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November 20, 2011 @ 8:21 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Not Quite Enough As Packers And Rodgers Roll, Bucs' Unit Grades

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers showed much more pride in Sunday's loss to the Packers than in last week's Houston loss and gave their fans a glimpse of hope for the future. Which unit went from an "F" grade to an "A" this week? Find out in this week's PewterReport.com post-game feature story.

Unit Grades

Just when you start to wonder where the Josh Freeman of 2010 has gone, the third-year signal-caller puts together his best game of the season and his career, statistically.

Freeman was decisive and a leader. Although he ended up with two interceptions he gave the Buccaneers ample opportunity to win the game.

Earlier this week Freeman told the media he thought he was a better all-around quarterback than last season, but up until the Green Bay he hadn’t shown it. Sunday though, Freeman played with something to prove. By throwing for almost 350 yards he was able to silence some of his critics.

For the game Freeman was 28 of 48 for 342 yards, two TD’s and two picks.
Grade: A-

Running Backs
LeGarrette Blount single handedly sparked the entire team with a highlight-reel run, busting through and over eight Packer defenders en-route to a 54-yard first half touchdown.

On the afternoon, in cold soft-turf conditions, Blount punished the Packers with his physical running style and made the defense think twice before attempting to stick their helmet in No. 27’s chest.

Give Greg Olson some credit for not totally abandoning the run when the Buccaneers were down 14-0 in the first half. But give Blount the majority of the credit for getting his teammates pumped and excited for the remainder of the game.

The Bucs leading rusher finished with 107 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown and even added one pass reception for six yards.
Grade: A

After receiving criticism from Raheem Morris, Greg Olson and the media and fans since the preseason, Buccaneers receivers showed up today and almost helped pull off a stunning upset.

Much-maligned and oft-criticized receiver Mike Williams easily had his most productive the 2011 season, hauling in seven Freeman passes for 83 yards and a score. But maybe more importantly was the lack of any noticeable drops.

Arrelious Benn also came through big time for Olson and Freeman with five catches for 76 yards, including a 31-yard fourth quarter jump ball over man coverage that led to the Buccaneers' final touchdown.

Preston Parker remains a true third-down weapon, catching one 20-yard pass on third down and having another wiped out by a penalty.

Even Dezmon Briscoe got into the action today by making up for his missed opportunity to score last week and snaring fourth-quarter TD pass.
Grade: A

Tight Ends
It’s hard to be critical when a guy with gimpy knees sells out his body and has a career day catching nine passes for 132 yards. But the Buccaneers needed that touchdown called back on offensive interference and the two-point conversion drop. The two-point conversion pass was low and behind him, but if you ask Winslow he will say he should catch that ball every time.

Winslow will never be called a great blocker, but neither will Tony Gonzalez. Winslow’s job is to create matchup problems, pull safety’s away from receivers and to be a be a headache for linebackers.

Winslow did just that on Sunday and provided leadership in the process.
Grade: B+

Offensive Line
After what was probably their worst game of the season in the humbling loss to Houston the Buccaneers' offensive line responded to line coach Pat Morris’ challenge and played a solid all-around game.

In pass protection, the O-line gave Freeman just enough time to complete 28 passes and amass nearly 350 yards through the air. Freeman was sacked twice but was well-protected for the most part.

In run blocking, the unit's aggressiveness was never more apparent than on Blount’s 54-yard scamper. Guys were blocking not just one, but in some cases two or three players. Blount may not score if guard Davin Joseph stays locked up with the linebacker and doesn’t come off his block to destroy Tramon Williams' ribcage. And Jeremy Zuttah was sprinting right behind Blount all the way to the end zone.
Grade: A

Defensive Line
Playing on a cold, soft field is more difficult for a defensive line than an offensive line, as the ability to stop, plant and redirect becomes nearly impossible sometimes.

The line was mostly solid in limiting the Packers to just 91 yards on the ground. Pressure was steady but Tampa Bay was only able to get Aaron Rodgers to the ground on two occasions.

No one on the defensive line had more than two tackles but the all-around play was good enough to win facing most any team other than the Green Bay Packers.
Grade: C

The most criticized unit on the team played decent but rarely did you hear a linebacker's name being called after a big play.

Quincy Black played his best total game, collecting eight tackles, but had an egregious error when he let Packers tight end Tom Crabtree release on a short touchdown pass. To be fair to Black since we don't know what the defensive call was on that specific play, he may have expected safety help from FS Corey Lynch.

