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September 22, 2013 @ 6:12 pm
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs' Ship Sinking Fast: Most Impressive And Disappointing

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers fell to the New England Patriots on Sunday and an already tense situation may boil over soon without a win next week against the Cardinals. Which players were on top of their game? Who needs to turn it around quickly? Get the answers in this weekly Most Impressive and Disappointing List.
The Bucs managed to do just enough to lose the previous two games by a total of three points. On Sunday the Bucs only manged to score three points. At least the Buccaneers didn't create the heart-breaking last second drama of the previous two games, teasing their fans.

With rumors swirling on a number of subjects, Tampa Bay did nothing to put a stop to the speculation of instability inside the walls at One Buc Place. But even with all of the turmoil and fan frustration, with a win Sunday against Arizona, the Bucs will be 1-3 at the break, the same record as they had last season. Can lightning strike twice after the bye week, where Tampa Bay ran off to a 6-4 record before finally collapsing down the stretch?

PewterReport.com's Mark Cook offers up his impressions of Sunday's 23-3 loss to the Patriots in this weekly game day feature, the Most Impressive and Disappointing List.

Most Impressive

S Mark Barron
Barron led both teams in tackles on Sunday notching 11 tackles and combining to earn a half sack in the first quarter on Sunday. Later in the game Barron had the Bucs defensive hustle play of the day with a touchdown-saving tackle. A few plays later Barron kept the Patriots out of the end zone with a goal line interception of Tom Brady on a pass intended for tight end Zac Sudfeld.

 Barron is quickly establishing himself as a terrific run stuffer and an improving cover safety. Barron finished the game with 11 tackles, 0.5 sack, an interception and one pass breakup.

LB Lavonte David
The Bucs second-year linebacker continues to make a case for a trip to Hawaii after the season. David had a bad illegal contact penalty that prolonged a Patriots drive, but other than that one mistake, David was outstanding on Sunday. Davis finished with nine tackles, a half sack in the first half and two tackles for loss.

David, and the linebackers in general, are a key reason the Buccaneers defense it much improved over 2012.

DE Adrian Clayborn
Clayborn tore his ACL just over a year ago but if you didn’t know any better it would be impossible to tell. Clayborn picked up another sack on Sunday; this one however didn’t result in a 15-yard helmet-to-helmet penalty as it did last week on Drew Brees. Clayborn was all over the field and the coaching staff's decision to move the former Iowa standout to the left or right defensive end spot depending on the formation is proving to be very smart.

On the afternoon, Clayborn recorded six tackles, one sack, and a tackle for loss.

DT Akeem Spence
The man who replaced veteran Roy Miller in the middle of the Bucs defensive line has been an upgrade so far in 2013. In Week 1 against the Jets Spence recorded his first career fumble recovery and on Sunday Spence picked up his first sack, something Miller was unable to do in his last two seasons in Tampa.

Spence finished the game with four tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss.

RB Doug Martin
Without a lot of room and a defense bent on stopping him, Martin still managed to have a solid game rushing for 88 yards on 20 carries. Many of those 88 yards were manufactured after first contact. Martin’s streak of dropping passes has got to stop soon however. With a struggling offense and quarterback in particular, the Bucs can’t afford their receivers or running backs to drop any catchable balls.

Honorable Mention: LB Mason Foster, CB Darrelle Revis, T Demar Dotson, WR Eric Page

Most Disappointing
WR Vincent Jackson
For a team captain and someone who is being paid an average of $11 million per season, Jackson has to almost be perfect. Drops happen to even the best receiver, but on Sunday Jackson’s two mishaps were at critical junctures and most certainly affected the outcome of the game even though they came early. In the first quarter Jackson beat Aqib Talib on a quick inside move and dropped one of Josh Freeman’s better throws of the day. It was second-and-15 and instead of a first down it was third-and-15. Freeman connected with Doug Martin on the next play for 13 yards but came up two yards short of converting and the Buccaneers trotted Rian Lindell out on the field who ended up missing from 38 yards.

Later in the half, with the Bucs driving, the Buccaneers were faced with a third-and-1 on the New England 38. Freeman dropped back to pass and found Jackson down the sideline with a step in Talib. Freeman’s pass was on the money but Jackson was unable to hold on to what most likely was a touchdown. One the next play, a fourth-and-1 attempt, Martin was stuffed for no gain and the Bucs turned the ball over on downs.

