The Bucs were able to end a five-game losing streak with a 15-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. While the team played well, for the most part, there were still some players that struggled. Here is our list of the most disappointing. Take a look and see if you agree.
OG J.R. Sweezy
The run-grading, play-with-an-edge Sweezy we saw in Seattle apparently made a wrong turn in Albuquerque on his way to Tampa Bay (Bugs Bunny reference). What was expected to be an improved, nastier offensive line has been anything but. It’s most certainly not all on Sweezy, but he hasn’t played particularly well the last few weeks, Sunday especially. Sweezy was beaten by his man on a number of run downs, and also was guilty of a blatant hold in the second half against the Jets. Offensive linemen hold all the time. The good ones get away with it more often than not, but you can’t ever literally tackle a defensive player on a stretch run when you pull to the outside right in front of an official. For whatever reason, Sweezy, who should be getting better as he develops chemistry with Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson, seems to be regressing.
OT Donovan Smith
Smith, who commendably fought through a knee injury to even play on Sunday against the Jets, had his typical once-a-game holding penalty that negated a nice third quarter run for Doug Martin. Martin’s run of 14 yards would have given the Bucs a first down on the Jets 14-yard line, but instead pushed the Bucs back 10 yards to their own 38 where they ended up settling for a 49-yard Pat Murray field goal instead of having a first-and-10 inside the red zone.
LB Kwon Alexander
We have mentioned Kwon a few times since his return from injury, and have to once again this week. No one plays with more effort than Alexander, but perhaps he is trying to make up for all his missed games at once. Kwon didn’t have a terrible game by any stretch (four tackles, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble) but was more inconsistent than the team would like, with a few missed tackles and not his best game in coverage. Fortunately for the Bucs defense, Lavonte David continued his excellent season on Sunday, as did rookie Kendell Beckwith and the Bucs defense was able to limit the Jets to just 10 points on the afternoon.
Run Blocking/Offensive Line
Once again the Bucs offensive line, as a unit, didn’t play very well against the Jets. In their defense, the Jets are very good up front, however when you give up six quarterback hits, one sack and only average 2.9 yards per carry on 31 attempts, your unit didn’t play well. And the Bucs support staff will need to use the extra strength laundry detergent this week when trying to clean the green grass stains off the back of Fitzpatrick’s jersey.
RB Doug Martin
While, as just stated above, the Bucs’ run blocking left much to be desired, Martin also didn’t play particularly well himself. It seems he isn’t trusting his blocking (who could blame him) and spending too much time looking for the cut back or dancing behind the line of scrimmage. That ability to make something out of the nothing that he showed as a rookie in 2012, and also again in 2015, looks like it is gone for whatever reason. Can he get it back? He will need to, unless the offensive line becomes a dominant group – maybe those come hand-in-hand.