Rookie Mason Foster and Geno Hayes both ended up with only two tackles each, but to the linebackers' credit, they were hustling to the ball and I expect their tackle counts to rise after the Buccaneers staff grades out the game on Monday.
Grade: C

It’s hard to say if the Buccaneers secondary played poorly or if Aaron Rodgers just made it seem that way. The one thing that is certain is E.J. Biggers struggled most of the game getting beaten regularly and drawing yellow flags for interference and illegal contact.

Biggers has been picked on all season and the Packers followed suit.

Myron Lewis, who has rarely seen the field this season, was thrust into the lineup and was beaten by Jordy Nelson for the Packers' decisive score. He was also flagged for a defensive holding which negated a third-down stop.

Aqib Talib was largely solid and had an important pass breakup. The safety play of Sean Jones was markedly improved over last week. Corey Lynch filled in decently, but you have to wonder if Tanard Jackson's presence would have been enough to flip the result.
Grade: D

Special Teams
Michael Koenen wasn’t his usual reliable self and his mistake trying to field the first onside kick wasn’t smart football. The execution of the kick was also poor, as it never traveled the required 10 yards to begin with.

Koenen averaged 46.3 yards on his punts but his net average was only 23.7 and suffered as Packers kick returner Randall Cobb took a punt back 55 yards in the second half.

Conner Barth was perfect on his two field goal attempts and is having a Pro Bowl-type season.

The return game was solid as Preston Parker returned one punt for 16 yards and Sammie Stroughter averaged 25 yards on six kickoff returns.
Grade: C+

Last modified on Sunday, 20 November 2011 21:01

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  • avatar

    Hi Scubog, Welcome to the 99%, go Bucs.
  • avatar

    Kenola: This site is about BUCS not BUCK$.
  • avatar

    The Occupy movement does not want you to share your wealth. That is totally false and is what the 1% want's you to think. Remember the press is owned by the 1%. You say you payed about 35% in Taxes. The super rich and the huge Corporations only pay about 20% and the Super Commitee just failed to make a deal today because the Republicans are demanding even more tax cuts for the super rich and big corporations. Before 1980 the super rich payed up to 70% in taxes. Do you think it's fair that you payed 35% and billionaires only paid 20%. I know your house value dropped and your investments probably dropped in the last 4 years. You can thank the 1%. We are the middle class and we are getting screwed just like the poor. You are firmly in the 99% yet you are siding with the very people that are screwing you.
  • avatar

    Biggers will be fine as a 3rd CB. ---------------------- They need someone else along side Talib... if Talib sticks around. If he does, I would expect next year to be a much better for Talib simply because his mind should be clearer mentally.... if he is not in jail. ---------------------- As a former HS and College CB, Lewis has shown me absolutely nothing. On the deciding TD he was up close like he was going to bump& runbut then didn't even touch Nelson. He just let him run right by him.They had an all out blitz... you HAVE to knock the WR off their pattern as much as possible. Then when the ball was in the air he never turned to find it.
  • avatar

    Dear Scubog an Iabucfan, What are you a couple of 12 year olds pretending to be adults. You both obviously don't have any idea what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about or you wouldn't have made the comments you did. The press is showing a totally biased and censored view of the OWS movement because guess what, almost every TV network, TV station and news paper in America is owned by only 4 huge mega corporations. These corporations employ 1000's of lobbyists that have corrupted our elected officials with huge sums of money, so the people have no say in our government anymore. Your post did not address a single fact in my 2nd post. When I said if your part of the 1% shame on you, I wasn't talking about you, you are part of the 99% and your getting screwed just like the rest of the 99% of Americans. Want proof, how's your investment portfolio doing over the last 4 years. You can thank the 1% for that. By the way I have worked since I was 16. I started 3 large Florida Corporations and sold 2 of them and I am still working today. I have employed between 30 and 50 people for the last 28 years. I have a large investment portfolio and make a very good living. My house in Beach Park is paid for as are both my cars. I am the 99%. This country has a lot of problems. One of them is people that are totally uninformed and think they are part of the 1% when in fact they are getting screwed and they don't even know it. If your going to make a comment try addressing some of the facts from this post and my previous post this time.
  • avatar