Jackson was injured at some point before the half or early in the third period and did not return to the game, finishing with three receptions for 34 yards.

TE Tim Wright
The biggest blunder this offseason without question was the inability or unwillingness to secure a proven tight end in free agency. Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook, even a run down Dallas Clark would have been a major upgrade over the current roster. The Bucs are high on Tim Wright, a converted receiver, but Wright failed to haul in a touchdown catch from Freeman in the first quarter. Like Jackson’s two drops, the inability to snag the pass, albeit difficult, was one of those four or five plays in every game that affect the outcome. Do the Bucs win if Wright makes the catch? Who knows, but drive-killing drops, scoring ones in particular, are inexcusable.

PK Rian Lindell
Lindell has one job to do, and that is to put the ball through the uprights. For the second week in a row the task proved too difficult for the former Bills kicker. No one is saying it is an easy job, but one that Lindell must accomplish or he will find himself in the unemployment line, which very well may turn out to be the case later this week. Expect the Buccaneers to being in several kickers for a workout Tuesday, including Derek Dimke.

CB Johnthan Banks
Banks has earned more playing time over the last few weeks but wasn’t quite up to the challenge on the big stage Sunday against Tom Brady. Banks has a few decent moments but they were overshadowed by a poorly played deep ball in the second quarter that resulted in a pass interference call giving the Patriots a first down. Later on the drive, Banks was beaten for a touchdown by Kenbrell Thompkins. Banks isn’t the first, and won’t be the last rookie, that Brady had made look silly.

QB Josh Freeman
The end of Freeman’s reign in Tampa Bay is nearing its end. Barring some sort of dramatic, cosmic-shaking event, Freeman will almost certainly be wearing the colors of a different team in 2014. Is it fair? It doesn’t really matter. But the roller coaster ride is maddening to fans and coaches alike.

Freeman’s numbers weren’t terrible, but they weren’t outstanding. With just a little help from his teammates, the stat line would have been above average. But regardless of the drops, penalties, injuries to receivers or questionable play calls, Freeman didn’t deliver enough. And quite frankly has failed to do so over the last 10 games, minus the 2012 season finale at Atlanta. Again, regardless of all the excuses, and many are valid, Freeman is the starting quarterback and is 0-3 so far this season while leading an offense that has scored just 27 points in three games.

Freeman most likely will get next week against the Cardinals. But if the Bucs head into the bye week 0-4, look for the Freeman era to come to a close and give way to Mike Glennon for the rest of the season.

Dishonorable Mention: Donald Penn, C Jeremy Zuttah, WR Kevin Olgetree

Last modified on Monday, 23 September 2013 00:13

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  • avatar

    I am hopeful of a victory over the Cardinals. They are not very good, but we may need to hold them to zero points to win. If we do not win this would be the ideal time to switch to Glennon. I don't expect much from Glennon. I watched him play at NC State and don't think he is the answer. Either he surprises and keeps us out of the first draft pick or we get that pick and get a QB. Either way the Bucs will be in for a long rebuilding cycle. Here we go again. Having said all that, I am still not sure its not the coaches. Sometimes being a fan sucks and sometimes its yucks. Only with the the Bucs do you get both sucs and yucs.
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    Mark: you still feel this team can turn things around? I don't recall the exact statistics, but I believe no team in the past 10 years (or more) has come from 0 - 3 to make the playoffs. If we assume that at least a 9 - 7 record is needed (and remember we didn't make it when we went 10 - 6 one year) to make the playoffs, what can we fans hang our hat on that this team, coached by this coach, with these assistant coaches, directed by this QB, can go 9 - 4 in the next 13 games? I hope you are right and I'm being too much of a realist.
  • avatar

