After three solid weeks from the secondary’s most recent combination, the backend appeared to have taken a step back in Sunday’s 25-12 loss in Indianapolis.
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Particularly in the second half, Jude Adjei-Barimah became a liability on quick slants and comeback routes, while Sterling Moore was caught off guard on consecutive plays in the third quarter, the second of which led to the Colts’ go-ahead touchdown.
“Yesterday was disappointing,” head coach Lovie Smith said Monday of the pass defense. “(I) can’t really give you a lot of reasons for why we gave up some plays we normally don’t give up.”
Despite Matt Hasselbeck’s 315-yard, two touchdown performance, don’t expect the game of musical chairs to continue in the secondary after Sunday’s game. Emphasizing that it was just one poor outing, Smith expressed confidence in the cornerbacks’ ability to respond.
“We have found some answers,” Smith said. “The guys that we put out on the football field are the ones who we think we need out there to give us the best chance to win. That’s what’s going on – just think about (subbing) for whatever reason? No, we’re trying to have success every down and if that guy is out there, then we think he gives us the best chance.”
While not entirely clear, Smith seemed to hint that Adjei-Barimah’s effort on Sunday won’t lead to the return of Johnthan Banks. The undrafted rookie caught the attention of coaches in training camp and demonstrated a great understanding of the defense at a time when Banks and other cornerbacks struggled with technique. In all likelihood, Adjei-Barimah will keep his job, at least for the time being.
Among the many questionable flags during the Bucs 25-12 loss in Indianapolis, perhaps the most blatantly botch call was the “leaping” penalty on safety Chris Conte in the fourth quarter.
Lining up in field goal formation, Conte jumped over the pile in an effort to block Adam Vinatiere’s kick. In doing so, he was called for “grazing” his teammate, an illegal move that therefore gifted the Colts a new set of downs and subsequent touchdown to ice the game.
Photo by: Getty Images
Look at the tape, however, and you’ll realize that the only problem with the officials’ call was that Conte never touched his teammate. It was a clean jump.
“I was told – and I thought, which is why I was OK with the call – that we leaped and came down on someone or we used someone to leap across,” head coach Lovie Smith said Monday. “I thought that was what was called at the time, so (I thought) ‘OK, that’s correct.’ But that wasn’t the case.
While Conte’s effort would’ve failed anyway (he also never touched the ball), it still would’ve been a four-point swing and left more time on the clock for the Bucs’ offense to try to come back.
Smith didn’t sugarcoat his disappointment of the officiating Sunday, yet wasn’t going to use it as an excuse for the loss. In fact, after watching his own team perform in Indy, he could relate to a group of guys who might not have had their best performance on one afternoon.
“Just like we didn’t play our best game, I think officials, too, can go into games and say, ‘Hey this wasn’t our best game,”’ Smith said. “But we’re going to worry about us. They’re not going to be perfect always either, and they weren’t yesterday.”
Tampa Bay signed linebacker Adarius Glanton to its active roster today, picking him off the Carolina Panthers practice squad.
To make room for Glanton, a second-year pro out of Florida Atlantic, the Bucs waived safety Kimario McFadden.
Glanton, 6-foot-1, 230-pounds, played in 10 regular season games last year, including two starts. He recorded nine tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and three special teams tackles. Glanton also played in two postseason games with Carolina, starting one of them. He’s originally from Bartow and has been on the Panthers practice squad all 12 weeks of the 2015 regular season.
The Buccaneers dropped their 11th game of the season to the Colts on Sunday losing 25-12. Below are selected quotes from the Tampa Bay locker room following the loss.
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
(On Doug Martin)
“He’s gonna do what he does every game. It’s up to me to come through and bang us through and today I didn’t put us in the situation to get the win.”
(On what they have to do to regroup)
“Well the good thing is we’ve been here before. The thing is, we bounce back. We bounce back and have a division game at home in Tampa Bay so that’s going to be important for us. We gotta get that win and hopefully get this journey going to the playoffs.”
SAFETY CHRIS CONTE
(On what Colts did well and what the Bucs need to do better)
“We just let them complete some pass plays there and then they were just playing better on offense than we were playing on defense. Their defense outplayed us and we gave up too many plays in the passing game.”
