Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers flag during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Halloween, ladies and gents. And while some of you might be taking your kids trick-or-treating tonight, or throwing an adult party of your own, I’ve decided to cash in (not literally) on the theme of the day and bring to you the spooky tale that has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014.
The Bucs have been so bad, at times, it’s been scary.
Keeping that in mind, I’ve compiled five of the scariest facts from this woeful season thus far that will be sure to have you screaming in terror. Or crying yourself to sleep at night–whichever fits your personality. I’m not judging.
(These are in no particular order. Each one is scary in its own way.)
#5: The Buccaneers’ Defense is Averaging 409.9 Yards Allowed per Game–Most in the NFL.
Like that one neighbor that always handed out apples on Halloween, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been nothing but disappointing on defense. Everyone thought Lovie Smith would bring the same tough-nosed defense he brought to Chicago for all of those years, but so far, the Lovie project has been a complete and utter failure. Everyone knows there are some soft spots in a predominantly zone defense, but even Dwight Howard knows that this entire defense is soft.
#4: The Defense is Also Averaging 31.9 Points Allowed per Game–Most in the NFL.
“Suffocating” is what many experts described this Buccaneers defense to be before the season began, and they were right; it’s suffocating the fans that show up to Raymond James Stadium every week to witness that mess.
Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Michael Koenen (9) punts the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
#3: Michael Koenen is the Worst Punter in the NFL. (Last in League with 41.8 Yards per Attempt, and the Fewest Punts Inside the Opponent’s 20 Yard Line .)
While I’ve always been a proponent of ridding the team of Koenen’s ridiculous contract for a punter that has never lived up to his end of the deal (another Mark Dominik success), never in my wildest dreams did I expect him to have a season that is this bad. Koenen’s punts this year have been so short, that they’ve frightened many fans and raised plenty of eyebrows. Whether these short kicks have been an intentional result of kicking to Devin Hester one too many times, or they have just been a result of Koenen giving it his best shot, his play has been a huge factor in the Buccaneers disappointing season.
Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White (24) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) during the fourth quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers 37-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
#2: Doug Martin Has Only Averaged 2.9 Yards per Carry, Has Failed to Rush for More Than 45 Yards in a Game This Season.
The Buccaneers, as a team, are averaging 4.1 yards per carry in 2014. But don’t thank Doug Martin for that. Once Martin gets up to the line of scrimmage, it looks like he’s afraid of the ghouls and ghosts on the opponent’s defense as he scurries sideways for little or no gain. That team average has been raised by the play of Bobby Rainey, who hasn’t been used to the fullest extent because of the team’s loyalty to Martin, and the fact that the Bucs have only had one opportunity to run out the clock late in a game on offense (and failed to do so).
Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (21) breaks up a pass to New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem (17) during the first quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
#1: Alterraun Verner, While Not Having a Spectacular Season, Has Been the Buccaneers’ Best Free Agent Signing from the 2014 Offseason.
An article from ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas recently documented how quiet the Buccaneers FA class has been, and when looking at the facts, it is just downright disturbing if you consider all the money that was poured in to these players. Verner has been the best of the bunch, but he’s had his struggles too. It is easy to look good, however, when you’re sharing the stage with the likes of Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson and Josh McCown. Those guys have been nothing but nightmares.
Have a happy and safe Halloween, Bucs fans! If you’d like, send us a tweet of your Bucs related costume to @ThePewterPlank! Maybe we’ll feature you in an article.