By Tom Krasniqi
Sunday’s game at St. Louis proved to be another debacle for the Bucs. The offense was anemic once again with just 170 total yards and the defense couldn’t get off the field. The Bucs were bruised and battered following the 23-13 loss to the Rams.
“Physical game yesterday, we have some health issues,” head coach Greg Schiano said during his Monday press conference heard on 620 WDAE.
Linebackers Dekoda Watson (groin), LaVonte David (elbow), and Ka’lial Glaud (knee) were banged up during the game. Safety Mark Barron (hamstring) and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (knee) missed the game.
Pass protection was a big problem as the Rams racked up 7 sacks and repeatedly pounded rookie quarterback Mike Glennon throughout the day. Schiano believes there were a number of reasons for the poor play from the offensive line.
“Some of it is technique. Some of it is execution. Some of it is physical mismatch, where we are mismatched but that happens in this league,” Schiano explained. “Some of it is coaching.”
The Bucs believed the offensive line was a strength coming into the season. Injuries to guard Carl Nicks and a rehabbing Davin Joseph were tough blows. Left tackle Donald Penn is having a bad year in pass protection and struggled mightily against Robert Quinn, who had three sacks. This team is getting physically dominated at the point of attack. The Bucs had just 59 yards rushing on 23 carries against the Rams for an average of 2.6 yards per rush.
Defensively, the Bucs were on the field for way too long for the second week in a row. The Rams held the ball for almost 35 minutes and rushed for 129 yards. Schiano said his defense had “gap integrity issues in the first half.” Zac Stacy rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries.
At times during the press conference, Schiano seemed exasperated. His team is 4-11 and he knows with each loss, the end could be near.
“As tough as it’s been and as tough as it was Sunday, we had every chance to win that football game—that’s what makes it the most frustrating,” Schiano said as he pounded the podium. “We’re a team that’s not at full force but who cares? We had a chance to win that game. We get down in the red zone twice, we come away with field goals instead of touchdowns, period—end of conversation.”
The Bucs have one more game to go—they visit the Saints on Sunday in a game that means everything to New Orleans in terms of playoff positioning. As for the Bucs, it could be the final game before changes are made this offseason. And there could be some big changes.