“We knew he’s a good quarterback. He’s won three game for them, he’s been playing really well. He’s been a great quarterback in this league. He knows this defense very well. He’s a smart guy. He’s gonna be smart with the football and that’s what he did.
(On what they have to do to regroup)
“Just take it as one loss, get over it, and realize we can still attain our goal of getting in the playoffs. We just have to come back and beat Atlanta. We can’t let this linger. We just gotta treat it as one game, move on, and get ready for the next game.”
TIGHT END CAMERON BRATE
(On TD play)
“We ran that play last week. When they’re in Cover 3, it’s just a one-on-one matchup with the CB and so he was outside leverage so we called a post and Jameis had a good ball. I was able to hold on and get into the end zone.”
(On what Colts did well and what the Bucs need to do better)
“We just need to execute. Coaches had a great game plan all week and unfortunately we made some mistakes in the second half. The Colts played well, we gotta give it to them; they played a good game defensively. We just gotta not let this game affect us too much and hopefully get things back rolling next week.”
“It seemed like every call was going against us. Sometimes it’s like that. You just have to maintain your composure and just focus on what you need to do every play. It’s just unfortunate that some of those calls went against us.”
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
“It was a hard fought game. We had momentum going in at the half and had the ball and a big penalty right away got us backed up. They had momentum the rest of the day. Just too many things went against us today, we didn’t play our best game.”
“You give him credit, you have to. We’re gonna look at the video and say that some of those plays, we should’ve been in position to play it better. That’s what I’ll say. One of the touchdowns, the first touchdown after the half, that shouldn’t happen. But, you have to give him credit.
(On Winston getting pressure)
“Yeah, he was under some pressure especially after they got up a little bit. But again, when I say it wasn’t our best game. We did a little bit, Doug had one long run, but we never really established the run the way we needed to. Once teams can just play the pass, it’s tough.”
(On leaping call)
“They said he leaped and he came down on one of their guys using him as a brace. If you do leap, you cant come down on anyone and that’s what they called. I disagreed with the call a little bit later on the one that I thought the ball was out on the fumble, which could’ve nullified it also.”
(On Carter concussion and Smith hamstring injuries)
“That’s about all we know right now. When every guy cant finish, you know there’s concern and we’ll see how it goes.”
“We were beaten by a good football team at home today. We had opportunities. There’s no room for errors, we see it right now with 6 losses. It’s as simple as that. The Atlanta game was big before, it’s even bigger now.”
Interviews courtesy of The Buccaneers Radio Network
Indianapolis’ offensive line play hasn’t been a strength this season.
The Colts have allowed quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck to take a combined 75 hits through 10 games, tying them with the Cleveland Browns for second most in the league. The unit’s 20 sacks allowed ranks 12th and success running the ball has lagged as well. Indianapolis is averaging 98.5 yards rushing per game and has only scored four touchdowns on the ground.
Those numbers have improved the past three weeks, however, as the Colts landed on a consistent five-man starting lineup over that span: LT Anthony Castonzo, LG Jake Mewhort, C Jonotthan Harrison, RG Huge Thornton and RT Joe Reitz.
Similar to Tampa Bay, Indianapolis is riding a two-game winning streak and its only loss of the past three games came in overtime against unbeaten Carolina. The offensive line surrendered five total sacks in those games and helped the ground attack average 110.0 yards.
November’s continuity will end Sunday against the Bucs, though, with left tackle Castonzo’s ankle injury suffered at the end of last week’s win over Atlanta. Castonzo, in his fifth year after signing a four-year, $43-million extension this offseason, is the only lineman to start all 10 games at the same position. Mewhort has also started all 10 games, but the first two at right tackle before sliding over to left guard.
“He’s a great player for us,” Hasselbeck said of Castonzo during his Wednesday conference call with Tampa Bay media members. “He’s a leader in our locker room, a smart guy, very talented guy. I don’t know how many good things I can say about him. He went to Boston College – he’s a little younger than me, we were not teammates there. He’s one of the best players on our team, so if we didn’t have him, that would be tough.”
Castonzo appeared to suffer his injury during Indianapolis’ game-winning drive last week against Atlanta. He went to the sideline and missed the last three offensive snaps and kick Adam Vinatieri’s 43-yard field goal with under a minute to play.
