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December 9, 2012 @ 10:45 pm
Current rating: 4.67 Stars/3 Votes

Foles Foils Bucs Secondary: Most Impressive And Disappointing

Written by Haley
Cornish
Haley Cornish

Haley
Cornish

Pewter Report Intern E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Which players performed well in a 23-21 losing effort against the Eagles? Which players had poor performances against Philadelphia? Find out what Pewter Report thinks in the weekly Most Impressive and Disappointing feature.
On the ten-year anniversary of the 2002 Super Bowl team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 23-21 to the 3-9 Philadelphia Eagles in what was a must win game for the Bucs. While they’re still technically "in the hunt", their season is basically over with a record of 6-7.

Below is a list of players who played well in Sunday’s game against the Eagles and players that need to improve if Tampa Bay hopes to avoid a losing record.

Most Impressive
DT Gerald McCoy
McCoy had one of, if not the best, games of his career. He tallied five tackles (four solo) adding two sacks, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits. He had great pressure the entire game and was a huge part of the Bucs strong defense in the first half, taking advantage of Philadelphia's poor pass blocking offensive line. In my Five Keys To Victory article I predicted McCoy to have a big game in front of his mentor Warren Sapp. He did just that, and no one was happier about that than No. 99. While McCoy has been very impressive for most of the year, he hasn’t recorded a sack since his monster game in Week 3 against the Cowboys. 

DE Michael Bennett
Bennett also had a very solid game, matching McCoy’s two sacks while also having four tackles for loss and four QB hits. It seemed like Bennett and McCoy were in Nick Foles’ face for most of the game and were very close to having even more sacks. Bennett is making it very difficult for the Bucs organization in terms of a contract extension in the offseason. Bennett has been so hot and cold all season, it seems like he is an elite pass rusher in one game and non-existent in the next. He needs to prove he can be more consistent in the next three games if he hopes to be signed to a big contract by the team this offseason. 

WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson led the team with six receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 21.8 yard per catch, including a fantastic 40-yarder in the third quarter that lead to a 13-yard touchdown catch. Jackson, who has proven to be one of the greatest free agency signings in the history of the franchise, was consistently getting separation throughout the game and was open often, however Freeman failed to see him on many occasions. When Jackson was able to get the ball in his hands he did an excellent job racking up yards after the catch. 

RB Doug Martin
Martin had his fourth career 100-yard rushing day, along with his tenth touchdown of the year. He gained 128 yard on 28 carries, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. What is most impressive about Martin is how he never gives up on plays. There were three or four instances where he was stopped for a short gain but carried the pile for an extra six yards. The Boise State product was unable to produce any big runs in Sunday’s game but still managed to have a good game despite not having many big holes to run through.

LB Lavonte David
While David didn’t have his best game against the Eagles, he still managed nine tackles (seven solo), second only to Ronde Barber. David also got decent pressure on QB Nick Foles, generating his first career sack and two quarterback hits. The Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate has been the most consistent player on Tampa Bay's defense all season, and fans should look forward to watching this young player continue to improve.

Honorable Mentions: DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, FS Ronde Barber, and PR Roscoe Parish

Most Disappointing
The Entire Secondary
It’s one thing to give up over 300 yards to elite quarterbacks like Eli Manning, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. But when you give up 381 yards, two passing and one rushing touchdown to a rookie who was starting his fourth NFL game it’s just embarrassing. There was not one bright spot in the secondary, because the only consistent defensive back the Bucs have, Ronde Barber, was playing along the line of scrimmage for a lot of the game.

Mark Barron has done nothing to garner the seventh overall pick the Bucs used on him in the draft. While he is only a rookie and will surely improve next year, he was a top-ten pick and hasn’t made any impact plays in weeks. Maybe he would be playing better is he were playing with NFL-caliber cornerbacks instead of undrafted, developing prospects like Leonard Johnson (who gave up the game winning touchdown) and Danny Gorrer (who dropped a game winning interception thrown right to him).

Another disappointing defensive back was E.J. Biggers, who had two solid games prior to the Eagles game. Biggers did manage to break up two passes and tackled well but got beat several times. Anthony Gaitor, who started his first career game, played very well for not having played all season due to injury. It’s tough to be hard on players like these because they clearly shouldn’t be starting on any team in the NFL, but when they’re playing against a rookie QB there are no excuses.

QB Josh Freeman
Freeman had one of his worst games of the season against a terrible Eagles secondary. He didn’t throw any interceptions, but that is mainly because he was so inaccurate for much of the game that the defenders weren’t even close. The Bucs offense is supposed to be the team's strongest unit, but when your quarterback stares receivers down, takes too long to go through his progressions, misses wide open targets and runs into sacks because he is unable to maneuver in the pocket, there isn’t going to be much production. 

Freeman did play decent in the second half and maybe could have won the game if it wasn’t for the conservative play calling on third-and-eight late in the game. However if he just played consistent the entire game it wouldn’t have even been close in the second half. How many three-and-outs did the Bucs defense get that were just wasted by the poor play of Josh Freeman?