    Oh it will be a tough road to get to even .500, no question. But again, they win against Arizona Sunday and they are in the exact same boat as last season that saw them get to 6-4.
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    I may be the only one left in the area who thinks all is not completely lost. The first thing is to get that first win. Bucs were 1-3 at the bye last year then went on a nice run to get into playoff contention before fading late. To me this is a more talented football team. It won't be easy, and I still believe there are some deep-seeded issues inside the walls that may prevent that from happening. But I don't think you can write the team off 100% yet.
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    Spot on pfunk69. Coaching has left all of us baffled. We have talent. Some positions are still weak, but this is not the 3-13 season roster that had no one on either side of the ball that could get a job with any other team but maybe the Jags. We have 6-7 Pro Bowlers on this roster right now. More than most teams and enough combo of elite veterans and young draft picks to make some noise this season. Clearly this is an issue of a major coaching fail. Bad schemes --> we've talked about those stupid wide stunts and incessant use of zone for our press man specialist CBs, predictable bland offense and terribly basic route trees. Bad player management--> not letting Free be Free (for better or worse), calling up Danny Noble and then using Tim Wright?!! Its a joke that is borderline tragic really. When your coaches are outcoached week in week out, expecting different results becomes a futile exercise.
  • avatar

    Hey Mark, what do you think we of Ryan Mallett? What do you think we would have to give up for him? It's not ALL Freeman's fault. Schiano needs to learn to be flexible. It even with a flexible Schiano, Free will still be inaccurate and making poor decisions. It's hard to be one of only a few fans out in Cali. Regardless, Bucs till I die!
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    I like Mallett but doubtful the Pats would be willing to part and if so I am sure they would want a high round pick. Without looking it up I think he may be a FA after this year. Bucs could talk to him then maybe. I think Schiano lives and dies with Freeman and Glennon though.
  • avatar

    I meant Sullivan rather than Sheridan when refering to OC. If the Bucs are going to scuttle Freeman's career, they might as well trade him before the deadline. Last year we gave away Aqib Talib and Legarett Blount for a song and we saw yesterday those two trades come back to bite us. They will no doubt give a 25 year old QB with 5 yrs experience and a lot of ability away for a song. Probably to New England, where he'll learn from Brady and make this organization look like a bunch of nitwits. Under New England's offense Freeman would thrive. I say keep Freeman and get rid of Sullivan. Of course I know that will never happen. Look at what Oakland got for Carson Palmer a 1st and a 3rd round pick. We have people thinking we could only get a 3rd for Freeman? What a losers mentality!! I think the damage with Josh has been done. The Bucs either trade him this year or give him away for nothing. If he turns things around this year and the Bucs want to sign him, I think Josh will pass. They could franchise him in a pinch and keep him until 2015, but then he's gone. The upside of a Freeman trade is that with Glennon at the helm, the Bucs should be in a position to draft 1st in the 2014 draft and have their pick of QBs. Then Glennon can understudy a rookie.
  • avatar

    THE SKY IS FALLING!!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!! Look for all the BS that has taken place 3 games into this season, there are only 5 teams in the NFC with more than 1 victory under their belt and a few teams look much worse than the Bucs do right now (Skins/Giants)...Freeman can lead this team to some wins and he does need help from his on the field personnel and the guys wearing headphones on the sidelines...he isn't Brady, Manning, Brees or Rodgers, but with an offense that doesn't shoot itself in the foot with untimely penalties, dropped passes, missed blocks, poor execution (can we ever run a successful screen or set up play?) and vanilla play calling, he can put some points on the board and the defense can hold a team to 21 or less. They've only given up 4tds this year, all threw the air if i'm not mistaken and they are on the field too much...we win against the Cards and go fix some of this crap during the Bye week and we can come out in week 6 and possibly start the 2nd qtr of the season better than we did the 1st qtr. Free does have his issues that shouldn't still be there in yr 5, but he is what he is, what doesn't help is his personnel dropping the balls that he does put on their hands. VJax has dropped more balls the past 2 games than he prob did all of last year and the same goes for Martin. Free is so afraid of making mistakes this yr that he is holding the ball too long at times as well and getting sacked. He was sacked yesterday and the line literally held their blocks for 5 seconds...you have to do something by then Free, a rookie know's that. The play calling is somewhat predictable as well, run on 1st down most drives then play action on 2nd down...I promise you that Glennon won't fair much better with what is hurting this offense, it aint just Free... and Glennon is not well know for his accuracy. Defense is beginning to come into it's own and have an identity...Goldson may have played too soft yesterday because of the penalties and looming suspension, but this D can be top 5 with the right play calling...we were owning Brady and that offense early and then we stopped doing what was working... and putting Teo in on passing downs at DT is not working...Spence gets a sack and then you take him out the next play and replace him with an undersized end in the middle...Teo didn't get any pressure yesterday from the middle...we got rid of bennet to give bowers the end job, so let him play there and rotate teo in with him at end, not nose tackle, he's outmatched...we went into too much zone in the 2nd qtr and beyond and Brady ate that up...Plus they were on the field too long and were wearing down. This team can be better and Schiano and Sullivan HAVE to be better for us to salvage this season...They must play with a sense of urgency from here on out, PERIOD!
  • avatar

