Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly After the First 4 Weeks

Matthew StatonContributor IOctober 1, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23:  Gerald McCoy #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As the Tampa Buccaneers head into the bye week, sitting at 1-3 on the season, there are a lot of positives and negatives to reflect upon.  While the team has played hard and individuals have risen to the occasion at times, there is still a lot of work to do.


The Good

Doug Martin - The rookie running back has been the workhorse for the offense so far.  Martin has carried the ball 71 times for 247 yards and one touchdown, he also has 10 receptions for 44 yards as well. 

In spite of the inconsistent play calling, Martin is picking up yards however he can and continues to be the go-to runner for Coach Schiano and the offense.

Mark Barron - The hard hitting safety has made several plays to show people why the Buccaneers drafted him so high in 2012.

With 22 tackles, 5 passes defended, and a forced fumble, he is flying all over the field and making hits. Just ask RGIII about how hard he can hit.

Gerald McCoy - McCoy, back healthy, is having a solid season so far.  With 10 tackles and three sacks on the year, the former first-round pick is making plays on the line.

Even if he isn't recording a sack in each game, his pressure on the line affects the game and helps the Buccaneers' defense.


The Bad 

Josh Freeman - Freeman has not had the big season everyone was expecting from, at least early on. Freeman has completed 65 out of 119 pass attempts, good for just 54 percent including five touchdowns and four interceptions.

Freeman, despite bad play calling, has to make the throws when he is called upon.  Completing 54 percent of his passes won't get the job done for this team.

Pass defense - The Buccaneers pass defense has not been great this season.  Aqib Talib has given up big yards and had bad penalties. Eric Wright has been on and off the field with back issues.

After giving up big numbers to Eli Manning and RGIII, the secondary will have to do a better job and not allow teams to take deep shots on them the rest of the season.

Punt returners - The Buccaneers continue to shuffle in and out returners that can not only get positive yardage, but field the ball cleanly.

They started with Sammie Stroughter who went to IR for the season with a foot issue.  They brought in Jordan Shipley, who after one fumble, was sent packing.  Now the Buccaneers have Roscoe Parrish back there.

Let's see how long he can last as the return man.


The Ugly

Kneel Gate - After the Week 2 debacle that sent shock waves around the league, the Buccaneers did it again in Week 3 at Dallas.  While Coach Schiano is sending a message that his team will never give up, it is not getting the same message across to opposing teams.

Whether people agree with the move or not, it is getting negative attention around the league.

Mike Sullivan - The first-time offensive coordinator has struggled in his play calling and coaching of Josh Freeman.  Two weeks ago, he and Coach Schiano failed to adjust the play calling that continued to run the ball right at Dallas, only to get minimal results. 

Throughout the season, Freeman has struggled with his timing, footwork, and overall confidence, something Coach Sullivan must fix if this team is going to progress.

Penalties - Despite preaching discipline and fundamentals, the Buccaneers are still one of the most penalized teams in the league.  After an ugly game against Dallas that had yellow flags everywhere, the Bucs returned home to 10 more penalties against them.

The Buccaneers are giving away free yards, something that has to be cleaned up if this young team is going to win the tight games down the stretch.