OT Demar Dotson
Dotson had an impressive start to the season after beating out Jeremy Trueblood for the starting right tackle job. But for the past few weeks he has been the weakest link on the Bucs battered offensive line. He drew two holding calls and missed a number of blocks allowing defenders to pressure Freeman and stop Martin for short gains. His recent poor play definitely makes offensive tackle a major need for Bucs in the offseason next year.

The Buccaneer Coaching Staff
As head coach Greg Schiano said after the game, it was a poorly coached game on the coaching staffs' part. Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan called way too many unnecessary blitzes throughout the contest leaving the team's inexperienced defensive backs on an island. The Bucs front four was getting plenty of pressure throughout the game on their own and there was no reason to dial up so many blitzes, especially when the secondary was already struggling.

Although offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan shouldn’t be blamed for the offensive struggles in the first half (it was just poor execution), he should be blamed for his conservative play calling that cost the Bucs this game.

However, all of the play calls go through the head coach, and Schiano ultimately has the final call on the play. Schiano deserves some of the blame, especially since it was such a special day for Bucs fans and he was unable to get his team fired up enough to win, as the team came out flat.

Dishonorable Mentions: WR Tiquan Underwood, LB Mason Foster, C Ted Larson, and LB Adam Hayward
Last modified on Monday, 10 December 2012 00:53
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    I think Haley makes an important point when dicussing Barron. The corners on this team are so weak that he may be trying to do too much, or may be needed to do too much, especially for being a rookie. I really think fans should hold judgement until he is playing with (at least) average talent around him. The same can be said about Sheridan. I have no idea why fans want to run him out of town. This scheme should work beautifully when we get corners who can play press man, which will also make the pass rush more effective.
  • avatar

    Jon gruden, I watched the game closely and I kept hearing Biggers and Gaitor's name over and over. I realize we gave up a lot of yards, but you cannot blame the loss on them alone. Our offense was lacking. We got a lot of production out of Martin and Jackson, but in my opinion after Williams we no other dependable receivers or tight ends. We have got to find away to get those tough yards at the end of the game that keeps the ball out of the hands of the other team. Also our punter really played badly sunday.
  • avatar

    seat26- hearing their name over and over means nothing when you make the tackle after a 20 yd completion, sish
  • avatar


    The D coordinator MUST be changed. There was no containment (allowing the QB to run unchecked) all day (i.e., no adjustments), CBs left on an island against the best receiver (final TD for Phil.), rookie Eagles QB 10 for 15 with 180 yards on 3rd downs. In the 3rd quarter, both safeties bitzed and both CBs covered long...leaving both receivers open long...fortunately the Eagles QB overthrew them. Too many 12-men-on-the-field penalties. All DBs look lost on pass coverage most of the time. Can Barron actually cover passes??
  • avatar


    stlbucsfan - ditto. The only thing I would change is that while I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis that asking this secondary to do anything is really too much to ask - surely we could have asked Gorrer to catch a ball thrown 5 miles per hour directly into his hands with no competition for the catch....couldn't we?
  • avatar


    EastEndBoy- I certainly think the catch could have been made but I'm not surprised that he didn't. When I saw us punting the football back to the Eagles I knew the game was over. I have seen this defense enough so nothing surprises me whether its missed opportunities, blown coverages, or flatout awful play calls.
  • avatar


    The secondary and the coaches are to blame for this loss. We have seen this offense be dynamic and explosive for the most part of the season so to start saying the same players we praised weeks ago now need to be replaced is laughable. Look at the consistent problems that have been here the whole season, questionable coaching decisions in close game, n awful secondary,and a defensive coordinator that helps his awful secondary by calling more blitzes than the late Jim Johnson??? Those are areas that need to be addressed. We need a proven NFL caliber defensive coordinator, one that tailors his defensive approach to the talent thats on the roster not one that calls defenses as if he has 2 pro bowl caliber CBs when in fact when in fact we have street FAs on islands for more than half the game. Next step is Schiano needs to talk in depth in Belicheck about winning games as opposed to managing them. When your strengths are on the offensive side of the ball your coaching should show that. Do you think New Orleans would have ran the ball on 3rd and 8 up 5 with their defense? In Dallas it was the awful clock management at the end of the game, New York it was the blitzing from hell that did us in and the list goes on of coaching blunders that have costed us several close games. People that say we need to draft another QB need to look around the league QBs struggle thats the nature of the business the question is did Josh play well enough for us to win the game and the answer is yes. Brees has struggled all season and early in his career we see how that turned out. Flacco has struggled should he be replaced? Newton? and that list goes on. I saw players playing hard and ones that didnt quit the coaching failed them and nothing more. Could the coverage have been better on the last play certainly but if a player has been beaten in man coverage the whole year then why leave them on islands the entire last drive??? To give Foles 300 plus yards through the air and 3 TDs in absurd. The knock last week was McCoy and Bennett arent getting any pressure and I ran to their defense saying with an awful secondary they have no time to get there. I see since they had 2 sacks a piece that now the pitchforks are now being aimed at Dotson and Freeman smh. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    At least one positive of this game: For all those fans who said that the D-line generates no pressure, this game (in addition to the majority of this season) proves that they get consistent pressure despite a porous, inexperienced secondary. However depth at DT is a must. McCoy is the truth and deserves strong Pro Bowl consideration (best 3-technique in the NFC this season).
  • avatar


