The Bucs fell to the Saints in the season opener by a score of 34-23. Both sides of the ball had their issues at times, and below is my list of players who underwhelmed and contributed to the loss.

T Donovan Smith

Smith has been known for lapses of play where he does not look like a starting-caliber left tackle, sometimes in an alarming fashion. On Sunday we saw the pattern once again, with a series in the second quarter that saw Smith get blown up on a running play that cost the team three yards then followed it up by giving up a sack on the very next snap. In the third quarter Smith had a false start penalty, and in the fourth quarter Smith gave up another sack where quarterback Tom Brady was stripped of the ball but fortunately was able to recover. Smith must play better or Brady might not last 16 games.

S Jordan Whitehead

The Buccaneers defense had a chance to get off the field a number of times, only to give up first downs or to commit ill-timed penalties. On a third-down pass in the first half, safety Jordan Whitehead grabbed Jared Cook’s jersey and got flagged for pass interference, giving the Saints offense new life and continuing a drive that led to a score. Whitehead struggled in coverage at times as well and had few positive impact plays on the day other than one tackle-for-loss.

DT Vita Vea

The Saints made a decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the second quarter and fooled Vita Vea into jumping into the neutral zone and making contact with the Saints’ center on a hard count by Drew Brees. Making it even more egregious was the fact Vea was literally lined up directly over the ball, yet still broke a cardinal rule that is taught in Pop Warner football – don’t jump early on fourth down. Vea was also virtually non-existent on the stat sheet as well, notching just one assisted tackle.

CB Jamel Dean

Dean had a turning point play in the game when he inexplicably allowed Saints tight end Jared Cook get behind him on a second down pass play that went for 46 yards. The Saints would go on to score on the drive and was never really threatened by Tampa Bay after that. In the first half Dean also had an opportunity for another turning point, but couldn’t pull down a Drew Brees pass for an interception. Following the game, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, pointed out Dean’s missed opportunity for a turnover. Dean ended the afternoon with four tackles.

QB Tom Brady

I went back and forth on adding Brady to the list as his final numbers weren’t bad and some off his best throws turned into defensive pass interference calls. And while they won’t show up on the stat sheet as passing yards, they still were on target and helped the Bucs offense.

However, after listening to Brady himself in his postgame press conference mention several times about his two poor throws that went for interceptions, including one that went for six points, he is on this week’s list. On the afternoon Brady was 23-of-36 for 239 yards, with two touchdowns and the aforementioned costly turnovers. Brady is the least of my concerns moving forward, but one big reason he is in Tampa Bay was to cut the QB turnover numbers at least in half.

S Mike Edwards

Self-inflicted wounds haunted the Bucs in 2019, and through one game in 2020, it doesn’t appear much has changed. One of the oddest – and most costly – errors on the day was committed by Mike Edwards, who was on the kickoff return unit and attempted to field a pooched kickoff, only to collide with Jaydon Mickens. The Saints ended up recovering the kick and later scored off the miscue.

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 mark@pewterreport.com
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Dman

Agree with the list, but JPP and Barrett were non-factors other than the botched protection on the blitz where JPP ran free to sack Brees.

And why the waffling on Brady being on the list. He was terrible. If that was #3 he would have been tops on the list.

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BigSombrero

Damien Woody said this: Yeah, it’s Tom Brady but you gotta realize it’s Tom Brady with the Bucs.

Ouch.

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scubog

How’d those Colts do?

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Dave

Lost to a potential 1-15 team lol. And outside of a 36 yard catch, on his 1st touch, that caught the Jags completely off guard, how’d Taylor do? 9-22(2.4 ypc) and 5 catches for 31 yards(6.2 ypr) OROY right there lol

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Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
PatrioticChief

This is a good list. Brady deserves to be there. It sucks but it’s true. Vea and Whitehead both had good games that were dispelled by their terrible penalties. Dean has one massive mistake but was good the rest of the game. The positive news is that four of the guys on this wouldn’t be there except for essentially one or two plays. Mike and Smith were consistent problems and did next to nothing to offset the active detriment they were for the team. I remain very optimistic for the season but the Bucs have a ways to go before… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by PatrioticChief
drdneast

So many mental mistakes it’s either the coaching or are players are just stupid. Quitting on routes, taking mental naps. jumping off sides. Bet Brady hasn’t seen so many mental mistakes on one day in 20 years.

