When the Bucs get another big win and improve to 5-2 on the season, trying to find a list of disappointing players isn’t easy, or might not seem to make sense. Some readers – and even some within the Bucs organization – have expressed that we at Pewter Report should be on the disappointing list for even having one. But for over 10 years – win or lose – we have had this post-game feature, in addition to Most Impressive even after the Bucs have been crushed in past defeats where hardly any players played well.
Despite a dominating 45-20 win over the Raiders, not every Bucs player played his best game. Here is this week’s short list of the Most Disappointing.
CB Sean Murphy Bunting
Something just isn’t right so far this season with Murphy-Bunting, who has struggled the last three weeks in particular. He just doesn’t appear to be playing with confidence like we saw down the stretch as he led the Bucs with three interceptions as a rookie. On Sunday, Murphy-Bunting had two defensive holding penalties, and wasn’t stellar in coverage. With just two tackles and no pass breakups, Murphy-Bunting will be looking to rebound next week against the Giants, as he has been the weakest link in an overall solid secondary.
RB Ronald Jones II
After three straight 100-yard rushing efforts, it was clear the Raiders were intent on shutting down the third-year running back from USC. Jones found little success running the ball, but a first half drop on an easy screen pass from quarterback Tom Brady caused head coach Bruce Arians to shut Jones down even more than the Raiders did. Jones was benched briefly for the rest of the first half as Arians held him accountable for his flub. Jones ended the afternoon with 34 yards on 13 carries (2.6 avg.) but did score one touchdown.
OLB Shaq Barrett
Barrett’s 2020 campaign is a far cry from last year in which he had a 19.5-sack monster season. Despite backups all along the offensive line for the Raiders, Barrett wasn’t able to win his pass rush match-ups and get to QB Derek Carr on Sunday. Barrett was good against the run, notching six stops including one tackle for loss, but the Buccaneers are expecting more from Barrett, the team’s franchise player, in terms of pressures and sacks. Barrett has just three sacks on the year, and hasn’t recorded one since Week 4 against Los Angeles.
DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
Despite the loss of nose tackle Vita Vea, there hasn’t been any significant drop off with the Bucs run defense as Tampa Bay is still the best in the NFL. But the one glaring thing missing since Vea went on I.R. is the lack or push from the interior in pass rushing situations. While it isn’t really fair to compare Nunez-Roches to Vea, a first-rounder pick in 2018, the Buccaneers need to find a way to get more pressure on the quarterback from the nose tackle spot. Nunez-Roches needs to show the team he is capable of some disruption from that position or will continue to lose snaps to newly signed Steve McLendon, who had five tackles in his Bucs debut against the Raiders. Nunez-Roches finished with just assist in Las Vegas.
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, the beach and family time.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 firstname.lastname@example.org