    pfunk69: I started out w/ a relatively positive outlook on this season. I thought 8-8 or 9-7. Unfortunately, my hopes have pretty well been dashed and an emerging Defense will likely have to do it for me this season. I'll try not to sound disrespectful here, but I really didn't have to read too far down to say, huh? Freeman looks like the walking dead, the coaching on that side of the ball has been horrid, and the rest of the Offense has not done enough to mask his behind. Regardless of any challenges he's had, Josh has not matured and still has all the issues he's always had. What on god's earth makes you think a turnaround is in the cards for our Offense? There are some good players there, but this does not look like its moving in a positive direction IMO.
  • avatar

    Looking back now it is more evident than ever that an NFL experienced coach should have been hired to replace Raheem. The college route has proven to be the wrong choice.....in my opinion. The Bucs had a shot at Philbin and Zimmer, for instance. Check out Philbin's record so far this year. The fact that the tight end and a third receiver positions plus letting Bennett go have hurt this team badly. Just how blind and stupid can this organization be? Also, this Rutgers connection is just getting old and worn out......enough already! The QB position is a real problem now. Free does have some talent, but is he a leader? Big question mark there. Changes must happen soon. I am not a fair weather fan as I've been there since the very start and I've been very discouraged many times before, but my goodness, it's getting old.
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    first, i wanna agree that Free wont be here next year, so lets take a look on Glennon (although theres not much to expect, but making sure is good and even if he fails badly, it gives us a good draft pick). like many said before, the K Lindell should not have won the job over Dimke (talent over experience, i like it). But you got to wonder: we have like xx coaches, the special teams coach has been a HC and still the fans (who aren´t there everyday with the team) can make a better judgement call on personal than them? thats embarrassing! Same goes for our Offseason. All the time, some of the fans, were aware of the missing pieces on our team. But our GM and coaching staff thought, it was time to finish the rebuilding process and going for the big price (okay, they only wanted to go to the playoffs - at least they were talking more about Playoffs?! than actueally the Trophy.) - Regardless, their plan backfired and it was (at least for me) pretty apparantly, that it will.. with that being said, this HC GM tandem is not worth the money, and at least a portion of the coaching staff too - so they gotta go! GoGlazers, give us a real competive FO/GM/HC team, then enjoy soccer - GoBucs!
  • avatar

    Good Article Mark; you just laid out the facts and fans can accept or reject them. I accept them because it makes sense that Freeman is the problem under this scheme and The Schiano Way won't work with Freeman at the helm. I also believe that Schiano play scheme needs a little flexibility and then it could work, but I don't believe he understands that word. We must win this game and there is no reason why we can't. This was another game that most of us thought was winnable and I believe we will. We still have a shot for 6-7 wins. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Tank4Teddy is in full swing. Jackson and Lindell are clearly in on it.
  • avatar

    I agree with everything you said MC. They were all spot on as well as the description of why. I especially agree about the Lindell and this is another indication of bad coaching. I hate, hate, HATE when people choose experience over talent and production. Yes, Dimke missed an extra point in the preseason but he was an outstanding kicker outside of that. Lindell was "proven"... proven to be inaccurate beyone 50 yards. At least Dimke would have given you a shot at those. Now Schiano is going for it on 4th down because his kicker can't make kicks above or below 50 yards.
  • avatar

    I think Josh Freeman has been undermined and I don't think it was Schiano that did it. I look at this stupid offense the Bucs are running and I can see why we can't get anything done. Sheridan is in over his head. Our defense is going to get worn down if things keep going in this direction. I can't believe they were playing Mc Coy so late a game that was already a lost cause. That's a good way to get your best player on defense hurt. Good NFL teams can run a no huddle offense and wear a defense out doing it. NE is putting together a defense to go with their offense. Apparently their scheme is easy enough for young players to pick it up fast. Tom Brady is a top 5 QB and he was masterful yesterday. The Giants were the Bully Boys of the NFL and they let some good players get away. They got beat 38-0 by the Panthers yesterday. The NY offense that Sheridan espouses is hell to come from behind with. Schiano needs a good OC.
  • avatar

    there are still 13 games left to be played. we can string together some nice runs our defense is really playing lights out. we just gotta get the offense rolling and we can still make a run at the tournament we call the playoffs! Get it together and let's go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    BTW, you all do realize that Jackson's ribs hurt because Josh threw him into coverage? It's on tape vs the Saints. Go watch it.
  • avatar