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PatrioticChief

Or committed so many himself. It was sloppy everywhere. Bucs got their work cut out for them.

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fredster

I see your not defending Smith today? Lol. Few weeks ago you were.

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stlbucsfan

Tom played like Jameis today and didn’t give us a chance to win. Let’s be honest, the pick 6 ended this game and that was nothing but an awful throw. I’m not disappointed in Donovan, he is what his seasons of tape have shown him to be. Inconsistent, unreliable and overpaid. Maybe he would be a decent RT but he’s not a good LT. The defense had a few lapses but played well and will improve. I heard a lot about the 2 TE sets in camp and didn’t see much of it today, at least not effectively used. Ball… Read more »

Horse

Did Suh play in the game?

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scubog

Barely. His big contribution was flinching on the 4th down play causing Vita to jump offside.

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bucballer

It’s only the first game. The Saints r a veteran team and that nucleus has been together for quite some time. Was surprised that defensive front line didn’t get more of a pass rush on Brees. Didn’t hear Vea, Suh, maybe JPP once on the sack but was expecting a fierce pass rush that would force Brees into a couple of bad throws. Didn’t happen. Was always taught that a coach can understand a physical mistake but mental mistakes r the killers. I think Brady will be fine. First game jitters over with. Timing will improve. Notice wherever Evans went… Read more »

awwdembucs

bucballer i agree 100%. Clean up the mental errors. As far as Smith is concerned he is not giving 100% IMO.one sack the Saints linemen could have planted Brady but he didn’t, the reason respect !! So if the other respects him Smith should also.

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KrusherKen

Suh could have had a couple impact plays to help the cause. Shaq had a nice pass breakup but didn’t seem to get in the backfield too much but some of that could have been the quick throws by Brees

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PatrioticChief

Saints just have two really good tackles. They didn’t do anything against those guys last game too.

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Kimba

Well it was ugly but it was our first game with so many new players without preseason games. The saints are the hardest team we will face all year and we got it first before we were able to gel. Impressed with CG14 and Scotty Miller. Bet we rebound.

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plopes808

Not sure about Brady on this list. While he didn’t light up the stats like Jameis used to, he managed the game very well for the most part. One pick was on Evans for sure, the out route to Watson looked to be on Brady though. His ball placement was spot on most of the night though, and he dropped several dimes, a few that drew PIs that added up to big yards.

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seat26

With the exception of the kicker and Punter special teams looked pretty rough too.I expected this game to be hard. Saints are a for sure play-off team. We will look better against the Panthers.

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thegeebo

Bench Whitehead, send Mike Edwards to Australia, and let Andrew Adams play next to our stud rookie Winfield. Edwards and Whitehead, more genius Licht picks…

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plopes808

silver lining was Winfield looked pretty damn good

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Hockey Duckie

You left out RG Cappa. On that blocked FG attempt, Cappa didn’t move except to fall to the wayside while Wirfs had to take on three defenders. Cappa was the culprit there.

Also, Cappa blew his block on a Rojo sweep where it looked like he had a convoy of blockers ahead of him.

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BigSombrero

I would say the kicks low trajectory was a bigger issue, but hey, potato, potatoe.

Maybe it’s this: The low trajectory in combination with poor blocking on top of the coaching decision to even attempt a 54 yarder with a new kicker signed a week ago in a knee jerk roster move may sum it up.

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WVBucFan

Vita??? yeah he had the jump, but to say that he was a disappointment is like you didn’t watch the game. He jammed the Middle of their line, ate two blockers every play, You can’t have David and White on the most Impressive and think its not because Vita isn’t keeping the center and the guards from getting to them on the second level…..

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plopes808

Truth, Vita and Suh are a big reason we shut down Kamara

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Lawdy

like sapp said, he’s gotta get some sacks man. sapp did all that and still got pressure. Get some damn sacks!

