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December 24, 2011 @ 8:42 pm
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Bad Gets Worse As Bucs Fall for Ninth Straight Time; Unit Grades

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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With the 48-16 dismantling, this time by the hands of the Carolina Panthers, the Buccaneers have fallen to a new low. With nine straight losses, the Buccaneers are in a free fall even the most cynical Bucs fans could have never expected. In this weekly feature the individual units are graded on their performance.

Quarterback
Looking at Josh Freeman’s final stats (28-of-38 for 274 yards one TD and one INT) the numbers look pretty good. While Freeman can't be blamed for the loss today, the third-year QB struggled at times holding onto the ball taking sacks and also continued his propensity for turnovers at critical times. Freeman’s third quarter interception was similar to Preston Parker’s muffed punt two weeks at Jacksonville. After the Panthers stretched their lead to 27-10 following the Freeman pick, any air that might have been inflating the Buccaneers’ balloon quickly vanished.

Freeman was better than he has shown in a few weeks – just not good enough Saturday.
Grade: C

Running Backs
While probably too late, Raheem Morris continued his send-a-message theme on Saturday. After fumbling on Tampa Bay’s first offensive play, LeGarrette Blount was banished to the sidelines to observe from afar.

Kregg Lumpkin entered the game and actually seemed to provide a bit of a spark. While he only averaged 3.4 yards per carry on seven attempts, the contrast in running style over Blount was apparent and the former Georgia Bulldog also contributed 38 yards on four receptions. Mossis Madu also benefited from Blount’s benching and saw his most extensive action of football since he was wearing a Sooner helmet last fall. Madu, who like Lumpkin provides a change-of-pace style to Blount, carried the ball four times for 20 yards and added another 42 yards as a receiver.

The Panthers best weapon in stopping the run was actually offensive coordinator Greg Olson who only called 13 rushing attempts on the day.
Grade: B–

Wide Receivers
Without benefit of whole field camera views it is hard to say why the Buccaneers receivers were held in check for the most part all day in Charlotte. Mike Williams rebounded from his shutout last week against Dallas with four receptions for 39 yards on Saturday afternoon. Little used Sammie Stroughter actually led the Bucs receivers with four catches for 42 yards including a game-long 29-yard pass reception from Josh Freeman. But Arrelious Benn was held in check as was Dezmon Briscoe and Preston Parker managed just on 16-yard reception before a head injury forced him out of the game.

Grade: C-

Tight Ends
Veteran tight end Kellen Winslow had a good game receiving but two critical errors were drive killers for the Bucs on Saturday. Winslow’s push off that resulted in a pass interference call and an inexcusable fumble in the second half were two mistakes a player of Winslow’s experience shouldn’t be making at this point in his career.

Winslow finished the game with as the Buccaneers leading receiver hauling in six Freeman passes for 63 yards. Luke Stocker caught a career-high three passes but for only 14 yards.
Grade: C

Offensive Line
Donald Penn continued his unexplained late season swoon giving up two sacks, one of which came on the Buccaneers fourth quarter two-point conversion attempt. And teammate and fellow tackle Jeremy Trueblood struggled also. Trueblood may not have given up a sack but did allow a few QB pressures and also committed two penalties, something that hadn’t been a problem through the first half of this season. Center Jeff Faine was also guilty of giving up a sack and the Buccaneers offensive line allowed Freeman to be taken down three times on the afternoon.

The Buccaneers did average 4.2 yards per carry against an average at best Panthers defensive.
Grade: C-

Defensive Line
This unit hasn’t been stellar very often all season and when it was announced DTs Brian Price and Albert Haynesworth were inactive you had the feeling today wasn’t going to be a rebound day. Other than Michael Bennett’s lone sack this unit was manhandled and pushed around at will by the Panthers offensive line. I will give them some credit for hustle as exemplified by Adrian Clayborn being driven to the ground in the second half, rolled on top up, yet still getting up and finding Cam Newton for a one-yard gain.

Unfortunately hustle was overshadowed by Roy Miller, Jovan Haye and Frank Okam’s numerous mistakes with gap integrity and missed tackles.
Grade: F

Linebackers
Another extremely poor performance by this unit on Saturday as Geno Hayes, Quincy Black and Mason Foster ran themselves out of many plays and weren’t able to provide containment particularly on the Panthers option-runs.

This group appears lost at times although Foster did seem to have a few nice licks as did Redskin package linebacker Dekoda Watson who lit up Newton in the second half, catching the rookie in the ribs and driving him out of bounds.

The play of the linebackers has been a mystery all season and Black and Hayes may have played themselves to the bench – if not off the roster – next season.
Grade: F

Secondary
Everyone knew the Buccaneers would miss Aqib Talib who was placed on IR this week but maybe not this much based on the secondary play the last two weeks. It’s one thing to give up four TD passes to Tony Romo but another to allow a rookie – regardless of how good Newton is – to torch you for 171 yards on just 12 pass completions.

