Grading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers After Losing to the St. Louis Rams
The Greg Schiano experiment is officially a failure.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did little to make a case for their head coach's job by losing 23-13 to the St. Louis Rams. For a second consecutive week, the Buccaneers were doomed by their ineptitude on offense and the team's general lack of discipline.
Schiano has been outcoached in every Bucs loss this season. He spun the wheels of the run game against a stout Rams defensive front. The typically strong run defense surrendered over 100 yards to the Rams' run game.
We can only speculate as to Schiano's job security as far as the Glazer's are concerned. Nonetheless, it is apparent that while Schiano has the confidence of his locker room, he is not the coach to lead the Bucs to a winning record, much less a championship.
Each grade is assigned to Buccaneers who played a significant role in Sunday's game. The better the play, the better the grade. Here are the grades each Buccaneer earned against the Rams.
Mike Glennon: D
After being named the offensive rookie of the month in November, Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon is quickly proving that he is not the passer to lead the franchise in the future. He was dreadful against the Rams, completing 16 of 26 passes for 158 yards.
To be fair, Glennon got little help from his offensive line, which was abused by the Rams front seven. He was harassed most of the day and took seven sacks. Coverage downfield was also strong enough where only wide receiver Vincent Jackson was able to consistently get separation.
However, Glennon missed several opportunities to make big gains and convert third downs. His poor accuracy stopped drives in their tracks. Too often on third down Glennon checked down to receivers well short of the first-down marker.
With the game on the line and driving down the field, Glennon held on to the ball too long and fumbled the ball on a sack. Ironically, it was a 3rd-and-3 situation where he had tight end Tim Wright open in space. Instead, Glennon was looking for a deep completion despite the fact the Rams defense was showing blitz.
In November, it looked as though the Bucs could forgo drafting a quarterback early in the 2014 draft. After the past few games, it is clear the Bucs' front office needs to find Glennon some competition.
Bobby Rainey: D
The fast start running back Bobby Rainey enjoyed after the Bucs lost RBs Doug Martin and Mike James for the season has long faded. As he was last week against the San Francisco 49ers, Rainey was completely ineffective against the Rams.
Rainey rushed 20 times for 37 yards and a touchdown. The abysmal play of the offensive line did Rainey no favors. Running lanes were scarce, and the Rams spent the afternoon in the Bucs' backfield.
Run-blocking woes aside, Rainey simply did not play well. He fumbled early in the second quarter, leading to the double-reverse touchdown run by Stedman Bailey.
Since taking over starting duties, Bobby Rainey demonstrated his ability to find holes and break ankles, but his production relies on the blocking in front of him. He does not have the physicality to make plays on his own.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Vincent Jackson: B
Once again, WR Jackson was the only reliable player on the Bucs offense, catching five passes for 98 yards. Jackson accounted for almost 50 percent of the Bucs' total offense.
While he didn't have his way with the Rams secondary, he did make some of his signature catches and got a defensive pass interference call on Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Jackson did have a few bad drops, particularly one in the fourth quarter while the game was still in reach. However, Jackson can't put the entire offense on his back every game.
Tiquan Underwood: D
WR Tiquan Underwood might not belong on this report card as it is reserved only for players who make a significant contribution to the team during Sunday's game. Underwood was a total non-factor, making only one catch for seven yards. As fast as he is, Underwood failed to get consistent separation on his receivers and rarely looked open.
Tim Wright: C-
TE Wright was the only other reliable target in the passing game, catching four passes for 27 yards. His hands are definitely an asset as he typically comes up with the catch when the ball goes his way.
The problem is, Wright is listed as a tight end. Tight ends typically do a good amount of blocking. Wright is just a terrible blocker. On the Eric Page end-around in the fourth quarter, Wright's attempt at a block ended up as a tackle of Page!
While Wright definitely has a future as a pass-catcher for the Bucs, the team needs to drop the pretense and just make him a wide receiver again.
Donald Penn: C-
Penn was probably the best offensive lineman the Bucs had on Sunday. Yes, Penn allowed three Robert Quinn sacks, but two came after the game was pretty much over.
For most of the game, Quinn did not get consistent pressure on Glennon because of strong pass protection from Penn. Quinn's pressure usually came when he was blocked by Bobby Rainey or RB Brian Leonard. That falls on Glennon or Schiano for failing to adjust the protection.
Jamon Meredith: F
It should be a clear indicator that an offensive lineman was terrible if he was the only one getting benched on a day no one was any good. Guard Jamon Meredith was beat on almost every play he was in. The spark he provided to the run game at the middle of the season is clearly gone.