    Everyone gets so much more critical when things aren't going right, it's unbearable! If it were up to the fans, we'd be hitting the restart button after every season. I'm hearing people talk about firing Bill Sheridan! Ridiculous! We have young players throughout the secondary and that says something about Dominik's plan going into next season. I expect multiple acquisitions for the secondary this off-season.
  • avatar


    Why in the world would you idiot fans blame a player(s) that are not on the team, nor on the field? Let's stop blaming Raheem Morris, John Gruden, and other for our mistakes! We lost with the players and coaches on the field period. Freeman is the re-incarnation of Byron Leftwich. He is the slowest, stiffest, plodding QB in the league. His decision making ability is equal to a division III QB at best. Our offensive line is trash! Demar Dotson, and Ted Larsen makes Trueblood Look like Anthony Munoz and Paul Gruber. Poor, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson are playing "balls out" for nothing. Our offensive playing is weak and scary, which accounts for Freeman's "Deer in the headlight" or playing like a girl. I wanted to say "beatch" Could, someone please tell me, who was our first round pick, and when was the last game he actually played??? Please, let's stop with the Talib crap. He's playing for the Patriots, and we received a 4th rnd pick in return. The same 4th rnd pick that we wasted on Luke Stocker that gave the Eagles a chance to pick the garbage QB (Foles) that kicked our Ashes. So, please let's not blame our DB's reminder we signed the best hall of fame (future) DB in Eric "toast" Wright. He's returning after four games. Thanks, Mark (Ishiah Thomas) Dominick!
  • avatar


    Penn is not the problem. Two Pro Bowl guards injured, a pedestrian secondary, a mediocre defensive coordinator, a knee-shaking third down call at the end of the game, and young players who haven't shown an ability to digest a new system were the causes for this sickening loss. Our team needs two corner backs, a right tackle (who can play left in the event of injury), and a pass rusher if we are ever going to be competitive.
  • avatar


    Penn hasn't played well at all this season, plain and simple. However I'll say that this could possibly be attributed to the unstable O-line as a unit. And in regards to the third-down call: It doesn't matter what call it was, the coaching staff would have been criticized if they didn't convert the first down. Period. Hind-sight is 20/20. I agree with the needs you listed. Two high picks invested in DBs, RT depth and Quanterus Smith from WKU would be a PERFECT late-round investment (great pass-rusher, needs work in run-game).
  • avatar


    I have to agree with all the analysis and thinking. Now having a night to think about what I saw, I came back to the reality that what I said earlier in the season if we went 6-10 I would be happy because this team is much better coach and all we need is one more free agency and a draft. This was before all the injuries. I still believe this. I know for sure that Coach will get much better on time management and I know that Sullivan will find better plays to call to help Freeman. Josh is good enough to be a middle of the pack QB and at this point this will be good enough. We don't need to draft another QB right now, we still need 2 CB's, 1 FS, 1LB, 1 TE, 1 Center, 1 OL, 1 RB, 1WR. We still have plenty of work to be done.
  • avatar

    I agree with most of this but thought that Gaitor and Biggers had pretty good games overall. Biggers made several big break ups in a row and really looked like he was going to have a huge game. I know everyone is dumping on Freeman and had he kept the ball moving at the end we would have won but he still had a decent game.Bennett and McCoy had great games, but the difference between McCoy and Sapp is that with the game on the line, Sapp would have gotten a third sack at the end of the game that would have clinched it for us. He managed to come through when everything was on the line. McCoy cannot do that yet.
  • avatar

    seat26 how can you say any corner had a good game with a mediocre qb throwing 380 yds and two td's? SMH
  • avatar


    The continued questionable play and inopportune penalties on Dotson and Larsen certainly contributed to this loss. But as is the case with our talent at CB, these guys are street free agents along with the rest of the O-line except 3rd rounder Zutah. I say, sign soon to be free agent Jake Long from Miami and put him at LT and move Penn to RT. The CB's is another issue. Need more than draft choices.
  • avatar


    Scubog, I agree except why move Penn to RT when Penn has clearly been the better LT as of late. That's the only reason the Dolphins wouldn't just re-sign Long. I say move Jake Long to RT, who is probably the leagues best run blocking OT.
  • avatar

    Jake Long move to RT?-smh and lmao
  • avatar


    Penn is having a worse season than Jake Long!! What are you saying?! Penn would be so ineffective at RT, it would be laughable.
  • avatar

    Penn is fine at LT I don't get why people keep trying to move him no offense Scu and Long will never hit the street LT's never do they always get their money
  • avatar


    Long had a very rough season and was supposed to be the one main-stay along that O-line. He won't be back in Miami with the money he's asking for. Miami has tried to sign him, but he's not budging on his demands.
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