The Buccaneers found another way to lose on Sunday, 19-13, against the Minnesota Vikings. That defeat drops Tampa Bay’s record to 1-6 on the season. PewterReport.com reviewed each individual unit and offers up its grades in this weekly post game feature.
When Mike Glennon took over for starter Josh McCown and got his first start of the 2014 season at Pittsburgh, the second-year player appeared to be primed to solidify the position, giving Tampa Bay one less thing to worry about in next year’s offseason. Glennon followed up the win over the Steelers with another solid performance at New Orleans, but since then, has struggled. The Buccaneers are 1-3 in his four starts. On Sunday, Glennon and the Bucs offense once again struggled to accomplish anything through three quarters and trailed the lowly Vikings, 10-0, in the fourth quarter. Glennon and company did come alive in the final quarter, with 13 second half points, but even with the late rally you can’t ignore the first three quarters of futility in which Tampa Bay racked up just 97 net yards. Some will point to a lack of a running game, or poor offensive line protection, but Glennon had a hand in the disaster, throwing an ill-advised first quarter interception, running out of bounds on third down later in the game a yard shy of the first down, and had a number of off-target throws on the afternoon. Glennon finished 19-of-28 for 171 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
GRADE = D
The mysterious disappearance of Doug Martin from his 2012 form is well documented. But the more you watch the Bucs this season, is it really a mystery? I am not sure Walter Payton reincarnated would consistently put up even average numbers behind this offensive line. That isn’t to take the blame off Martin or even Bobby Rainey, but many times on Sunday, the Bucs running backs were met two yards behind the line of scrimmage by a Vikings defender. Both Martin and Rainey struggled on Sunday, combining for just 52 yards rushing on the afternoon. While there may be help on the way next week with Charles Sims, without holes – or even small creases – the odds of anything changing in the run game is slim to none. On the afternoon against the Vikings the Buccaneers managed just 66 yards on the ground, with 13 of that coming on two Glennon scrambles.
GRADE = D
When a running back is your leading receiver (Bobby Rainey, six receptions) you know you have major issues with your offense. Blame Glennon, offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo, or even the poor pass protection, but the Bucs wide receivers did a poor job for most of the afternoon of creating any separation. The receiver did a good job of holding on to the ball for the most part (Mike Evans had one drop), but really only made a couple plays, and that was late in the fourth quarter. When the Buccaneers talk about finding ways to start faster, part of that answer needs to come from the receivers doing a better job of getting open. Vincent Jackson had a grand total of one catch on the afternoon (13 yards), frustrating Bucs fans – and fantasy owners – everywhere. Evans (four receptions for 78 yards) continues to grow as a receiver but also disappears at times. And Louis Murphy was on the receiving end of just two Glennon targets for only 11 yards.
GRADE = D
Without fullback Javorskie Lane who is serving a two-game suspension, Tampa Bay lined up Luke Stocker in the backfield at times to use as a lead blocker and he did a solid job, enough so to make you wonder if the Bucs even need to occupy a spot on the roster for a fullback. Brandon Myers was targeted just two times, and notched just one catch for three yards. Rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins led the Bucs tight ends with three catches for 26 yards and what looked to be a game-winning, 7-yard touchdown late in the fourth. Unfortunately what could have been of his most memorable games turned out to be a nightmare when he fumbled after a 10-yard reception to start the overtime period and Vikings rookie linebacker Anthony Barr returned it 27 yards for a touchdown, ending the game.
GRADE = C
Until this unit gets things together the Buccaneers will be hard-pressed to win another game this season. As mentioned earlier, the run blocking was extremely poor and the pass blocking was just as bad. Mike Glennon was dropped five times on Sunday and pressured on numerous passes throughout the afternoon. Right tackle Demar Dotson played the best out of the group while left tackle Anthony Collins, right guard Garrett Gilkey, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, and left guard Logan Mankins all took turn committing costly penalties that put the Bucs in a hole or negated positive yards. Gilkey got flagged for back-to-back holding penalties in the second quarter, one of which negated an 18-yard reception by Bobby Rainey. Again, until this unit improves, it doesn’t matter who is under center or running the football, the Bucs offense will continue to struggle as they did on Sunday.
