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Publisher Scott Reynolds
“My candidate for the ‘Failed to Show Up Today Award’ goes to linebacker Cato June. June played like he was sleepwalking out there. He missed tackling running back LaBrandon Toefield in the backfield on fourth-and-1 on Jacksonville’s first touchdown drive. Then he gave up a 30-yard pass to tight end Greg Estandia on the Jaguars’ field goal drive in the second quarter. June finished the game with five tackles, but did not have the afternoon that you would expect from a Pro Bowl-caliber player. June is known for creating turnovers and with Tampa Bay not recording a takeaway in its last two losses, it could have used one today from him.”

“Davin Joseph has been disappointing in pass protection this year. He is not living up to his first-round draft status. He allowed too much pressure up the middle against Jacksonville’s defense as defensive lineman Rob Meier had 1.5 sacks and John Henderson had half a sack and a key hit on Jeff Garcia that forced an errant throw that was picked off on the Jaguars’ 40-yard line. Joseph is generally an effective player in the run game, but he has a long way to go in the passing game to being the elite guard Tampa Bay thought he could become when it spent a first-rounder on him in 2006. He is Pewter Report’s Most Disappointing Player on Offense in its Midseason Awards issue, not because Joseph is playing poorly, but instead because he is not living up to his potential.”

“The reason why Joey Galloway was able to get open deep against Jacksonville when Detroit and Indianapolis have covered up him in recent weeks? The Jaguars played a lot of man coverage and Cover 3 zone whereas Tampa Bay’s recent opponents have been playing a healthy dose of Cover 2 zone, which calls for both safeties to drop back into the deep halves of the field. Jacksonville’s steady diet of man coverage allowed Galloway to get deep for a 52-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.”

“Several Bucs fans were surprised when Tampa Bay released veteran fullback Zack Crockett after just two weeks. But today they saw the reason why as reserve rookie fullback Byron Storer recorded two special teams tackles. The 34-year old Crockett didn’t offer much in the way of special teams help, and sometimes roster moves aren’t made with regards to offense or defense – especially with the last 10 players on the roster ranked from number 43 to 53.”

“I wasn’t keeping track of how many dropped passes Tampa Bay had against Jacksonville, but the guess here is close to eight. Sure, quarterback Jeff Garcia missed his share of throws throughout the game and only completed 46.3 percent of his passes (19-of-41), but his receivers and running backs really let him down today. Add another eight potential completions and Garcia completes 27-of-41 passes (65.8 percent) and chances are the Buccaneers pull this one out.”

“While this loss undoubtedly stings because it was a second-straight defeat and a loss at home to boot, the Buccaneers are still in good shape with a 4-4 record. The reason? Two of their four losses have come to AFC teams (Indianapolis and Jacksonville) and that shouldn’t hurt them when it comes to potential playoff tiebreakers. Tampa Bay remains 2-0 in the division and as long as they remain perfect in the NFC South, a playoff berth and a divisional championship are a given. The guess here is that Tampa Bay still has a chance to finish at least 8-8 or even 9-7 or better with winnable games coming up against Arizona, Atlanta (twice), San Francisco, Houston and Carolina, which is the season finale` at home.”

Editor-In-Chief Jim Flynn
“How did Tampa Bay manage to lose to Jacksonville, 24-23, despite out-gaining the Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium, 385-219? The answer is simple — turnovers. After breaking the franchise record for most consecutive passes thrown without an interception, Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia threw three costly picks vs. the Jaguars, including one returned 28 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Aaron Glenn, who started in place of injured CB Brian Williams. Those three turnovers combined with the fact that the Bucs defense failed to create a turnover for the second straight week proved to be the perfect recipe for Tampa Bay’s second straight loss of the season. It’s another costly one as the Bucs fell to 4-4 on the season.”

“Bucs punter Josh Bidwell deserves a game ball for his performance vs. the Jaguars. He averaged 44.5 yards per punt and had a game-high of 58 yards. But Bidwell’s most impressive feat was pinning three of his six attempts on the day inside Jacksonville’s 10-yard line. Bidwell helped the Bucs win the battle of starting field position in the second half after the Jaguars dominated this category throughout the first half.”