E.J. Biggers came into this season with a great opportunity to prove his worth and establish himself as a legitimate starting cornerback. As it stands now the Buccaneers would be best served to do their homework in free agency and the draft.

Even veteran Ronde Barber had an off day. The frustration of the entire season showed today as the pursuit hustle we have been accustomed to was lacking on several plays.

The play of the safeties also left much to be desired as Sean Jones and Tanard Jackson both look like shells of their former selves. Both were guilty of being completely out of position and both had a few missed tackles. For Jackson maybe you can pin it on being out of football for a year but Jones has no excuse. Like Hayes, Jones is in a contract year and has done little to make me think the Buccaneers will attempt to bring him back next season.
Grade: F

Special Teams
Michael Koenen and Conner Barth both did exactly what they have done the majority of the season and that is perform at a high level. Both should earn some Pro bowl consideration. Koenen’s kickoffs were all touchbacks and he had one punt for 58 yards on the day. Barth was perfect on his only FG attempt from 42 yards.

Sammie Stroughter made a Preston Parker-type blunder today, failing to secure the football on a kick return that was recovered by the Panthers. But where was the blocking on the play?
Grade: C

Last modified on Saturday, 24 December 2011 21:58
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    PLEASE move on from KWJ Bucs...He plays lazy and inconsistently..If he is our best option on offense,there alone is the reason our offense blows..I hate watching him play~he draws too many penalties and doesnt seem to pay any price because he is a FOR (Friend Of Rah).When you have a guy who takes as many plays off as he does~AND he is supposed to be the example for the young offensive players, I know why our offense is inconsistent..If Rah cant get em started,its vets job to make the push since they are the coaches on the field. KWJ is a douche ~just remember his motorcycle incident, the only team he plays on is his own..
  • avatar

    Our defensive line was terrible but they were rescued by linebackers who were worse and then came our DB's to save the day......ARRRGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I say forfeit to Atlanta and let's just celebrate the New Year with a LOT of changes...
  • avatar


    If I were the GM this is what would be done. I would start by hiring Norv Turner (who will be fired also) as OC. Then bring in Herm Edwards as DC. Surround Raheem with a veteran staff and he will be fine. Roster wise I wouldnt resign Sean Jones or Geno Hayes. I would sign Donta Whitner this offseason and draft Vontaze Burfict to replace Hayes. Burfict will fall to the 2nd round and be a steal in this draft much like Bowers fell to us last year. With our first round pick I would select either Clairborne or Kirkpatrick depending upon who was available. 3rd round I would select LeMichael James to be our 3rd down back and push LeGarrette. The ONLT big name FA we need to complete the overhaul would be DeSean Jackson. Jackson with James would add the speed this offense terribly lacks. Burfict and Kirkpatrick are both very physical players at their position and will instantly upgrade the defense. Though our defensive line stinks currently with a resigning of Haynesworth to spell the injury prone Price and McCoy our line will be one of the better ones in the league next year. This does require our front office to get off of their wallets but ive watched this 3 year rebuilding model and now they are at the point were spending some money this summer puts us in the playoffs. Another thing to look for would be us trading down with Cleveland to get 2 first round picks this year which would still get us Burfict with the later pick and Alfonso Dennard with the first. Just some food for thought.
  • avatar


    I don't even care about Raheem Morris, he is 3rd on the blame chart. If I don't see $$$ going out March 1st or whenever FA starts, thats final proof for me the Glazers have NO MONEY to invest in the Bucs, and do not deserve our fandom. We've already been through this Glazers, you rescued us from Culverhouse, don't turn into him please. We need 1 or 2 TOP TIER free agents, then 2-4 more regular ones to inject some veteran presence in the locker room.
  • avatar

    They're gonna score touchdowns!..... I mean we are:
  • avatar

    I hate to bust everyone bubble, but I believe the cheap Glazers this offseason they are going to keep Raheem and request Mark Dominick to hire a new offense and D-fense of coordinators. I believe they are also going to try to make a statement to the fans and try to gain or not loose as many season ticket holders by signing some veterans players in key positions like safety, linebackers and wide receivers. This Team needs some serious speed on offense at running back and wide receivers. We also need to say c-ya to Winslow and Faine and maybe Trueblood. We need a good center and left guard. We should go after Visante S. Tigh End from the Vikings to play with Luke. At this time the offense has nobody that scares Defenses, we need to start by adding Richarson or Ball in the draft. Maybe with some competition at RB, Blount will get the message. I'm a season ticket holder for the last 15 yrs and if the Glazers want my money again next year, (they already started taking my money for next year season tickets) they better spend some money in the offseason with players and new Coordinators or they will loose another Season Ticket Holder, for sure.
  • avatar


