Panthers vs. Buccaneers: Takeaways from Tampa Bay's 31-13 Loss to Carolina
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 0-7 on Thursday evening with a 31-13 loss to the visiting Carolina Panthers, and in doing so they lost their 12th game out of their last 13 under head coach Greg Schiano.
The Buccaneers were defeated soundly in every aspect of the game. The Carolina offense controlled the clock, the Carolina defense swarmed to the quarterback, and Carolina's coaches prepared their team for Thursday's game better than the Tampa Bay coaches did.
So what can Tampa Bay fans take away from this debacle?
Here are the lessons I learned watching the Buccaneers lose for the seventh straight time.
Poor Fundamentals Doomed the Defense
Missed tackles, poor pursuit angles and a failure to contain Cam Newton led to a seemingly solid Tampa Bay defense allowing 31 points to the Carolina Panthers.
The defense is loaded with talent, and there were flashes of brilliance from Lavonte David, Darrelle Revis and more. But there were fundamental flaws in how the defenders approached the game.
Allowing Cam Newton to break the pocket and run into the end zone in the red zone is inexcusable.
Not tackling Ted Ginn and allowing a big play on a drag route is inexcusable.
The Buccaneers simply did not execute well enough on defense, and that lack of execution is hiding a very talented group of players.
Cam Newton Had Too Much Time to Throw
Once again, when the defense was not blitzing and simply asking the front four to get pressure, Cam Newton had far too much time to throw.
This has become a theme all season, and it became apparent again against Carolina. The mobile Newton was able to stand in the pocket until a receiver became open or take off and run after exhausting all of his reads.
Adrian Clayborn is working so hard at one defensive end position, but Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is giving him no support from the other end spot. Teams can then easily shift their blocking schemes to account for Clayborn and the also dangerous Gerald McCoy and shut down the Tampa Bay pass rush.
A Weekly Reminder About How Good Lavonte David Is
Just in case you forgot while watching the Buccaneers fall to 0-7, Lavonte David is still a fantastic football player.
He did miss a tackle during Thursday night's game, but he also chipped in nine solo tackles, three assisted tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
He showed his quickness and open-field tackling ability on a short center screen pass to Kenjon Barner as well. He further proved that he can literally do it all from his linebacker position.
It's a shame he's stuck on such a bad team, because Lavonte David is a superstar in the making.
Mike Glennon Is Asked to Do Way Too Much
Fifty-one pass attempts in his fourth game as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
No quarterback in NFL history has started their rookie season with more pass attempts than Glennon, according to the Pewter Report.
So what is it about this third-round rookie that has inspired the Buccaneers to thrust the entire offense into his command as if he were a seasoned veteran?
Glennon has his positive moments, especially on short to intermediate throws. But he's not consistent enough and not confident enough to manage the offense and throw the ball that many times.
The Buccaneers are making a mistake by abandoning the running game so easily and by asking so much of a rookie passer.
Mike Glennon Has a Bit of Josh Freeman in His Game
Chris Burke of SI.com posted a tweet during Thursday night's game which sheds some light on the flaws in Glennon's technique.
Both tall, pocket-passer quarterbacks seem to have the same tendency to throw from their back foot and sail the ball over a receiver's head. Glennon did it a handful of times against Carolina and has shown this tendency all year.
Glennon has more time to prove he's better than Freeman and worthy of a job next year. But so far there's as much discouraging tape as there is encouraging tape.
Mike James Had a Good Debut and Should Have Been Used More
And considering how little Martin had done so far this season, it was hard to tell the difference with James taking the handoffs instead of Martin.
James is not as quick and doesn't have the same big-play potential as the second-year Pro Bowler from Boise State, but he does run very hard and always falls forward to pick up extra yardage.
But James only carried the ball 10 times in the loss to Carolina, while Doug Martin was fed the ball 21 times per game during his first six games of the season.
Why wasn't James used more? Why was so much pressure placed on Mike Glennon? Greg Schiano and his coaching staff did not manage their talent properly in this game.
Tampa Bay Wide Receivers Are Too Inconsistent
The Buccaneers dropped multiple passes that would have gone for first downs against Carolina, and that's been a trend all season in Tampa.
Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams were both guilty of dropping uncontested passes on Thursday, while Tom Crabtree had a pass knocked out of his hands on a solid defensive play by Carolina.
But no matter the reason, the fact remains that the Buccaneers are simply dropping too many passes to sustain viable offense and help out their rookie quarterback.
There is too much talent at receiver for Tampa Bay to have this kind of poor fundamental play.
Greg Schiano Has Been Defeated
Greg Schiano's press conference after Thursday night's loss was somewhat depressing. An obviously deflated head coach had no answers for what was wrong with his football team.
But therein lies the problem. It seems as though Schiano is left with nothing more than to admit defeat, because he has no way of turning his ship around.
The NFL Network postgame show following the loss to Carolina was kicked off with multiple minutes of NFL veterans questioning Greg Schiano and trying to make sense of his decisions. And that's the main concern for Schiano right now. He has no answers for why his team is struggling, and NFL veterans and analysts can point out flaws in his system at the drop of a hat.
He's been defeated as a coach in seven straight games, and it seems like he's short on answers about his team's struggles and short on time to turn things around.
Greg Schiano's time as head coach of the Buccaneers may be over.