This story is intended to be read by Pewter Insider subscribers only. Sharing of the PI content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.
5 Most Disappointing Bucs
QB Byron Leftwich – Although he completed a pair of 21-yard passes to wide receiver Maurice Stovall, Leftwich struggled mightily with accuracy vs. the Dolphins on Thursday night. Leftwich attempted to showcase his strong arm by going deep across the middle of the field and down the sidelines a few times, but overthrew receivers on a number of occasions. His worst throw came on Tampa Bay's second drive of the game when tight end Kellen Winslow got himself wide open down the right seam just to have Leftwich overthrow him by about 5-10 yards, which drew boos from the crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Wide receiver Brian Clark also fell victim to a few of Leftwich's overthrown passes, including a ball that sailed out over his head in the end zone on a third down play. Leftwich, who was sacked once tonight, led two drives that led to field goals, but failed to throw a touchdown pass. He finished the game 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) for 101 yards. QB Luke McCown – McCown didn't have to do much to win the starting quarterback competition after watching Leftwich's sub-par performance, but he didn't do enough. McCown's first offensive drive started on Tampa Bay's own 8-yard line. Although the Bucs moved the ball via the ground game, the drive stalled after the usually-mobile McCown was sacked twice. On the next series, McCown was nearly sacked again, but instead drew an intentional grounding penalty because his pass outside the pocket didn't get back to the line of scrimmage. At one point, McCown faced a third-and-19 on one drive, and stared at a third-and-29 down-and-distance situation the next. Both drives ended with punts. To make matters worse, the heavy duress McCown was under due to poor offensive line play contributed to the quarterback going 0-for-4 on pass attempts in the rain-delayed second quarter. Although he did not fare well, McCown received little help from his pass protection or his receivers (tight end Jerramy Stevens dropped a perfectly thrown ball near the left sideline in the second quarter). McCown engineered a drive that ended with a missed field goal in the third quarter, which was a fitting end to his night. McCown was 5-of-11 for 38 yards vs. the Dolphins.
CB Torrie Cox – A few first half mistakes led to some bad mishaps for Cox in the second half of Thursday night's game. In the second quarter, Cox missed a tackle on one play and had an offsetting coverage penalty on another. But those mistakes paled in comparison to what happened on Miami's first drive of the third quarter. Cox found himself in a one-on-one pass situation with Dolphins WR Brian Hartline, and QB Chad Pennington threw to him deep down the right sideline off a play-action bootleg. Cox was beat by Hartline on the play, which resulted in a 54-yard gain down to Tampa Bay's 5-yard line. Two plays later, Cox was called for defensive holding, which moved the ball to the Bucs' 2-yard line. That eventually led to Pennington's touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano, which capped of a five-play, 72-yard drive.
RT Jeremy Trueblood – Trueblood was part of an offensive line that didn't pass protect well for the quarterbacks, especially McCown in the second and third quarter. On Tampa Bay's second drive of the game, Leftwich took the snap from Miami's 5-yard and took a three-step drop before being crushed by Dolphins left end Kendall Langford, who easily worked his way around Trueblood for the sack, which resulted in a fumble. Luckily for the Bucs, tight end Kellen Winslow recovered the loose ball at the 17-yard line. Tampa Bay later settled for a field goal. On the first offensive play of the second quarter, Trueblood was called for a false start, which set up a first-and-15 from Tampa Bay's own 10-yard line. Late in the second quarter, Trueblood allowed linebacker Charlie Anderson to pressure McCown on a third-and-19 passing play, which resulted in an incompletion and led to a punt. G Davin Joseph – It's difficult to earn a spot on the 5 Most Disappointing list based on just one series, but Joseph accomplished that feat Thursday by being called for three penalties on one drive in the third quarter. His first infraction was a holding call. A few plays later, Joseph was called for a personal foul – unnecessary roughness penalty for jumping on a pile late. Luckily for Joseph, Miami's penalty on that play led to offsetting infractions. But Joseph saved his worst penalty for last, which came on kicker Mike Nugent's 46-yard attempt. The field goal try was whistled dead due to Joseph's false start penalty, which resulted in Nugent having to attempt a 51-yard field goal. Nugent missed that attempt wide right, which kept the score at 10-6 in favor of the Dolphins.