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stlbucsfan

A DT that can stop the run AND rush the passer? Nahhhh

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Lamb Chop

I don’t agree with Brady so much being on this list. He’s learning on the job a new offense, playing with new teammates, and a new play caller. Also, the first INT was Brady and Mike not being on the same page, which means Mike wasn’t where he should have been according to what Brady had expected due to practices. But, Brady is taking all the offensive blame as a leader here and not throwing anyone under the bus publicly. They’ll sort that out this week. This team is not coached with discipline. Most of the mistakes made in the… Read more »

Lamb Chop

Just listened to BA’s presser and he said Mike read the defense right on that first INT. That’s baffling. I believe that was an option route and they weren’t on the same page. The 2nd INT is the bigger issue. We have been killed on pick6’s on out routes. Jenkins and Lattimore expected that opportunity would come.

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compewterpirate

I think the list is a fair one. Although, with 5 carries for 5 yards, you could have added Fournette to the list. Admittedly, most of the above errors were mental errors, e.g. the Vea offsides gaffe, Dean switching off on the busted coverage, Edwards screwing up on the kick-off, they should be easily correctable. Far more concerning was the play of Donovan Smith, yet again looking like what we have all seen (apart from the Bucs front office) throughout his career; an over-paid, over-matched, mediocre, LT. Brady’s Jameis impersonation was also something of a concern, as the two picks… Read more »

scubog

As usual, one lousy play gets a player on this list.

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Spruce

That’s three pick sixes in the last three games for Brady. What you saw wasn’t a bad game for him it was more typical. Precision throws that take your breath away in exactly the best spot punctuated with errant head scratchers.Can’t do it against an elite team like the Saints but it won’t make any difference in most games where the Bucs will have the superior talent. That’s a good and loaded Bucs team so the expectations haven’t changed a bit. All the Super Bowl nonsense was irrational exuberance but they are definitely a serious playoff threat. Godwin is Brady’s… Read more »

Dave

Big difference between opening up at home to the Dolphins, and opening up on the road to the Saints. Short of Cam puking all over himself, and the Bucs defense playing like the 02 Bucs, the Pats starting 1-0, and us starting off 0-1 was a given. Both games went exactly as predicted. The Pats hid Cam as a passer, and had him take off running all game, and Brady looked like a QB on a new team, with new receivers, a new oline, a new OC, with no preseason games to gel, and not enough chemistry with his pass… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Spruce

Good reply, thanks! Disagree on your assessment of Newton as a passer. The game plan was to run. The passing was secondary but Newton was sharp as a tack when he did. Were it not for a drop by Edelman on his first target he would have been a sterling 16 for 19. Seems to me Belichick had to run Newton to show he could be a threat. I saw Dolphins occupied covering Newton for the run on plays he did not run that showed it worked. Agree both games went as predicted. Exuberance by Pat’s fans and discouragement by… Read more »

Dave

I think you misinterpreted my statement on Cam. I didn’t say he can’t throw, didn’t look good as a passer, or the offense will be designed to hide him as a passer. But for week 1 with no preseason or OTA’s, that was always going to be the game plan for week 1. Let Cam run wild, and throw when needed. He flat out doesn’t know enough of the playbook yet, nor can he possibly be in sync with his WR’s. So it went exactly as I figured it would. As far as Brady. As someone who lives in Boston,… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Spruce

Well then we’ll agree to disagree. I don’t see how any fan no matter how much of Brady they have seen can know who’s influencing plays nor does it make sense that any coach would switch from what amounted to an eye popping opening drive. You should stipulate on Newton that he knew the limited plays they were using very well and the receivers running those routes well as evidenced by the success he had and the absence of miscues. He’s also was credited with calling audibles based on defenses that was a good sign. Very true though they have… Read more »

Dave

For whatever it’s worth, on the Boston Sports Radio this afternoon, the hosts said the exact same thing I did. Scott Zolak said the first drive looked like a Pats type of offense. And as the game went on, it looked like a Bucs type offense, and he thinks it needs to be 50/50, because it was too skewed towards a BA/BL offense. But either way, agree to disagree there. As far as Cam, I’m not going to take credit away from him. However, I think the coaching was just as responsible as Cams performance. The Pats have Belichick, we… Read more »