    I love Coach Sciano. LOVE HIM!!! Coach, your D is getting too many personal fouls. No problem, no personal fouls. Coach, you need to have faith in your QB. No problem, give Josh the ball. Go for it on 4th down at least 3 times. (For 0 points) There is a stark reality that we need to be aware of. Schiano don't play. When he leaned on K2 & Talib everybody was OK with that. Now he's leaning on Josh. In case you haven't noticed, Josh isn't a Buccaneer Man. It sucks. QB is the hardest position to fill. But, it's harder to fill when you don't realize you need to fill it. This fan says, Keep it up Coach. Keep pushing. It's an easy test to pass. Real men push back.
  • avatar

    Jongruden, I don't know where you get that Glennon is a carbon copy of Freeman. He is the exact opposite as far as style of play goes. Freeman is at his best when he's moving around and adlibbing. He doesn't read defenses, and rarely checks down. Glennon is a pure pocket passer who is much better at reading defenses. They both have cannon arms, and both are inaccurate (Freeman much more so than Glennon, however). I don't know that Glennon is the long-term answer, but it is obvious that Freeman isn't, so it's time to see what we have and move on.
  • avatar

    Right or wrong when your offense struggles like this the only thing you can do for a spark is change your Q.B.. Freeman has had more then enough chances, and clearly won't be back next year so it's time to pull the plug. Watching Free sitting a lone on the sideline yesterday tells you all you need to know. The players have given up on him.
  • avatar

    The Glazer boys have a real dilemma on their hands. They have spent the $ to bring in proven F/A players the fans have demanded. They have re-signed our home grown players for whom it was warranted. Now, after watching Schiano's product for 19 games and seeing it work only 7 times; Bryan and Joel must realize the obvious. A 36% success rate isn't going to cut it with fans who are smart enough to know the roster is good enough and is no longer re-building. How has our "franchise QB" actually digressed? Are any of these rumors coming out of the bowels of One Buc Palace accurate? Perhaps Schiano wants the blame put on # 5 to save his own butt. Pure and simple, this team has been out-coached since Rutgers south gathered in sunny Tampa. What would Gruden be able to do with this offensive firepower? What would Dungy do with the new triplets plus a few others? Heck, for that matter; what would Sam "5 dash 2" Wyche do? His "muddle huddle" could be called the "Befuddled Huddle". Of course Coach McKay would "execute the offense."
  • avatar

    There is still a chance this season can be saved, because the sad truth is, Freeman did improve his play yesterday. He had NO help from Jackson or WRight, and you cant tell me that if those guys make their first quarter catches, thats a very different game. But Im in agreement that Freeman is mostly likely out of Tampa Bay this year, and the only question is, will a new head coach be the one shopping for that QB. A win over the Cardinals the Bucs are 1-3 same as last year. A lot can happen after a bye.
  • avatar

    there are still 13 games left to be played. we can string together some nice runs.or defense is playing lights out. we just gotta get the offense rolling and we can still make a run at the tournament we call the playoffs! Get it together and let's go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    Glennon is a carbon copy of Freeman, tall, big arm, inaccurate, and locks on to receivers why did we ever draft this kid I will never know, but hopefully we will get a top 5 pick and grab one of the top qb's in college do I want to start over? No, but do I have a choice?, No!
  • avatar

    I would rather watch what Lennon can do, and get a better draft pick next year than struggle through this year watching freeman anymore. We've seen more than enough of freeman, he won't be here next year, were not going anywhere this year. Let's join Cleveland and pull the "suck for luck" routine. Maybe Glennon will surprise, if not we are certainly headed for one of the top picks next year.
  • avatar

    I think they need to try and trade Freeman and get the most for him right now, if that is even possible. He is way too inconsistent. What's the difference if Freeman takes them to an 8-8 or Glennon taking them to a 5-11, just 3 games.
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