Jeremy Zuttah: D
Center Jeremy Zuttah had similar struggles against the Rams. He got no push in run blocking and looked lost at times in pass protection. His frequent unimpressive play at center should prompt the Bucs to seek competition for him in the offseason.
Davin Joseph: D
It was hard to find a play from Sunday where G Davin Joseph wasn't getting beaten by a Rams defender. He couldn't run block or pass protect. For as badly as Meredith played, why wasn't Joseph benched as well? That question will haunt the Bucs when they pay him the rest of the $6 million salary this year.
Demar Dotson: C
Like the other Bucs linemen, right tackle Demar Dotson played poorly. However, he surrendered only one sack to Rams defensive end Chris Long. It came late in the fourth quarter after the game was pretty much out of reach, and it looks like RB Brian Leonard prevented Dotson from sliding further in protection.
Gerald McCoy: B
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a rare off day where his run defense simply was not up to snuff. McCoy faced double- and triple-teams all day, but he did miss a few opportunities to make tackles closer to the line of scrimmage.
Yet again, McCoy was the only Buccaneer to get a sack on Sunday. Between the lack of pass rush from any other defensive linemen and the moronic stunts the Bucs coaching staff likes to call, the idea of getting McCoy some help both on the line and on the sidelines next year should make Buc fans salivate.
Adrian Clayborn: C
While Adrian Clayborn again failed to generate significant pass rush, he did prove to be a factor in the run game. He forced a Kellen Clemens fumble in the second quarter deep in Bucs territory, preventing a likely score by the Rams.
Akeem Spence: C
DT Akeem Spence notched three tackles against the Rams, all in the run game. Though the Bucs defense is designed so that Spence focuses on run defense, he was too often taken out of run plays by the Rams offensive line. RB Zac Stacy only averaged 3.2 yards a carry, but he still managed to grind his way to 104 yards.
Will Gholston: B
Up-and-coming DE Will Gholston played well, collecting six tackles and two for a loss. He is clearly still developing as a pass-rusher, but his development is definitely on a fast track.
Lavonte David: B
Linebacker Lavonte David had a relatively quiet day, notching 11 tackles and two for a loss. David helped to keep the Rams' run game from getting completely out of hand. He also recovered the fumble forced by LB Dekoda Watson.
Even though this was not his best game, David played as well as anyone on the field. He deserves a trip to Hawaii this year.
Mason Foster: C+
Middle linebacker Mason Foster made seven tackles on Sunday with two for a loss. While he whiffed on a tackle or two, he is not slumping late in the season like he did last year. It's doubtful he will ever be considered the best MLB in the league, but he has been solid for most of the season.
Dekoda Watson: B
Watson is doing everything he can to earn a nice contract extension from the Bucs this offseason. He notched four tackles and forced a fumble in the second quarter.
Darrelle Revis: B
Revis had a quiet day against the Rams, but the Rams' pass offense didn't much factor into the outcome of the game. Neither Rams QB Kellen Clemens nor the Rams receiving corps instill much fear in opposing defenses, so Fisher wisely made RB Zac Stacy the focal point of the defense.
Revis didn't allow much from WR Chris Givens or any other Rams receiver. Clemens seemed to smartly avoid Revis Island.
Johnthan Banks: C
Banks did not have as strong of a game. He allowed a few catches to Givens and WR Stedman Bailey. He made a few stops in the run game, but nothing eye-popping. Banks still has a ways to go in his development.
Dashon Goldson: D
The acquisition of safety Dashon Goldson is looking more and more like a mistake. Not only is he weak in coverage, but he once again was flagged for an illegal hit. While it was a bit of ticky-tack call, Goldson needs to adjust to the way the NFL wants the game played.
Keith Tandy: B
S Keith Tandy filled in for the injured Mark Barron on Sunday and played admirably. While he's not quite the run defender Barron is, Tandy made some key stops and even notched a tackle for a loss. Tandy is developing nicely and gives the Bucs some reliable depth at safety.
Rian Lindell: B
Kicker Rian Lindell was 2-of-2 on Sunday, kicking 35- and 32-yard field goals. It really doesn't matter what Lindell does at this point. The Bucs are going to welcome injured K Conner Barth back with open arms.
Michael Koenen: B
Punter Michael Koenen had an interesting day against the Rams. As usual, he boomed most of his kickoffs, but he got to attempt an onside kick. The kick itself was pretty good and was up for grabs, but the coverage unit wasn't able to come up with the ball.