    12 year olds? Why the juvenile insult Kenola? I'm in the 35% tax bracket and get really annoyed at the government waste and people who think somehow my taxes should be for their benefit. If you had actually started this Occupy Movement I would have more respect for you than just falling in line with a bunch of losers. Are you now ashamed of the wealth you've accumulated? Your description of yourself sure doesn't fit the mold. Why the anger? It doesn't sound like you passed out your profits. Perhaps now you should divest some of your hard earned money. You surely don't need a big house in Beach Park unless it is being "occupied" by people who consider YOU to be part of the 1%. You are at least in the upper 10%. Sounds like you did a lot to EARN your wealth. How about throwing some away like you expect others to do. Take your politics somewhere else Kenola; this isn't the forum.
  • avatar

    never forget the worst so-called 1% is a controlling government. This OWS movement is basically a bunch of left wing groups with different objectives rallying around chaos, nothing more. Over time the unions and the far left have become involved and have tried to use it as momentum for Obama... it will fail. He is 100% to blame for the slow path out of the recession (not the recession itself though, they are all a little to blame for that, but mostly it is the nature of free market economics. There will ALWAYS be downturns in the economy and government can not stop it). The bottom line is this screaming against therich is pathetic. They are not the enemy. the system of political corruption in line with rich donors is the problem. Besides, America has to get a grip on reality. I have lived in 4 different countries and have been to over 30. We do not have "poverty" here by comparison. If you make over $30,000 (give or take a little) YOU are part of the 1% wage earners in the world.
  • avatar

    I take no consolation in a loss whatsoever. And all this nonsense about “they gave a great effort” is also disturbing because it implies the effort given is not expected to be great each game. Giving a great effort as a professional each and every play of each and every game is a MIMINUM requirement, not a something that is to be noted when it sometimes occurs. If this is the low standard now set for this organization, it’s back to the 5-11 years of the 80’s and early 90’s.
  • avatar

    MARK COOK: Should you not also grade Head coach and both coordinators (guess Raheem gets two grades) in each of these columns. IF NOT, WHY NOT?
  • avatar

    I for one, wish there was a brain to occupy Kenolla's empty scull. How anyone has the mentality to think I should somehow apologize for graduating from college with honors, getting a job and working my way up the ranks by hard work and dedication to my bosses for 30 years to the point I can earn what most would say is a good salary, is beyond me. Greed? How about guys like you who somehow think they are entitled to live off of those who actually EARNED what they have. I can assure you, most who earned the wealth to which you think they should be ashamed (isn't that the American way), busted their butt and took great risk. Do you realize that many of the wealthy lost everything only to do it all over again because of their drive and guts? I'm responsible for myself and my family.....not Kenolla. I suppose since I have 8 season tickets and you have none, I'm a greedy bastard, who should just give you a ticket because in your mind, "If you can't afford a ticket to the game, a ticket will be awarded to you." Can you say, Socialism? How about Communism? Perhaps you should wear a cute little hat, carry a bow and arrow and hang around with a bunch of other parasites in the woods like your hero Robin Hood.
  • avatar

    All right scubog!!!!! Well written and well thought through. I second everything you have said! It is guys like Keniola that will make it harder for this country to solve the problems we currently face. I actually feel sorry for him.
  • avatar

    With the Occupy Wall street movement growing every day and corporate greed is rampant, I just have to comment on the Bucs and the Glazers. The Glazers conned the people of Hillsborough County to pay for a new stadium. We will be paying for that stadium for many years to come with our taxes. The Glazers receive every penny that stadium raises even if an event is held there that has nothing to do with the Bucs. The Glazers then take this huge amount of money and puts a team on the field that has had the lowest payroll in the NFL by far over the last 4 or 5 years. Then when the game does not sell out the people that paid for the stadium don't get to watch the game???? The Glazers must stop using the Culverhouse school of NFL team ownership, when the Bucs were the worst team in the league but Culverhouse was one of the most profitable owners. We cut Barrett Ruud to save money. Tell me he wouldn't be a huge upgrade over Hayes or Black. We cut Cadillac to save money. Tell me he wouldn't be a huge upgrade over Lumpkin. A competitive team needs good 2nd and 3rd string players too. We have very little depth. So come on Glazers, if you can't afford to put a competitive team on the field, sell the team to someone who can. The owners of the stadium deserve much better than you have been giving us since you purchased Manchester United.
  • avatar