When Castonzo went out, Indianapolis shuffled up its line to replace him. Reitz slid over from right to left tackle. Mewhort went from left guard back to right tackle, and Lance Louis was inserted at left guard – where he started the first two games of the year before becoming a backup.
Reitz has started 32 of the 54 games he’s appeared in during his five active years with the Colts. Originally a guard, he only began playing and starting at right tackle during Indianapolis’ three-game playoff run last year that ended with a 45-7 AFC Championship loss to New England.
Somewhere on a bench in a local Tampa mall, while his wife finds amazing Black Friday deals, Bucs general manager Jason Licht is smiling. That is, if he isn’t hunkered down in his office at One Bucs Place already scouting the 2016 NFL Draft class.
No matter where he is on this Friday afternoon, he has to be pleased, as another draft pick has won an award. Just imagine if they gave out weekly offensive linemen awards.
On Friday it was announced that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has been voted Pepsi Rookie of the Week for Week 11.
Jason Licht, Jameis Winston and Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Going against the Philadelphia Eagles, Winston completed 19-of-29 passes (65.5 pct) for 246 yards and five touchdowns, with a 131.6 passer rating. Winston became the first rookie since Ray Buivid in 1937 to throw five touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a game. The five touchdown passes tied a record shared with Buivid and Matthew Stafford (2009). His five touchdown passes – to five different receivers – tied a franchise record.
Winston joins Marcus Mariota as the only rookie quarterbacks in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes in one half of a game. Winston is also one half of a duo (along with Doug Martin) that became the first teammates in NFL history to have one player throw for five touchdowns and another rush for more than 200 yards in a road game.
Winston’s 15 touchdown passes are tied for the most by a rookie quarterback through the first 11 weeks of the season since the merger, while his 2,305 passing yards are the third-most.
This is Winston’s third Pepsi Rookie of the Week award (also Weeks 2 &5) and the fifth for the team this season (LB Kwon Alexander, Weeks 3 & 8). Tampa Bay’s five Pepsi Rookie of the Week Awards are the most for any team since San Diego earned five in 2013 and Winston’s three are the most by a quarterback since 2012 (Andrew Luck, 3; Robert Griffin III, 7).
The Buccaneers and Eagles released their final injury reports of the week on Friday. Updates in BOLD denote a change from the previous day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DE George Johnson – Calf – Did Not Participate – Out
G Ali Marpet – Ankle – Limited Participation – Questionable
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Shoulder – Limited Participation – Doubtful
DE Josh Shirley – Calf – Full Participation – Probable
G/C Evan Smith – Knee – Full Participation – Probable
S Keith Tandy – Concussion – Did Not Participate – Out
S Mike Adams – Ankle – Limited Participation – Doubtful
T Anthony Castonzo – Ankle – Did Not Participate – Out
CB Vontae Davis – Hamstring – Full Participation – Probable
WR Phillip Dorsett – Ankle – Did Not Participate – Out
LB Jerrell Freeman – Ribs – Full Participation – Probable
RB Frank Gore – Ankle – Full Participation – Probable
LB D’Qwell Jackson – Not Injury Related – Full Participation – Probable
WR Andre Johnson – Not Injury Related – Full Participation – Probable
QB Andrew Luck – Abdomen/Kidney – Did Not Participate – Out
LB Robert Mathis – Not Injury Related – Full Participation – Probable
LB Sio Moore – Back – Limited Participation – Probable
CB D’Joun Smith – Knee – Full Participation – Probable
G Hugh Thornton – Shoulder – Full Participation – Probable
CB Greg Toler – Groin – Limited Participation – Questionable
LB Erik Walden – Foot – Limited Participation – Questionable
In the nine games prior to last Sunday’s 45-17 routing in Philadelphia, Jameis Winston sported a 45 percent completion rate in the red zone (20 of 44) with six touchdown passes in total.
After starting 0 for 5 inside the 20-yard line last week, the rookie quarterback settled in and connected on his next five attempts, all of which went for six points, showing rapid growth in the offenses’ most critical down and distance.
One of the reasons for Winston’s quick development in red zone situations, according Dirk Koetter, has been his trust in the receivers and their ability to finish the play.