Spruce

I did not hear Zolak but the sports geeks in general were abuzz with some kind of Brady/Arians philosophy power struggle that for now Arians is winning and it’s a mistake. They’re also abuzz with the fact Arians called out Brady’s mistakes publicly. Actually a little aghast is more like it whereas that would never have happened with the Pats……publicly that is. Clearly they have some issues to resolve starting with offensive philosophy and attention to detail. I would not have used the term “dumbed down”. Simplified would be more accurate. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet.… Read more »

fredster

Was a horrible game from mistakes Stand point. On the Bright side the Defense is close to being good. Jamal Dean killed any chance of comeback when we were trailing 7 in fourth quarter. Looked like Cook paid him to not cover him. Was a very lazy effort and that’s when game was over really. Saints had like 4 yards second half up until that point and you gave up that? S.O.B. Beating themselves and just not ready to make the jump to winners yet.

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jrbdiddy

Where is Mike Evans on this list? One catch for 2 yards and once again he let his emotions take him out of the game. Happens at least once a year when matched up against Lattimore.

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Go Bucs 72

Donovan Smith doesn’t love football he loves the paycheck. He was clearly disinterested in getting physical yesterday. The next time he finishes a block will be the first time.

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Richard James

I agree with this list, but would also add a little coaching onto it as well. “No risk it, no biscuit” sure seemed to go by the wayside with the ever conventional first down runs. I understand running to open the pass, but the saints did a great job of passing to open the run. This team seems to have a lot of firepower to “risk it”, but much of the playcalling seemed very vanilla and passive. I also didn’t like Brate’s absence from the game. Strange. Frustrating, but we’ve seen teams win the offseason and bust in the regular… Read more »

Madman

Let’s not forget how Mickens jumped away from the loose football after dumb dumb Mike Edwards booted it. Just ridiculous.

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BucFan circa76

One of the most common clichés in football is “Games are won and lost in the trenches”. Well, tis true – which is why the Saints have had our number for years, and it’s why they are the perennial favorite to be in Tampa for the SB. Our OL looked so average (at best) the ENTIRE game, we cant pass block, we cant run block. Same as the last several seasons. Somewhere, Jameis is a happy camper this morning. Our DL, which came in with high expectations (rightfully so with all the big names & contracts to match), they laid… Read more »

Buc-in-Philly Fan

Look…I know I am going to take a beating for this but at the second pick six, my first comment was Jameis 2.0.

I know Brady is not Winston but maybe it’s the play calling that makes the inclination for that dumb out throw.

This just felt eerily familiar.

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twspin

Quick game notes here. I’ll be brief..Kinda hated on this site because I have said Brady is not out answer. .Penalties and special teams still seem to be part of our..BucLife. Has been for ages…..O line must improve. Especially Smitty. ,,When the pocket collapses, Brady looks slow as molasses. He better get use to it. Bucs got a chance to see what a real good D line looks like. Saints looked polished and enthused. Kicking is still average. Hope it improves. The bright spot is I got us whippin the dickens out of the Panthers this week! I got us… Read more »

twspin

I was not disappointed. Then Saints are as good as advertised. I never thought we would beat them this early. I was somewhat disappointed in our pass rush. We probably needed to blitz more. Penalties..man, we have been a penalty ridden team for a long long time. And special team performance was terrible. Although I am not a Brady fan at his 42 yrs old, I am not hard on him this game. I think he just needs more time with his receivers and the O line has got to get better. He did however throw 2 very costly picks.… Read more »

michael

1)BA already said Jamel Dean wasn’t responsible for Cook running free. 2) TB12 had one bad play; the pick 6 3) Vita Bea is a NOSE TACKLE who was part of a defense that held Alvin Kamara to 1.6 yards per carry (I think it was 1.6, but definitely less than 2ypc). The offsides was horrible. Situationally poor. But he did his job the rest of the day. Was he expected to get a sack against one of the more difficult QBs to sack? 4) the worst thing about the bucs is the “fans”. Florida is a piss-poor state for… Read more »