After being defeated by the Carolina Panthers by a final score of 31-13, there wasn’t much to be positive about for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But as we do every week, let’s take a look at the best and worst performers for Tampa Bay from the game that saw them fall to 0-7.
Three Up: Three Best Performers
The Buccaneers were a mess on the offensive line on Thursday night, with Ted Larsen botching two snaps in the first half which killed offensive drives.
But Zuttah came to the rescue and shifted to center to provide a more consistent performance snapping the ball and blocking for the run and pass.
What else can we say about this guy?
He has been the best player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all season, and is in the running for the title of best linebacker in the NFL. He’s rushing the passer, stopping the run, and defending the pass on every single play, and has been a bright spot in an otherwise dark season.
David had 12 tackles, two for loss, and a sack in Thursday’s game. He’s a dominant defensive player, and deserves a better team than the 0-7 mess that surrounds him.
He was targeted twice. Both passes were defended.
We saw glimpses of the true Revis Island on Thursday night as Revis locked down Steve Smith. He’s capable of defending any receiver in the NFL without help, and hopefully in 2014 we see Revis doing just that on every play.
Three Down: Three Disappointing Performers
I already wrote a full article about the disappointing season for Te’o-Nesheim, and you can read it here.
Thursday was more of the same for the defensive end, as he missed two tackles and failed to bring down Cam Newton on a play where the Panther QB would throw for a touchdown.
There are so many young players at defensive end for the Buccaneers that there’s no reason for Te’o-Nesheim to continue to play as often as he does. He’s not playing well enough to justify his spot on the depth chart.
Last season, Larsen earned some respect with the way he played while filling in for Carl Nicks after he was injured. He clearly wasn’t as talented as Jeremy Zuttah, but he played well enough at center that the Buccaneers felt confident in their depth along the offensive line heading into the 2013 season.
But Larsen was awful on Thursday, botching two snaps and finding himself removed from the center position before halftime. He hurt his team’s chances of winning in a serious way, and that should not go unnoticed.
I know this is supposed to be an article about players, but Greg Schiano made a fool of himself on national television on multiple occasions on Thursday night, and it made his players look silly.
He was inconsistent in his decisions to punt the ball in the fourth quarter when down by an insurmountable margin, proving that he didn’t have a plan in mind. That baffled the NFL Network analysts after the game, who spent a segment bashing the head coach for his curious calls.
And then, at the end of the game, Schiano went for a field goal to narrow a huge margin, but took those points off the board due to a personal foul, and then went for it on the next fourth down and Mike Glennon threw the ball out of the end zone.
Nothing he did on Thursday made sense, and he seemed to be totally outcoached by an on-the-hotseat Ron Rivera.