    The blackout rule comes down from the NFL. The Glaziers have nothing to do with it. I'm happy to criticize them as owners without confusing the issue with this OWS egalitarian nonsense. The Glaziers are running this team on the cheap and the jig is essentially up for them. If they don't spend any real free agent money this off season, i think that many of us will be looking for a new past time.
  • avatar

    bcrowell, you sound like you are either belong to the greedy 1% or you just don't understand what OWS is about. I guess you think it's alright for wall street to completely destroy the US and the world economy by steeling trillions of our tax dollars and then using the bailout money to pay themselves 100's of millions in bonuses. I guess you think it's ok for big corporations to bribe most of our politicians to get laws passed that benefits them and is bad for America and 99% of all Americans. Corporations will now close profitable factories and put 1000's of Americans out of work just to reopen the factory in China just to make more money. And with new laws they got pushed in they get a tax break for doing it. And I guess that you think it's ok that Republicans are now trying to get even more tax breaks for the super rich and big corporations and at the same time trying to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid through the Super Commitee. So I guess you think it's ok to give the super rich more money that they don't even need, and take money from retired Americans that worked their whole lives and can barely survive on what they are paid now. I want you to tell a World War 2 veteran that he has to choose between medicine or food because some rich greedy a-holes want to buy their seventh Mansion. If you just don't know the facts get educated. The press is owned by the 1% and is not covering OWS truthfully. If your one of the 1%, shame on you and your kind.
  • avatar

    I will tell you what we should do....start an Ocuppy Goodell Movement. We will protest in front of his house demanding that we are given a Super Bowl title because darn it, we deserve it for doing absolutely nothing! Get your political talk out of here, this website is meant for the Bucs and is an escape from the political landscape for a lot of us. Don't 'shame on me' because I busted my a$$ and provided for my family. Shame on you for not willing to work for it and taking person responsibility over your life. The Bucs were MUCH improved yesterday and if we bring that kind of intensity and 'want to' the rest of the season we have a shot at 9-7....and to be admittedly overoptimistic, 10-6. Keep up the momentum against a weak Titans team fellas!
  • avatar

    How are you giving Freeman an A-? 2 picks? Must be drinking the "we competed" coolaide. The only way he deserves an A is if he has a 2-1 ratio for TD-INT. 1-1 ratio deserves an average grade... QB=C+, OL=B-, RB=A, WR=A-, TE=B, DL=B, LB=D, DB=C, ST=C, Coaching=C-
  • avatar

    I agree with these grades with the exception of special teams, but I do agree they have been great all year up until this game. I would have given special teams a D+. Number 51 (I'm not even sure who that is) should have cleaned that punter's clock on the first drive instead of letting him run by him after he didn't get the punt off. Between that and the blunders you mentioned I thought they had a fairly poor game overall. Those were game changing plays they screwed up.
  • avatar

    On the punt block I agreed at first when watching it. But if the punter had kicked it he was in perfect position to block it. A roughing the kicker call is a special teams players worst nightmare. Obviously watching it in slo-mo it is easy to second guess but I suspect Stukes will say the technique was perfect. The more disturbing thing was the lack of outside containment. Those guys are taught to wait till they hear the thump before breaking off.
  • avatar

    A- for Freeman? He threw two picks. Don't tell me the first was not his fault. If he was more accurate of a passer, he would have hit the WR in stride. Same with the 2pt conversion that Winslow should have had. The pass still could have been better. Also, lets put the coaching grades back in. Raheem was 0-2 on 2 pt coversions and gave the leagues best offense a short field twice for scores. These grades are awfully high. The Packers are the 28th worst Defense, lets not get too full of ourselves in this loss. Pewter colored glasses indeed.
  • avatar

    On the 1st pick, he WAS hitting MW in stride. MW wasnt running full speed and the DB showed great burst to get to the ball. That ones not on Free. 2nd is though. Ball was high and K2 couldnt get to it.
  • avatar

    Maybe after watching the game again a few more times as I do I will see the grades a little differently. But the fact is Freeman had his best career day, and actually threw for more yardage than Rodgers is a hostile environment against a team that has now won 16 in a row. The pick before the second half wasnt good but I put a little of that on Williams. He wasnt running full speed which gave the defender time to make up ground. The Packers D looked pretty good against Minnesota last Monday night. I know rookie QB but comparable receivers and a great RB. Thanks for the feedback pewter2. Just going with the grades based on one viewing and not being able to talk to the players and coaches isn't very easy but we can agree to disagree. MC
  • avatar

    We had big expectations this year and clearly they were misplaced to a degree, But this was a much better team this week on both sides of the ball. Defensive line did a pretty good job in my opinion. Freeman looked like a new man with the exception of an interception. The other one was a tipped ball and I don't hold Freeman responsible for that. Blount had a game of the week performance and so did Winslow.
  • avatar

    Don't agree at all Scott. The grades were too high. I'll leave it as that.
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