“Can someone explain to me why the Bucs promoted wide receiver Chad Lucas from their practice squad to their active roster this week? I realize the rash of injuries suffered by the team at the wide receiver position and Lucas’ familiarity with Tampa Bay’s offensive system were two of the main reasons behind this move, but Lucas just isn’t a good player. He did not impress in training camp or preseason, yet the Bucs decided to have Lucas return kickoffs in place of injured cornerback Torrie Cox Sunday. Lucas averaged just 17.5 yards per kickoff return on two attempts. His longest return was an 18-yarder. That production is just unacceptable. I would expect the Bucs to release Lucas this week and re-sign him to their practice squad. If that doesn’t happen, I certainly wouldn’t expect to see Lucas returning kickoffs or playing wide receiver for the Bucs against the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.”

“One could make a strong case for the Bucs being 6-2 at the midway point in the 2007 season. Instead, they’re 4-4. Not great, but not the end of the world, either. By losing to the Jaguars on Sunday, the Bucs failed to capitalize on Carolina’s 31-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, which leaves the 4-3 Panthers in first place in the NFC South division. Don’t look now, but the New Orleans Saints, who started the season 0-4, have won three straight games, including an impressive 31-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, to improve to 3-4 on the season. Needless to say, Tampa Bay’s upcoming home game vs. Arizona is huge. The Bucs can’t afford to go into their bye week having lost three straight games, especially when the 3-4 Cardinals are a beatable team on the road, where they’ve compiled a 1-3 record this season. Arizona is coming off of a bye week, and the banged up Bucs desperately need one. But first the Bucs need to find a way to improve to 5-4 going into their bye week.”

Contributing Writer Charles Gonzalez

"Quarterback Jeff Garcia's streak had to come to an end at some point, but the way it came to an end was a big blow to the Bucs' chances of beating Jacksonville. After 197 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, Garcia's first one on Sunday not only lost possession for the offense, it also was taken back for a touchdown by cornerback Aaron Glenn. Garcia talked after the game about calling an audible on that play for a quick out and that Glenn, being the veteran corner that he is, just jumped the route for the interception. I can buy that explanation, but his second interception of the game was unacceptable. Garcia's good decision-making with the football wasn't on display when he threw an ill-advised pass as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson was bearing down on him, which was interceptied by safety Sammy Knight. Garcia's third interception wasn't necessarily his fault, but it goes into the stat sheet as well. Even though the Jaguars weren't able to capitalize on the turnover, it's a bad decision that Garcia has stayed away from so far this season. That's the reason why the Bucs still have playoff hopes with all the injuries on the offensive side of the ball. But with the Bucs season hanging in the balance at 4-4, Garcia can't afford to make too many more bad mistakes in the second half of the season or those bright playoff hopes will fade into the distance."

"The balance of momentum was hanging in the air midway through the third quarter with the Jaguars leading 17-13, and the Bucs defense trying to swing it to Tampa Bay's side. It was cornerback Ronde Barber who stepped up to make a big play for the defense. On a fourth-and-1 play in the third quarter, Barber raced down the line of scrimmage from the opposite side to take down running back Maurice Jones-Drew and stop him from getting the first down. The Bucs offense thwarted the momentum with a three-and-out, but that is the kind of play that hasn't been seen out of this defense for many weeks. This defense has not been able to get off the field on third downs, is losing the turnover battle and is giving up way too many long, time-consuming drives like the 93-yard drive vs. the Lions last week. Barber not only leads by example, but is a vocal leader on this team that expects more out of himself and this defense. He will not stand for mediocre play and will be the first player to stand up and challenge this defense. Even though this play went for not in a 24-23 loss to the Jaguars, this was a play that some of the younger players – Gaines Adams, Tanard Jackson, Greg White and Phillip Buchanon – need to look at and emulate for this defense to reach the standard that defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and head coach Jon Gruden expect. At 4-4, it's time for the defense to start making some plays and force opposing teams to make mistakes."

"Head coach Jon Gruden has had his "offensive genius" label that was given to him with his history in Philadelphia and Oakland challenged in the last couple of seasons. Bucs fans have wondered where that great playcalling and finding the mismatches that brought a Super Bowl championship in 2002 had gone. Gruden's creative play selection was on display on Sunday with speedy running back Michael Bennett's addition to the offense. In the third quarter, Gruden split Bennett out in the slot and threw a lateral to get him into open space and let his speed take over. Bennett did just that and raced for a 19-yard touchdown that seemed to put the momentum on the Bucs' side for good. Gruden is still a great playcaller and one of the most creative offensive minds in the NFL, but he needs weapons to do his work. With the injuries to skill players such as Cadillac Williams, Michael Clayton and Michael Pittman, Gruden has had to scale back the creativity. Hopefully with the addition of the speedy Bennett, Gruden will be able to reproduce some of his creative juices that have been seen in the past."

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