“Jameis gave guys a chance to catch the ball,” the Bucs offensive coordinator said. “One of our things is give him a chance. Know where you are going, know what the coverage is, use your indicators and then give your guys a chance, like on the first fade route to Mike [Evans]. That was pretty well covered, gave him a chance.”
One by one, from the 13-yard toss to Vincent Jackson to the third-and-3 slant to Cameron Brate, Koetter went through each individual touchdown pass in Sunday’s game, saying “more than anything (Jameis) gave our guys a chance to make the play and they made them.”
Earlier in the season, when the Bucs pass-offense was stalling in the red zone, Koetter said that the most important thing a quarterback can do while throwing in tight spaces is make quick decisions and release the ball – no hesitation. Still a rookie, Winston has already shown improvement in that respect and his rapport with the receivers has grown increasingly with each passing game.
Along with building a better relationship with recent starters like Brate and Adam Humphries, Winston is now getting to throw to the original receiving corps, too, one that’s hardly been on the field at the same time this season.
“Basically getting that team feeling back that we had in OTAs,” Winston said of what it meant to have Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans finally on the field last Sunday. “That chemistry that we did develop that we kind of lost early in the season when we lost Austin [Seferian-Jenkins] and eventually Vince, but having him back is just having one of your best guys back. It’s like having another Logan Mankins on the field.
“That’s always going to help you out because Vince is definitely one of our leaders and he’s one of our veterans. As young players, we go to (Jackson), especially during the battle of the game to seek for any wisdom or, ‘what is he doing in this situation,’ so we can build off him.”
The Buccaneers have suffered their share of injuries as the season’s progressed, but heading into Week 12, the team appears to be healing up in time for the final stretch. Only two players – defensive end George Johnson and safety Keith Tandy – are officially listed as out for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis.
“When we talk about two guys being out for sure right now, you cant beat that,” head coach Lovie Smith said after practice Friday. “Seems like there isn’t one spot where we’re really in a hole, so we’re in pretty good shape. Again, you can’t be in a better position this time of year.”
Bucs RG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Of course, that’s not to say that Tampa Bay is completely injury-free.
While Smith said Austin Seferian-Jenkins is continuing to make progress, as is Ali Marpet, who’s ankle caused him to miss his first game last Sunday in Philly, the Bucs still have some uncertainty with key players on offense.
In Seferian-Jenkins case, the second-year tight end has been limited in practice for the sixth week but still hasn’t been cleared for contact. His prolonged sidelining since Week 3 continues to suggest that his shoulder injury, first said to be a 4-6 week recovery, was far worse that initial reports.
“A whole lot of progress,” Smith said of Seferian-Jenkins’ shoulder. “Nothing has changed (from a medical standpoint), still hasn’t been cleared – (taking it) day-by-day.”
As for Marpet, Smith called the rookie right guard a “game-time” decision. Same goes for Evan Smith, who’s dealing with a knee issue.
“They’re both limited,” Smith said of Marpet and Smith. “They’re making progress and we have a little bit of time to go (before the game). They both were able to do some type of work out there today. When I say ‘limited,’ I don’t quite know that they’re not 100 percent. They are getting better each day.”
While the Colts have generated just one sack between their two main interior tackles this season – rookies David Parry and T.Y. McGill – and measly 14 in total, Tampa Bay could certainly use its starting lineman for added protection against linebacker blitzes this Sunday. Not to mention for the sake of Marpet’s personal growth and trajectory into becoming one of the league’s better right guards.
Ask any rookie player in the NFL what the biggest difference between college and professional football is, and 9-out-of-10 times they will say speed.
Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston is no different.
MMQB’s Robert Klemko took a few minutes and spoke to FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher about the progression of his former star pupil earlier this week, and Fisher said Winston was amazed at certain things about life in the NFL.
“Jameis was kind of amazed at the speed of the linebackers and how well they could cover,” Fisher told Klemko . “With how much more athletic the linebackers are, the underneath windows become really condensed. Throwing the vertical inside seams, you’ve really got to drive it and be good with your eyes.
“Early on, that’s where he really had to concentrate.”
To read more of Klemko’s conversation with Fisher, click here.