The Buccaneers fell back down to earth on Sunday after last week’s impressive win against the Rams, losing to the Saints in a battle for first place in the NFC South. The Buccaneers offense failed to get into any type of rhythm and the secondary continued to play porous coverage allowing the Saints to throw for over 300 yards.

Here is our weekly list of the most disappointing players from Sunday’s loss.

CB Vernon Hargreaves
It was a forgettable day for cornerback Vernon Hargreaves who seemed to always be a step behind all afternoon. Early in the second quarter Hargreaves gave up back-to-back receptions to Saints receiver Michael Thomas. On the first one Hargreaves inexplicably went flat to the sidelines instead of continuing his depth and was unable to break up the pass. The second completion Hargreaves gave way too much cushion, then to cap off the drive Hargreaves appeared to be in no-man’s land near the goal line, surrendering the touchdown with poor coverage and technique.

Hargreaves has regressed since the start of the year and despite the coaches blaming the issues on communication, the former Gator may be better suited to play inside once Jamel Deal returns to game action, hopefully next week in London.

CB Carlton Davis
Davis struggled against Michael Thomas in the season opener last year and started this game in much the same fashion giving up a 34-yard reception in the first quarter to Thomas. Later in the half, Davis was flagged for an illegal hit and ejected from the game, leaving the Bucs without their best cover corner, putting stress on an already fragile defensive secondary. It is debatable if Davis should have been ejected but Davis being ejected for the hit left his teammates in a bind.

OLB Shaq Barrett
One tackle and one assist was the stat line for the NFL’s leading sacker on Sunday versus the Saints. While you can’t expect multiple sacks every game, Barrett failed to register a quarterback pressure and was part of a pass rush that allowed backup rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to throw for 314 yards and four scores.

WR Mike Evans
Evans had went 67 straight games with at least one reception but the streak ended on Sunday in New Orleans. Evans did drop a third down catch that would have been good for a first down on the Bucs first drive but was never a factor after that.

The Saints did a good job of doubling Evans which opened the door for Chris Godwin’s 125 yard afternoon, but as the team’s No. 1 receiver and highest paid player, going without a catch the entire game is inexcusable. Whether the blame falls on the coaching staff, quarterback Jameis Winston or Evans himself, you must have some production from  your captain.

RT Demar Dotson
Dotson came into the game nursing a sore calf and as the game wore on, he started falling apart. With the Bucs down 14 points in the fourth quarter and Tampa Bay needing a quick score to get back in the game, Dotson was run over by Marcus Davenport who sacked Winston for a nine-yard loss. Two plays later Dotson was beat again, but Winston was able to escape, however his third down pass was incomplete and the Bucs had to punt. Dotson also failed to cut block or even engage a Saints defensive end on a second half pass inside the 10-yard line that was nearly picked off.

All in all it was a poor performance from not just Dotson, but the Bucs entire offensive line, as Winston was sacked six times on the afternoon and was hurried and hit way too often.

Defensive Coaching
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers defensive coaching staff were clearly outreached by Sean Payton and his offensive staff. There is no other way to put it. While the defense did a decent jobs against the run, the secondary game plan was a mess with numerous breakdowns and Saints receivers running wide open.

Bowles did send pressure on a number of blitzes, but many were way too slow in developing or the Bucs blitzes were just stonewalled. The price you pay when you don’t get home on a blitz is opposing receivers finding themselves in easy one-on-one matchups with your secondary.

Bowles defense gave up 457 yards on the afternoon and that was with Drew Brees on the sidelines in street clothes.

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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 [email protected]

41 COMMENTS

  1. VH3 is soft, showed in his comments after the game.

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    • Dotson is just not good or consistent enough. Smith is a strong side tackle, and if we could find a true backside guy I think our O Line is there, or close. Cappa is young and the verdict is still out. Jensen is playing much better and Marpet is a guy. Bottom line – we didn’t lose because of offense. Jameis QBR was over 100 for the 4th straight game, and yes, we had trouble getting open, but we scored. We need White’s speed in there for intermediate route coverage, and without Davis we are not competent in the Defensive Backfield. For what it’s worth, I don’t think he should have been ejected. Eyes/Facemask were up, didn’t lead with the crown of the helmet. All in all, Arians is going to need a year to turn this around, but we are getting closer. Looked like and 8-8 team yesterday. Last year we lose that game by 21. And, as an aside, Bridgewater isn’t a rookie!