GRADE = F
Beat writer Eric Horchy wrote a fantastic story on Saturday about the porous offensive line of the Vikings – who came into Sunday’s game having allowed 27 sacks – and a Bucs defense that had only managed nine all season. In it he wrote, something has to give. Unfortunately for Bucs fans it was the defensive line that ended up giving, by allowing a rookie quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater to beat the Buccaneers on their home turf. The Bucs managed just one sack and only five quarterback pressures on the afternoon and got little to no pressure on the former Louisville star when it counted most as Bridgewater drove the Vikings down the field for the game-tying field goal inside of two minutes. Somewhere Warren Sapp, Brad Culpepper, Simeon Rice and Greg Spires are still reaching for the Tums antacids after than two-minute meltdown. Those were the situations those guys absolutely lived for, but twice (Rams, Vikings) this season, the Buccaneers defense couldn’t put the nail in the coffin. In run defense the line was solid, holding the Vikings to under 100 yards (97 on 22 attempts). Will Gholston led the defensive line with three tackles and Akeem Spence had two stops. Gerald McCoy split a sack with Clinton McDonald, but the duo only notched four tackles between them, and once again defensive end Michael Johnson appears to be more of the 2013 three-sack defensive end than the 11.5 one from two years ago.
GRADE = D
With all the talk of players not feeling comfortable yet in the new defensive scheme, it appears Lavonte David is having no trouble picking it up. Once again, arguably the best player on the entire Bucs roster, played a lights out game, recording 14 tackles with three of those for loss. Mason Foster contributed six tackles and was solid, but strongside linebacker Danny Lansanah had just two stops in the game, although the Bucs appeared to be playing a lot of nickel against the Vikings.
GRADE = B
Overall the secondary did a good job of keeping the Vikings in check for much of the afternoon. In fact the entire defense played well enough to win, minus the final Vikings drive. When you only give up 13 points you expect to win most of those games. The Bucs secondary defended the deep balls well and kept everything in front of them, but once again couldn’t force a turnover. Cornerback Johnthan Banks could have sealed the game but dropped an interception on the Vikings last drive. The secondary failed to record an interception but did have seven pass breakups, led by Alterraun Verner who recorded two. The only other major lapse came when safety Dashon Goldson was out of position on Greg Jennings third quarter touchdown reception.
GRADE = C
Punter Michael Koenen had one poor punt, a 22-yard effort in the first half but after that, started hitting the ball much better and ended up averaging 43.1 yards a punt with a long of 51. Placekicker Patrick Murray was a perfect 2-for-2 on the afternoon and drained his second field goal over 50 yards this season with a fourth quarter 54-yard bomb, and then followed it up with another from 45 yards. Newly signed Trindon Holliday was decent in his red and pewter debut, averaging 8.5 yards on two punt returns and 22.5 on kickoff returns.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
kick return averages is completely misleading for kollidays contribution…his first ko return he barely got to the 16 yd line..returner has to ave 30 yds to be counted successful if they run 8 yards deep out of the endzone…..and muffled fair catches aren’t exactly achievements either
These grades are for a team in their 7th game at home off a bye against a poor opponent. A really accurate sample of what the Bucs’ truly are. So, what do the Bucs have? No QB, but quality veteran mentoring for a talented rookie next year. A RT, maybe a LT w/ more reps…maybe. No OG’s. Want to run the football? Want to work some screens? Get some big athletic pulling Guards. How are those draft picks developing? WO’s w/o Jackson are still ok. FB, TE show promise. Simms has hands aka Forte, but he hasn’t seen the field yet. On D the Bucs’ look good at DT but lack DE’s. LB’s need an athletic SAM. 2ndary needs depth at CB, and a reboot at Safety. Barron isn’t working. I believe many Alabama players come out very close to their ceiling–and beat up. Our punter costs too much for what he does. How is that position not a quality 5th or 6th round pick? Lastly, there is NO return game whatsoever. After 7 games, that’s who I think the Bucs are. Coaching? That’s a U for Unsatisfactory. Still, there’s no reason they can’t plug some holes while Lovie’s sticking to the “plan.”
