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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs work out ex-Raiders QB Pryor

As the Bucs prepare to play Sunday without starting quarterback Josh McCown due to an injured thumb, the team took a closer look at a potential backup quarterback to Mike Glennon, working out former Ohio State and Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor, who was among the Seahawks' final preseason cuts, was not immediately signed after the workout, though the Bucs need to add a backup to their 53-man roster if McCown is unable to play Sunday, as expected. Another option is promoting Mike Kafka, who was with the team during the whole offseason and is now on the practice squad after the team opted to carry only two quarterback on its active roster.

Pryor threw for 1,798 yards last season with Oakland, with seven TDs and 11 interceptions, and he also rushed for 576 yards. He set an NFL record last year for the longest run by a quarterback as he went for 93 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Steelers -- who the Bucs play Sunday.

McCown injured his thumb late in the second quarter of Thursday's 56-14 loss to Atlanta when his hand struck the helmet of Falcons DE Osi Umenyiora after a throw.

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Chasing win No. 1 can be elusive for new coaching regime

A winless record after three regular season games is never a good thing. But it can seem a little worse for a team with a new coaching staff.

After suffering close-shave losses to the Panthers and Rams, the Bucs suffered a humiliating 56-14 defeat at Atlanta Thursday, the third-worst in club history.

Coach Lovie Smith said validation for a new program comes with that first win and the hope is it happens sooner rather than later.

“Everything is validated when you get that first win,'' Smith said Monday. "But whether you’re a new program or not, you start the season and you want to get that first win as soon as you can. For our guys, they see how close we’ve been. So it’s not like we’re so far away we can’t get it. But yeah, we’re chasing that first win.

“I also told the team today, right now, the team with the most wins they have three wins. So what does three wins get you? It doesn’t get you into the playoffs. Three losses doesn’t get you out of the playoffs. We’re still close.''

The Bucs play at Pittsburgh Sunday and could be without injured starting quarterback Josh McCown. Smith said despite the 0-3 start, there is everything left to accomplish. …

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Back-to-back unblocked rushes led to McCown injury

Josh McCown sits on the sidelines after injuring his thumb against the Falcons. [AP photo]

Josh McCown sits on the sidelines after injuring his thumb against the Falcons. [AP photo]

Bucs quarterback Josh McCown injured his thumb -- likely costing him this week's game at Pittsburgh -- on the second of back-to-back plays in the second quarter where the Falcons were able to get hit him with an unblocked pass-rusher.

Tampa Bay, already trailing 35-0, had seen McCown complete a 36-yard pass to rookie receiver Mike Evans, then a 9-yard pass to Bobby Rainey for a second-and-1 at the Falcons' 36. The two plays that followed saw breakdowns in pass protection that put McCown on his back twice, and with a potentially significant injury on the second.

On the first play, Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massequoi (94)goes untouched past three Bucs position players to blindside McCown. The Bucs had both tight ends on the right side, but Brandon Myers and Luke Stocker both go out for short pass routes, and running back Bobby Rainey goes out to the same right side on his own route. Right tackle Demar Dotson engages with the defensive tackle and Massequoi goes straight at McCown for an 8-yard sack, setting up third-and-9. …

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McCown expected to miss Steelers, more if surgery needed

Josh McCown was examined by a hand specialist Monday and will need to be re-evaluated in a week or two to determine whether surgery is needed.

AP photo

Josh McCown was examined by a hand specialist Monday and will need to be re-evaluated in a week or two to determine whether surgery is needed.

Quarterback Josh McCown is expected to miss Sunday's game against the Steelers and possibly more if surgery is required to repair a ligament on his right thumb.

McCown was examined by a hand specialist Monday and will need to be re-evaluated in a week or two to determine whether surgery is needed. While it's still possible that McCown could play if no procedure is done, it's looking more and more like it could be several weeks before the Bucs' starter returns to the playing field.

However, the Bucs, who return to practice today, have not officially ruled McCown out for Sunday's game and don't have to file an injury report until Wednesday.

McCown, 35, became injured late in the second quater of the Bucs' 56-14 loss to Atlanta Thursday night when his throwing hand struck the helmet of a Falcons player.

Mike Glennon, who went 4-10 after taking over from Josh Freeman at this juncture of the season last year, is expected to start against the Steelers.



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Ex-NFL RB Garner arrested on DUI charge

Former NFL running back Charlie Garner, whose 11-year career ended with the Bucs in 2004, was arrested early Monday morning in north Tampa on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

Garner, 42, who twice rushed for more than 1,000 yards while with the 49ers, refused a blood-alcohol test after being stopped by the Tampa Police Department, according to arrest reports. He was arrested at 2:29 a.m. Monday, booked at 3:48 a.m., and was released at 2:59 p.m. on $500 bond. He is listed in the arrest report as living in north Tampa.

Garner rushed for 7,097 yards in the NFL, spending just the final three games of his career with the Bucs in 2004 before his career was ended by a knee injury.