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  2. That giants lose hurts more and more

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  3. I agree with all of these. I’m especially glad you finally suggested Hargreaves be moved inside which is what I said after every game this season.

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  4. offensive line, secondary, and coaching was all poor today..we can also throw in the refs..”no clear recovery of the football” my ass.

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  5. How did Winston not make the list with a QBR of 16.6 and 15/27 56%? He was playing like he was stoned the whole game with very slow decision making, it was like riding in car with my 76 year old father hoping that at some point he will react to what’s in front of us. Thankfully we didn’t 3 pick or more.

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    • LOL! I laughed so hard reading this! 🙂

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    • oh yea it was all Jameis’s fault that he had NO time to throw the ball, was harassed on damn near every play, and was having to run for his life! I forgot that Jameis is the only player in the NFL that plays all 5 O line positions and QB all at the same time. Shame on Jameis for not giving himself enough time to throw touchdowns every down! WTF is wrong with some people? Do they not have eyes and did they not see the shit show that the O line put on out there?

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  6. Did Devin White play? I kept listening for his name to be called. I don’t think I heard it. He wasn’t de-activated, was he just not sent in?

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    • He played only a handful of snaps. Very disappointing to me. We needed more big plays today and Devin White has big play abilities. I’m not buying BA’s injury reasons for being so conservative with Devin White. I think BA is doing his mental gymnastics that he likes to do with some players and I think that bit us in the ass today. Barrett has been our big play guy but he had an off day and the Saints o-line (for whatever reason as some fans are saying they saw a lot of holding penalties that were not called) was picking up all our exotic blitzes today. I think we coulda used Devin White’s speed out there today.

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  7. Don’t understand why Barrett is on this list.Are we spoiled now?Teams will prepare for him I mean this is the NFL.The great DE Mack was shut out also.Our O-line is not that great but the secondary will prevent us from making the playoffs.But Dean can be the savior if we can get him back on the field.

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  8. Dotson looks finished. Too bad we have no Tackle depth. Hopefully the young guys in the secondary learn and build from today. They were terrible.

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  9. You should add Jason Licht to the list. Drafting all these players in the secondary and only a couple of them contribute is absolutely pathetic!! This secondary is sooo bad!!

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    • Bucco, Jason drafted these guys but I’m sure bowles and BA had a biiig hand in on who to draft.

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    • Agreed – Licht has had 5 full years of FA and the draft to fix our secondary and OLIne. Both were torched today (again) by less than top-tier opposition.

      Instead of fixing these problems he elected to use our 1st round picks to draft a nose tackle, when we already had a competent one, a TE when we already had a competent one; and use a second round pick on a kicker. He is the king of the luxury pick, burying his head in the sand to our problems.

      And to those who say, but our secondary is so young, that’s why they look so bad, I say:
      1) our top CB is well past the average NFL age now.
      2) being young doesn’t seem to be an impediment for the QBs torching them (see Daniel Jones, Jarrod Goff, and heck even TB and Garapolo aren’t much older)
      3) being young might be an excuse for being out of position, but it’s not an excuse for getting beat manno-a-manno like, for example, Bunting getting abused on that last TD with his attempted (I use the term lightly) tackle.

      Now I see some potential in Edwards and Whitehead (and even saw some in J Evans), and sure maybe the light switch can go on for the rookies still, but there surely can be no further denying that this is a concern!

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  10. Agree with the selection.

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  11. I dont think the mike Edward’s should have missed the cut after sidestepping the tight end who scored on jordan Whitehead. Nobody mentioned it and it was like he made a business decision not to hit the guy at the goal line.

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  12. The Davis hit/ejection is more egregious when you include that it came with the Saints backed up on a 1st-and-20 deep in their territory and led directly to the go-ahead score that we never came back from. It was also dumb as all hell coming a week after both the Burfict hit (which it looked very similar to) and the Donovan Smith hit that many fans thought he should’ve been suspended for. Carlton should’ve known better, b period.

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  13. VH3 needs to be gone. He’s a bust.