A very sober look at our team Mark….accurate but painful.
These could be the same grades for our entire season. In the great debate about whether we need to prioritize drafting a QB, OL or DE etc. the answer is yes. We need all of them. Above all we need to hit on some picks for a change, I worry about that more than what position we choose first.
mjmoody summed it up nicely. We need so much we have to trade down several spots and pick up another 2nd round pick. We need more draft picks. We’re getting very close to playing players who will be here next year not this year. The season is just about done. I don’t know who we can beat anymore. Mark, I do disagree with you about Glennon’s rating. He’s no franchise, but he is better than deer in the lights McCown.
The good news: L.David is the best 4-3 OLB in the NFL, G.McCoy is a force.. but 98 million??? Our secondary is disgusting. Our LT experiment is over, he sucks. move dotson over ASAP next to Mankins. D.Martin had his reputation destroyed b/c of Lovie and Licht’s failure in free agency/draft. We need an offensive mind in our front office, Glennon+Doug will be better when our O-line isn’t the worst in the NFL
Didn’t there used to be grade for coaching? If so, When we have players talking about being confused by the opponent, especially after two weeks to prepare, the coaching is poor. When the revolving door to the roster is spinning out of control it tells me the initial talent evaluation process was inaccurate. Yes, we want to explore all options to improve the roster but there are three CB’s that came in during the season with no Training Camp. Are they really that much better than who had been with us in the off-season learning the schemes?
I think we’ve seen enough of Glennon, and McCown to know with the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft the Tampa Bay Bucs select….? We all think it’d be Mariota, but alot can happen between now and April. Personally I think Winston will make the better pro. I’m leary about west coast kids having to move across country to start their pro lives without their family, and friends. I’m also leary about the numbers Mariota puts up playing one of those wacky college offenses, will his skill translate to the pro game? Winston is a Florida kid. He wouldn’t have to get use to the time difference, and the heat, and humidity. If he wasn’t a head case he’d be the #1 player in the draft, no question. That Presscott kid looks impressive too. Back to point, I don’t care who the Q.B. is going forward this year, it’s next year that matters.
Why even grade this squad anymore,they are just plain awful…I now watch games to see them implode- the badnews Bucs are in full effect…I believe Tampa has literally a handful of NFL starting caliber players and the rest are roster filler that would likely be outta football if not in Tampa- hell,the coach even fits the bill…
QB looks to be a problem for years to come- Glennon is,well Glennon – doesn’t quite seem to be a franchise guy-would he start anywhere else in the league? Next years top two QB options are a duck(name a successful duck QB in the NFL) and a creep who steals crab legs and degrades women- I smell first rounder…what the hell is wrong with Mallett and why hasn’t ANYONE made a play for him from the Pats?seemed like a better option than anything we have( though he was a dumb ass when @Arkansas- might still be a dumb ass)…the QB picture now and in the future looks like a weakness in Tampa…QB position looks like it’s pretty thin throughout the NFL- you need to make the right choices or you will be in the same place the Bucs are…thank goodness they stayed away from Carr….
McCoy is overrated and overpaid- I’ll say it since most seem scared to..his numbers are good but when you are the only threat up front- you better walk away with some decent numbers…I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say he gets little to no help either but the money he is paid is ridiculous…
I also think its wise to stay away from Bama players in the draft- those boys wear themselves out playing for Saban and rarely have anything left in the pros- esp. defensive players….
Oh well,the Bucs are again a letdown- what’s new…it’s been about 12 years of crap in Tampa and it looks like they are well on the way to turn the next 12 into the same…
All they need is a few more games and then they will be better. Not good enough to win, but better.
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