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Saints are home against the Arizona Cardinals.