By Tom Krasniqi


The Bucs are 0-5.  Yeah, you knew that already.  But do you know the team’s struggles when the game gets close in the fourth quarter?  Here’s a hint:  It’s not good. 

Under the Greg Schiano regime, the Bucs are 0-6 in games decided by three points or less.  Three of those losses have come this year.  That’s downright agonizing. 

“It’s a four quarter game,” Bucs left tackle Donald Penn said on Wednesday.  “You gotta play all four quarters, you know what I mean?  You gotta finish.  You have to start strong, you have to finish strong.”

Sounds too simplistic, doesn’t it?  The inability to finish off opponents late in games was a common theme in the locker room on Wednesday.  But when it comes to the Bucs, nothing ever comes easy.  The players and coaches are extremely frustrated by it. 

“With us, we just gotta finish games.  It’s as simple as that.  We just gotta finish games,” said Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.  “Going into the fourth quarter, four of the five [games], we’re right there.  We just gotta finish them.  What do we have to do to finish them?  I don’t know.  I can’t put my finger on it but that’s our issue.”

 This Sunday, the Bucs visit Atlanta to take on a 1-4 Falcons team that has a similar problem.  The Falcons have lost three games this season in the last two minutes.

“With Atlanta going through the same thing, this game is going to be about who finishes the game,” McCoy opined. 

When an 0-5 team that has trouble finishing games meets a 1-4 team with the same problem, who comes out on top?

“Hopefully it’s us that finishes this week,” McCoy said optimistically. 

If the Bucs do develop that killer instinct by closing out a division rival on the road this week, it would be a first under Schiano’s watch. 

As for Wednesday’s injury report, guard Davin Joseph was limited in practice after injuring his knee (not the surgically repaired one) against the Eagles on Sunday.  WR Mike Williams (hamstring) and DE Da’Quan Bowers (toe) were also limited.  RB Jeff Demps (groin) did not practice.  CB Michael Adams (knee) & C Jeremy Zuttah (groin) were full participants in practice. 

For the Falcons: WR Roddy White (ankle/hamstring), RB Steven Jackson (hamstring), TE Chase Coffman (knee), LB Akeem Dent (ankle), and LT Sam Baker (knee) did not practice.  RB Jason Snelling (concussion) practiced fully. 


News & Notes:     

  • Schiano announced on Wednesday that LG Carl Nicks had surgery on Tuesday night on his troublesome left foot that developed MRSA for a second time.  There is no timetable for his return.  The team has not placed him on injured reserve yet. 
  • Schiano was asked if he has talked to the Glazers recently: “We talk often.  What we talk about is confidential, but we talk often.”  I would love to be a fly on the wall for those conversations.  Probably can’t be too cordial. 
  • In case you didn’t notice, Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was calling plays up in the coaches’ booth during the Eagles game as opposed to being on the field.  He says he has a better view of the field from up there and that in his prior stops (Jaguars & Giants), he was up in the booth.  Sullivan says it was his idea and he spoke to Schiano during the bye week about it.  Sullivan will continue to call plays from up in the booth. 
  • Bucs DT Gerald McCoy was asked if he still believes in the coaching staff: “Do you stop listening to the coaches?  Do you stop paying attention to what they say?  Do you give up on them?  No.  You just keep going until it works.  If it doesn’t work, then somebody else will make that decision.”
  • In a conference call with Tampa media, Falcons head coach Mike Smith was asked if he was surprised by the Bucs 0-5 start: “Nothing surprises me anymore about the NFL.”
  • In a conference call, Falcons QB Matt Ryan gushed about Bucs CB Darrelle Revis: “Obviously, he’s one of the best in the league—there’s no question about it.  He’s extremely talented.  He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he looks great.  He really does…he looks healthy, he looks great.”
  • Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman will make his first start for the Vikings on Monday night when they take on the Giants.  Bucs LT Donald Penn is good friends with Freeman and sent him a congratulatory text. 
  • CB Danny Gorrer came off the injured reserve/designated for return list on Wednesday and practiced with the team.  Gorrer had groin surgery before the season began.  He’s not eligible to play until Week 9 at Seattle.
  • Bucs have promoted WR/PR Skye Dawson (5-9, 183lbs) from the practice squad.  Dawson is an undrafted free agent out of TCU.   
  • Former Bucs RB Peyton Hillis signed with the Giants on Wednesday. 
  • The Bucs travel to Atlanta on Sunday to take on the Falcons.  You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with the Floor & Décor Countdown To Kickoff show. 
  • For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage.  Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at for the latest news and audio clips.