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McCown will see hand specialist, likely out vs. Steelers

Bucs fans wanting a change at quarterback may get their wish, but only because Josh McCown's thumb injury will likely force him to miss next Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.

McCown, who has a significant sprain on the thumb on his right throwing hand, will see a hand specialist on Monday. All options remain open for the Bucs, but they could soon be preparing for backup Mike Glennon to be a longer-term option.

McCown, 35, completed 5 of 12 passes for 58 yards Thursday and had an interception returned for a touchdown in the Bucs' 56-14 loss to the Falcons. It was the fourth INT in three games for McCown, who threw only one INT in eight games for the Bears last season. 

Glennon entered the game Thursday at the end of the second quarter and finished 17-of-24 passing for 121 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. It was after Week 3 a year ago when Glennon took over from starter Josh Freeman and led the Bucs to a 4-9 record, throwing 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. …

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Lovie on Bucs' penalties: 'That's not who we are'

The Bucs went into Thursday's game in Atlanta tied for the fewest penalties in the NFL, but came out of a 56-14 loss with 11 flags for 110 yards, including four 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness.

"You look at our record, we were one of the least penalized teams before that. That's not who we are," coach Lovie Smith said Friday. "Last night, the wheels kind of fell off in a lot of different areas. We weren't as disciplined as we need to be and as we've been. That was a one-game happening that we don't want to see again."

Bucs center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who had an errant snap recovered at the Bucs' 2-yard line to set up an easy Falcons touchdown, drew two of the four 15-yard flags, with tight end Luke Stocker and defensive tackle Akeem Spence adding one each.

"It's just playing hard. Apparently it was playing a little too hard," Dietrich-Smith said after the game. The offensive line had three other penalties of 10 yards or more, with right tackle Demar Dotson flagged for holding and illegal use of hands and right guard Patrick Omameh flagged for holding. …

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QB McCown will remain Bucs starter if healthy

Despite throwing four interceptions in three games, including one in the red zone and another returned for a touchdown, Josh McCown will remain the Bucs' starting quarterback, coach Lovie Smith said.

McCown injured the right thumb on his throwing hand in Thursday's 56-14 loss at Atlanta and was forced to leave the game. He was undergoing an MRI Friday, Smith said. But if everything checks out okay, McCown will be under center against the Steelers Sept. 28.

"Josh is our starter,'' Smith said. "We're looking at one game right now. It would be simple if Josh was the only guy who played bad. It seems like the only guy I'm asked about is Josh your starter? You can ask that about quite a few people, starting with me. Am I still the head coach based on that effort? But a little more goes into it than that.'' …

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McDonald says Bucs feel shock and anger over rout

As if the Bucs didn't have enough time to dwell on their 56-14 loss to the Falcons Thursday night, their charter flight to Tampa was delayed until 3 a.m. Friday because of mechanical issues.

Some players used the time to watch tape of one of the most lopsided defeats in franchise history.

What was the mood among players?

"I would think it's a sense of anger and a little bit of shock,'' defensive tackle Clinton McDonald said. "Anger because we put that kind of film on TV. Nobody wants to go out iin any game and display yourselves like that. Nobody. It's a thing of shock because we allowed it to happen. We owe the city more than that and we owe ourselves more than that. We've got to execute our job. We've got to go back to practice and put it together.''

McDonald was forced to move from nosetackle to McCoy's position as the three technique. McCoy could not play due to a fractured hand. He was wearing a splint Friday and vowed to play next  Sunday against the Steelers.






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McCoy: Loss hard to watch, but will be back soon

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, held out with a broken left hand, had to watch from the sidelines as his teammates took a humbling 56-14 loss to the Falcons, and he understands the frustration fans are feeling.

"There's some really, really upset fans right now, but in order to get the fans back on our side, we can't sit and sulk in this," McCoy said. "We're going to watch the film today and we've got to get back to work. In 2001, the Patriots started 1-3 and ended up winning the Super Bowl. It happens. This is an unpredictable league, you never know what can happen. One thing you can't do is sit back and sulk in it. You have to accept it as what it is. You can't change it. The score is what it is. It's set in history. Now we have to move on."

McCoy is wearing a splint on his injured left hand and has 10 days now to recover with the hopes of playing a week from Sunday when the Bucs play at Pittsburgh. …

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Notes on 56-14 loss: Injuries taking toll on Bucs defense

Busy morning traveling back from Atlanta -- we'll have an open locker room with players at One Buc at noon, then Lovie Smith at 2 p.m., but here are a ton of notes we've been tweeting out since the end of the game.

-- Five Bucs on defense -- Foster, McCoy, Johnson, Clayborn, Jenkins -- played 264 snaps in opener. With injuries, combined for 6 vs. Falcons.

-- Who are Bucs throwing passes to? 15-for-17 to RBs (88 percent); 17-for-20 to TEs (85 percent); but just 28-for-53 to WRs (53 percent).

