Pewter Report editor-in-chief Scott Reynolds:
“Now you can see why I have been lobbying for the Buccaneers to make Frank Murphy the team’s kick returner since 2002. Murphy made the biggest plays of any Buccaneer today with his long kickoff returns. It’s almost a shame that Washington didn’t score more. Murphy was the Bucs’ best weapon in terms of generating good field position. He finished the game with a 31.3 average on four kick returns, including a long of 54, which was brought out to Washington’s 34-yard line. All of Murphy’s returns gave the Bucs great starting field position. His average would have been 45 yards per kick return if his 71-yarder in the second quarter would have been allowed to stand. Rookie safety Will Allen’s holding penalty turned Murphy’s 71-yard jaunt into a 23-yard gain.”

“Replacing Tim Brown with Bill Schroeder on punt returns was a wise move. Schroeder offers more speed, although he did muff a return in the third quarter. Joey Galloway’s loss not only affects the Bucs offense, but it also damages the punt return team. With Mark Jones being claimed off of waivers by the New York Giants, Galloway was supposed to be the return man on punts. By the way, Galloway’s dropped pass in the end zone was inexcusable. He’s getting paid $2.5 million this year to make that catch.”

“Defensive lineman Ellis Wyms sure played inspired football today. He lost out on the opportunity to win a starting job in camp with an ankle injury, but he was a big-time playmaker as a reserve today. We need to see more of Wyms at nose tackle and at under tackle. He seemed like he was the most passionate defensive player today on the field for Tampa Bay.”

“It was exciting to see rookie wide receiver Michael Clayton make his rookie debut. He almost had a fumble, and also dropped a pass, but he showed the makings of being a player who could be a real chain-mover in this offense. With Joey Galloway shelved for a while, and Tim Brown’s lack of foot speed making him strictly a short-yardage, possession receiver, Clayton should be in for a big rookie season with lots of opportunities in the passing game.”

“I was disappointed by Charlie Garner’s debut. Part of the blame needs to go on the shoulders of the offensive line, but I didn’t see the dazzling lateral movements and creativity that I expected to see. Perhaps Garner needs more touches to get into the groove, as he did miss most of the preseason. But I just didn’t see the explosion and the ability to break off long runs today. Hopefully that comes as the season rolls along.”

Pewter Report managing editor Jim Flynn:
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a major problem. They have a dreadful offense and their defense, which prides itself on stopping the run, allowed Washington to rush for 166 yards on 40 carries (4.2 avg.) on Sunday. That combination will not get the Bucs far this season. They’re already 0-1 and will host the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks next Sunday in what is already a must-win contest for the Pewter Pirates. The bad news is the Seahawks have a lethal weapon in tailback Shaun Alexander and their offense is much more explosive than Washington’s. The Bucs better get their act together in a hurry. Otherwise, their 2004 season will be over shortly after it got started.”

“You should’ve known Tampa Bay was going to lose this contest when Washington tailback Clinton Portis carried the ball for the 24th time on Sunday. Why? Going back to 2000, the Bucs are now 0-16 when the opposing feature back carries the ball 24 or more times against them. Portis carried the ball 29 times for 148 yards (5.1 avg.) on Sunday, and don’t be surprised if Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander gets at least that many touches via the ground game against the Bucs in Week 2.”

“If I’m Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, I’m going to find a way to get backup defensive tackle Ellis Wyms on the field more next week. Wyms exploded onto the scene Sunday by rocking Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell several times and giving the Bucs defensive line some much-needed push at the point of attack. Unless the Bucs can sustain a consistent pass rush against the Seahawks, they’re staring at an 0-2 start to the 2004 regular season. Wyms showed that he can help deliver one while the rest of Tampa Bay’s starting defensive line got pushed around in the trenches.”

“Tampa Bay’s offense simply didn’t look prepared for what Washington defensive coordinator Greg Williams threw its way. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden slowed the blitz attack down a bit in the second half by calling some play-action passes, but the lack of a potent ground attack and quarterback Brad Johnson’s inability to recognize blitzes before the snap, handcuffed Gruden’s offense. Johnson completed 24-of-37 (64.8 percent) passes for 169 yards and threw one interception. That’s a very misleading, but telling stat. Sure, the Bucs lost speedster Joey Galloway to a serious groin injury in the first quarter, but Johnson needs to take more chances downfield, especially when he’s blitzed by safeties, cornerbacks and linebackers the way he was by the ‘Skins on Sunday. These conservative, short passes just aren’t going to get it done.”

“If you’re wondering why the Bucs lost to the Redskins Sunday, these stats should help you find some answers: the Bucs completed 3-of-13 (23 percent) third down attempts, they didn’t convert a third down into a first down until midway through the second quarter, they had two turnovers, allowed 166 rushing yards, allowed four sacks and failed to record a quarterback takedown of their own. After digesting those stats, one has to wonder how the Bucs actually had a chance to win this game in the fourth quarter.”

Pewter Report senior writer Leo Haggerty:
“It takes just one word – horrific – to talk about the Bucs’ offensive performance against Washington. The Buccaneers threw up a goose egg when it comes to first downs in the first quarter and had just two for the first half. Tampa Bay ended up with a paltry 169 yards of total offense and only 30 yards on the ground. The big statistics was on the scoreboard. The defense put up seven points on a fumble return by cornerback Ronde Barber and a 54-yard kickoff return by Frank Murphy set up the Bucs’ lone field goal. The Tampa Bay offense was non-existent and looked confused as well as overmatched in the trenches all afternoon. Also, head coach Jon Gruden was totally outcoached by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and for whatever reason, never had an answer for the myriad of blitzes employed by the ‘Skins.”

“The Tampa Bay defense kept the team in the game especially for the first 30 minutes even though they gave up a 64-yard run by Clinton Portis on his first carry of the tilt. The Redskins could have easily put 20 points on the board in the first half alone. The big change was the insertion of defensive lineman Ellis Wyms into the game near the end of the opening period. Wyms didn’t get a sack, but he did send a message when he leveled Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell midway through the second quarter. That hit was huge because, to that point of the football game, the Washington quarterback had seen no pressure from the charges of defensive. ‘

“Skins kicker John Hall missed a 50 yarder and the Buccaneers forced the Capital Gang to settle for three points instead of seven twice after the offense turned it over. The Bucs defense had nothing left on the last Washington drive. They spent the entire game trying to keep the ‘Skins out of the end zone for 55 minutes and just had no gas left in the tank when they needed a stop at the end of the game.”

“The new veterans that the Buccaneers acquired during the offseason definitely showed their age. The offensive line trio of Derrick Deese and Todd Steussie along with Matt Stinchcomb were flat-out abused by the defensive line of the Redskins. Running back Charlie Garner was a shadow of his former self and wide receiver Joey Galloway dropped two balls with one being a sure touchdown before having to shut it down with what was reported as a groin injury. Wideout Tim Brown has lost at least a step and has become a possession receiver at best. Maybe the teams that let these guys go knew a little more than general manager Bruce Allen as to whether there was any athletic tread left on their tires. I know it’s only the first game but it’s time to push the panic button, especially with the offensive line. Changes need to be made and need to be made now before it’s too late.”

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