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  14. Putting Shaq on here is crazy, he won’t get sacks every game. Especially when he’s the ONLY ONE generating pressure. This failed secondary is to blame and that awful GM who put them together. Fixed my ass, more chemistry my ass. These guys canNOT cover WRs. The safeties are fine but those 4 2nd round picks and 1 1st round pick are playing like absolute garbage. Our CBs are the reason we have the #1 ranked run defense not some deadly front that can’t be run on, it’s an awful secondary that invites passes with small and slow CBs. 1 up and 1 down. New coaches br same ole Bucs

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    • I don’t think it’s THAT crazy to put Shaq Barrett on this list today. He clearly missed a tackle on a 4th and 2 run play today that would’ve turned the ball over on downs…. and after missing the tackle, Kamara picked up the first down. A lot of fans are overlooking that his tackling and run support has been good too in the first four games of the season. But today, he was nonexistent in the pass game AND the run game.

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      • Talk about spoiled. Shaq didn’t have 99 sacks today he played shitty, he didn’t tackle everyone all the time. Come on you had to know that the NFL would find a way to take him out of the game plan. Now it is on him to figure out how to make an impact again and i bet we see it Vs the lame ass Panthers.

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        • Where do I say “Shaq didn’t have 99 sacks today he played shitty”?? You must be reading a certain tone in my words cuz I am not thinking like that whatsoever. Putting Shaq on this article’s list has nothing to do with being spoiled as his stats yesterday are clearly a disappointment and his missed tackle on that play certainly was a disappointment too. Not saying anything other than that. Glad he’s on our team and hope he bounces back with a better game next Sunday. GO BUCS!

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        • I just remembered too…. it’s the Bucs who are referencing the Janet Jackson song “What have you done for me lately”? They have the right mindset.

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  15. He’s not worth the 9 mill. To slow, to short, maybe try him in the slot, but he can’t cover the big fast receivers that are in the league on the outside.

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  16. Dotson has seen better days.

    Bucs need to develop Dean and R. Smith for the rest of the season IMO.

    I would not put Shaq on the disappointing list iMO.

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  17. You could put Byron Leftwich on that list too.
    With the Bucs o line having problems I never saw any slants or short passes over the middle at all except the one to Mike Evans in the first quarter which he dropped.
    Once again it looked like some of the players were still celebrating last weeks win and reading their press clippings, especially the oline.
    VH III (Softy) as he will now be known as, is playing himself right out of a contract with this team and just about everyone else’s.
    No one that I know of wants a second helping of burnt toast.

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  18. Add Bruce Arians on this list for me please.

    I think he’s being too conservative with Devin White and holding him off field as often as the coaching staff did in this game lends to BA’s mental gymnastics that he employs on players. Regardless of his goals, Devin White has much more big-play ability than Kevin Minter does. We coulda used a few more big plays from the defense today. They struggled to generate pressure, and while complaining about the secondary is the low hanging fruit everybody will focus on, I think BA and the staff missed an opportunity today to coach our #5 pick up to help out a defense that has been mainly reliant on Shaq Barrett for the first four games. C’mon BA. Take the leash off Devin White please.

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  19. You cant blame Bowles for the lack of talent in the secondary.

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    • But you can blame him for having them in man to man 90% of the time. They are not built for that.

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  20. Teddy is a backup rookie? Huh?

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  21. Everyone, just take a moment to realize that SR wrote a article saying we SHOULDNT trade for Jalen Ramsey to pay players like Hargreaves and Nassib. Good call Scott! Hargreaves is showing it’s not about scheme, it’s about him being tiny, not having elite speed, and so he doesn’t have the confidence matching up with big time WRs in this league.

    The fact that you could write an article saying don’t trade for Jalen Ramsey is idiotic after watching our secondary this season. He is exactly what the doctor ordered right now

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  22. Time to accept that Hargraves simply can’t cover.

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  23. A lot of disappointment to go around. Mostly because many folks had the idea that without Drew Brees the Saints would be less imposing. Maybe our players thought that too. This is still the team that should have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl. Teddy Bridgewater is still a first round draft choice fellas. The Saints are still good. It’s not a game many thought would be a Bucs victory at the start of the season. Bucs played perhaps the worst game of this season, against probably the best team we will face and in spite of that only lost by one score and didn’t give up.