    Boricua55, I would not be surprised if your 100% correct, and it may be the best thing, but its a big if. IF the Bucs turn it around next year and win again, everyone will say "they did the right thing". I think its 50/50 on Morris being fired, but Olsen and Morris as DC is finished. And I don't even care, as long as the Glazers spend money in Free Agency. They need to bring in one or two TOP TIER free agents, WR, RB or LB. Draft the best player available. Go to your OTAs where the team will unite again. I can see it happening, but doesn't mean it will. Another Blowout and Morris will be 60/40 to go.
  • avatar


    A rookie head coach, a rookie Q.B.,no off season, and the rookie Q.B. gets to sit the 4th quarter because he's beaten us so badly we have no chance of coming back. Wow, that's bad. Football is a 60 minute game unless you're playing the Bucs, then you can rap things up in about 20 minutes. All I want for Xmas is Morris getting a pink slip.
  • avatar


    Sorry Vontaze Burfict is the guy I wanna see us draft. We need some attitude and authority there in the middle. I'd like to see Foster make a move to outside. I made a mistake by saying Courtney Upshaw. Luke Kuechly might be okay 2, but he reminds me of Rudd. Anyway, check Burfict out and tell me it wouldn't be nice to see him bring our defense some teeth again.
  • avatar


    Top 6 - maybe top 5 pick! Hope the new coach doesn't go to a 3-4 defense after two years of drafting 4-3 players who are young and will get better AS SOON as we get two new outside linebackers. Luke Kuechly.
  • avatar

    Please Glazers, sell the Team to someone who actually cares about quality football in Tampa! Ownership: F--
  • avatar


    @Horse Hey man, I'm just a joker anyway. Merry Christmas. And generally speaking I agree with you much of the time. Mark is the best writer PR has, just thought a little ribbing was in order.
  • avatar

    Ha I literally laughed out loud when I read your comment! Classic! Horse and I clashed a lot early and we still don't agree with each other all the time but we respect each others opinion. He's a good dude. Merry Christmas weezlemarine! And Merry Christmas to all the PR readers
  • avatar


    weezlemarine, same to you and I wasn't taking it seriously at all. I am trying to lighten up about the Bucs because it is what it is until change is made.
  • avatar

    Kellen Winslow looked like a total jacka$$ on the play he fumbled.. He should have his a$$ horse whipped for that bs
  • avatar


    Btw, does anyone else sense a tinge of man love between Mark and Horse? Mark, you're a good writer, I'll just say it now so I don't have to mention it each time. Kidding guys...kinda.
  • avatar


    weezlemarine, you're right because I believe that Mark does his homework and doesn't hold back. I believe he does a good job so why not tell them so. A real man doesn't have to be concerned about what other men might think. I do think you have forgotten when I have disagreed with Mark and told him so.
  • avatar


    Courtney Upshaw - Linebacker Alabama. Might as well start the conversation since its gonna be a long off season. I'd still like to see Morris stick around but I don't see that happening anymore. Good luck in Pittsburg coach.
  • avatar


    Running backs B-? On what grading curve? This was the worst team in the NFL last season. They add a rookie QB and change coaching staffs with no off-season and are able to beat our mighty 10-6 Bucs by 50+points. They aren't that much better. But we are that much worse and getting "worser". Good slogan Horse. This season has gone from worse to worser. Right now we are the worst.
  • avatar


    Good Article Mark. It's tough to watch the implosion. Nobody wants this at all. "Worse to worse is this seasons motto; nothing to be proud of here. Anyway, Merry Christmas to all and your families. Life goes on and the sun will still come up tomorrow. I'm just happy that the Glazers haven't gotten one dollar of my money and probably not for a long time. I am thankful for that.
  • avatar

    All I want for Christmas is an NFL caliber coaching staff and Ownership!
  • avatar

    It's funny how all three defensive units get F's. It's so true though. Our defense has reached a new level of bad. Not used to this as a Bucs fan...what happened to the days when our defense struck fear into opponents?
  • avatar

    Myself - Grade: F For wasting my time and money on going to that crap game in Charlotte!
  • avatar

    Correction - linebackers Grade: F- Raheem should have sent the starting 3 packing after the first series. They are a disgrace to what was formerly a proud Buccaneer Defense. Pathetic!
  • avatar


    Time for change...
  • avatar

    Ownership grade: F
  • avatar

    The Panthers best weapon in stopping the run was actually offensive coordinator Greg Olson who only called 13 rushing attempts on the day. nice to see in week 16 PR is finally picking up on this. Way to stay alert!!!!!
  • avatar

    Coaching grade: F
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