-- Bucs went 0-for-9 on third down when needing more than 5 yards Thursday. Needed 17, 17, 17, 21 and 28 on separate third downs vs. Falcons.

-- Falcons, meanwhile, converted third downs needing 6, 7, 8, 10 and 17 yards against Bucs defense in Thursday's game. 8-for-11 on third down.

-- Remember how Bucs entered Thursday needing NFL-low 5.3 yards on third downs? Averaged third-and-11.8 in loss to Falcons

-- Third-down passing stats from Thursday night: Matt Ryan 4-for-5, 70 yards, TD; Josh McCown 1/5, minus-5, INT; Mike Glennon 5/6, 29, TD.

-- Bucs have had three plays or less on 12 of their 17 first-half possessions this season. 10 punts, 4 turnovers, two at end of half, one TD. …

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Notes: McCown out with injured thumb, Glennon in

ATLANTA -- In a half where everything seemed to go wrong for the Bucs, starting quarterback Josh McCown left the game in the second quarter after injuring the thumb on his throwing hand on a sack.

McCown, who had earlier seen his fourth interception of the season returned for a touchdown by Atlanta's Kemal Ishmael, went 5-for-12 for 58 yards before the injury. He was replaced by second-year pro Mike Glennon, who started 13 games as a rookie last season.

The severity of McCown's injury was immediately known, but he did not return to the game. He said he would know more after undergoing x-rays -- he wore a protective wrap on his right hand as he talked to reporters after the game.

Glennon was 17-of-24 for 124 yards and a touchdown, and said "Down a lot, you want to put your best foot forward. We're playing for pride, to show we're going to go out and fight."

NO SHUTOUT: The Bucs trailed 56-0 in the fourth quarter -- threatening the most lopsided loss (45 points) and most points allowed (62) in team history. But Glennon threw a 3-yard touchdown to Vincent Jackson and LB Danny Lansanah returned a T.J. Yates pass for a touchdown to cut the lead to 56-14, avoiding the history books. …

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Live updates: Bucs 'embarrassed' by Falcons, 56-14

Greetings from the Georgia Dome, where the Bucs have a short turnaround to tonight's game against the Falcons as they seek their first win of the season. Key players again are out for Tampa Bay -- no Doug Martin, no Gerald McCoy, no Mason Foster, no Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and no Jeff Tedford, so Marcus Arroyo is calling the plays for a third game in a row.

12:30 p.m.: Danny Lansanah's fourth-quarter pick-six is only reason Bucs didn't suffer most lopsided loss in their history. Lots more to come in notes and quotes ...

11:15 p.m.: The Bucs have scored. Mike Glennon hits Vincent Jackson for a 3-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 56-9. Still the most lopsided margin of defeat in team history if it holds up ... 8:46 left in the fourth.

11 p.m.: We're having trouble keeping up with the Falcons scoring. Matt Ryan is done -- 21-for-24 for 286 yards and 3 TDs. His backup is still throwing and Antone Smith has a TD for a 56-0 lead. Next TD will be most points ever allowed by Bucs -- they gave up 62 to Jets in a 1985 loss. Worst margin of defeat was 45 points (twice) and that seems like a safe bet ... …

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Bucs face Falcons without RB Martin, DT McCoy

The Bucs will play in Atlanta tonight without defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and running back Doug Martin, who are inactive with injuries and will not play against the Falcons.

Two more starters will be out as expected: linebacker Mason Foster and rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who have been limited by shoulder and ankle injuries, respectively. For the third game in a row, the Bucs deactivated three young offensive linemen in guard Rishaw Johnson and rookies Kevin Pamphile and Kadeem Edwards.

Who steps up? Bobby Rainey, who had 144 yards filling in for Martin last week, gets another go against a Falcons team he rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns against last year. Dane Fletcher steps up at middle linebacker for Foster and has the task of putting the Bucs defenders in the correct position, the Bucs will use a rotation of Clinton McDonald, Akeem Spence and Da'Quan Bowers at the two defensive tackle spots. …

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Martin, McCoy 'questionable' for Falcons game

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, attempting to play despite a broken left hand, was upgraded to "limited participation" on Wednesday and is officially listed as "questionable" for Thursday night's game in Atlanta, as are RB Doug Martin and DE Michael Johnson.

Only two of the injured Bucs players are ruled out against the Falcons -- MLB Mason Foster, who dislocated his shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Rams, and rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, out since the opener with an ankle injury. Martin (knee) and Johnson (ankle) missed last week's game but were held out with the hopes of playing in Atlanta.

Six players limited by injuries are listed as probable, which translates to a 75 percent chance of playing, including three who were upgraded to "full participation" Wednesday: C Evan Dietrich-Smith (back), DE Will Gholston (shoulder) and LG Logan Mankins (knee). Also probable are DE Da'Quan Bowers (abdomen), RT Demar Dotson (hamstring) and S Bradley McDougald (knee), who all played Sunday against the Rams. …

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