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  24. Well VH111 regressing isn’t good since has most experience. Ugh that game really sucked. Agree with the list. Also agree with Dr. d after was painfully clear the o line could not pass protect period why didn’t Leftwhich have him throw more short passes and screens? Wasn’t like we were behind 21. Most of game was close except 3rd qtr. seems like Koetter always did same thing we would be playing a team and Winston would be running for his life and still lots 5 and 7 step drops….

    Oh well is what it is on to next week. Our “home” game in London. What a bull shit schedule they gave Bucs. It’s unbelievable really.

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  25. Just a few comments. Sure is more fun to write about a Win. I am not an excuse guy, this is just a game and some days you get the bear while some days there bear gets you. Now that I got that BS off my chest I defiantly thought the Michael Thomas play was “Pushing off,” but of course when you persist to put short CB’s one on one against huge NFC South Receivers what do you expect. I think we have had this conversation before. Is it just me or does Winston look lost on some pays. Conservative is good but instead of taking huge losses just throw the ball away. Of course at times he was on his back before he even got the ball. When ya only got one good pass rusher eventually teams are going to neutralize him. If ya got two good receivers you can neutralize one, and I still haven’t seen anything out of Howard. Where’s Tanner Hudson when you need him? We sort of lucked our way in the end by closing within 7 points, but definitely one of our ugliest uglies.

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  26. I am not going to blame the defensive coaches. How many quality picks have we spent on CB’s? At least 5. And how many good CB’s do we have? ZERO. That failure belongs to the General Manager. If you draft 5 CB’s you should at least hit on two. I have said it before, and I will say it again here, the Bucs are historically bad at evaluating talent. We were that bad before Lite (Licht) and he has not corrected the problem.

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  27. Dotson is just not good or consistent enough. Smith is a strong side tackle, and if we could find a true backside guy I think our O Line is there, or close. Cappa is young and the verdict is still out. Jensen is playing much better and Marpet is a guy. Bottom line – we didn’t lose because of offense. Jameis QBR was over 100 for the 4th straight game, and yes, we had trouble getting open, but we scored. We need White’s speed in there for intermediate route coverage, and without Davis we are not competent in the Defensive Backfield. For what it’s worth, I don’t think he should have been ejected. Eyes/Facemask were up, didn’t lead with the crown of the helmet. All in all, Arians is going to need a year to turn this around, but we are getting closer. Looked like and 8-8 team yesterday. Last year we lose that game by 21. And, as an aside, Bridgewater isn’t a rookie!

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  28. I thought this was the game they would play smash-mouth and run Barber & Ro-Jo all day down the field with some mixed passes to them in flats. The Bucs were on the road, in a hostile environment, after a Saints win last week, they needed to keep the Saints Offense limited and out of rhythm. I was most disappointed that the play-calling was so pass heavy. Sometimes a balanced team has to rely on one of their strengths more than the other and knowing which one at which time is the difference (O-Coordinator). I just think with Ro-Jo they are a better running team than most imagine and they tried too hard and force the air assault this time. A little more patience with the running game fellas, it protects your linemen as well as the QB from injury. You got this.

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  29. Cut it Out and Knock it off Buc fans. Bottom line? We were soundly beat by a better team on Sunday in all aspects of the game. Outplayed and outcoached. Saints playing 2 QB’s was a stoke of genius. I told you guys long ago good teams have answers for blitzes. And you witnessed it on Sunday. The saints have a great defensive front 4. Jameis was on his back considerably and I’m sure he made use of both heat and cold therapies after the game. Now..we still can finish 8-8 but we gotta go into the bye at 3-3. This next game is critical. Onward to England baby!!

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  30. Maybe if Hargreaves and Howard weren’t out clubbing Friday night late they both wouldn’t have sucked on Sunday. Howard did have a nice catch at the Rays game tonight. You would have thought Raheem is coaching again. Out late before a travel game can’t be good. Save that shit for the off season. The 16 games during the season is work time and you have a chance to make a lifetime of money. Someone needs to get of hold of those young men before they piss there careers away. You would have thought Arians would have this losing mentality under control. Kinda explains the lack of performance for such high draft picks.

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