The Bucs won a shootout in New Orleans to open the season 1-0 and made a statement to the NFL. While the Bucs offense had an incredible day of production, there were plenty of errors and bad coaching, particularly on defense, that could have cost the team this win.
Take a look at the Most Disappointing List and see if you agree.
K Chandler Catanzaro
This team is cursed in the kicking department. Ever since Connor Barth tore an Achilles in a charity basketball game in 2013, it has been a revolving door of disappointment. The Bucs have been trying to solve the problem, spending tons of money, trying out new guys, even drafting them in the second round, but for whatever reason it has been an issue.
Tampa Bay hoped – and still hopes – Catanzaro will be the solution, but on Sunday, with the Saints trying to mount an unbelievable comeback in the fourth, the Bucs and Catanzaro had the chance for the official knockout blow midway through the quarter. Instead the field goal, that would have clinched it a lot sooner, sailed wide right and left life in the SuperDome and on the sidelines.
Fortunately the Bucs offense was able to bleed the clock inside of four minutes and won 48-40. Catanzaro won’t ever have better conditions to make a kick and that 44-yard attempt has to be as automatic as an extra point.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Zero sacks. Zero tackles. Zero quarterback hits. One penalty. That was the stat line for Bucs new defensive end Pierre-Paul. And Drew Brees dropped back 45 times with many of those in the second half when the Bucs defense knew that the Saints would be throwing the ball. These are the moments Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp and any pass rusher lives for. It has to get better. Much better.
CB Carlton Davis
Thrust into the starting lineup with Brent Grimes sitting at home in Tampa, rookie Carlton Davis got his first real taste of NFL action. Say what you want about the preseason, but compared to lining up facing Brees opening weekend on the road, the preseason is a glorified scrimmage game. Davis got that baptism by fire early and often and was abused by the Saints future Hall of Famer. The Bucs still won, and Davis should be better for it moving forward. But he now knows training camp and the preseason are child’s play compared to the regular season.
DC Mike Smith
Yes I know it was Week 1. Yes I know it was the Saints. Yes I know there were new players all over the field. Yes I know there was no Brent Grimes. Yes, I know all of that.
I also know that Julio Jones might have 25 catches when the Falcons and Bucs play. I also know this defense should be better in Year 3 of Mike Smith’s time in Tampa Bay. The Bucs offense won’t score 48 point every game. But if things don’t get better in the defensive secondary, a lot of people will be looking for work next January. There are no more excuses for a secondary that even Lovie Smith would say played bad.
Some good news? The Saints didn’t run the ball very well. Still, there were times out there when the Bucs secondary looked like they had never seen a minute of Saints film. I won’t blame the players, it is all on the coaching at this point.