Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Buccaneers review after bye, mull over possible changes

From left, guard Ted Larsen, quarterback Josh Freeman, tackle Donald Penn and the rest of the Bucs offense ranks 30th after four games.


From left, guard Ted Larsen, quarterback Josh Freeman, tackle Donald Penn and the rest of the Bucs offense ranks 30th after four games.

TAMPA — The Bucs spent the bye week losing more ground in the bottom-heavy NFC South, where three of the division's four teams have one win apiece.

So as Greg Schiano's club begins the second quarter of the season, the big question is: Does 1-3 Tampa Bay have any chance of catching the Falcons, who fattened their lead to 3 ½ games with a win at Washington to go 5-0 for the first time in franchise history?

The answer is an emphatic maybe.

"Well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for Washington this weekend," Schiano said Monday. "You know, we can't handle what (the Falcons) do. We can only handle what we do, and heck, if we had done a little better job handling it, we wouldn't even be talking about this. We can't do anything about the past, but we can do something about Sunday and that's where all my focus is right now."

That's when the Bucs host the Chiefs (1-4), who fell 9-6 to the Ravens on Sunday. Starting quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a concussion and Kansas City is preparing backup Brady Quinn to start.

After three consecutive losses to NFC East teams — the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins — by a combined 15 points, Schiano and his coaching staff spent the week reviewing everything from the previous four games.

"We evaluated a lot of things and if your evaluations are correct and your adjustments are correct, then it will help," Schiano said. "Without a doubt, giving some of the guys a rest — from July 26 until last Thursday, they had been going pretty hard, so it was good to get them a rest. Now we've got 12 straight weeks, 12 one-game seasons in a row."

Among the discoveries: Schiano is considering a change at right guard. After a knee injury ended Pro Bowl pick Davin Joseph's season, Ted Larsen has started all four games with mixed results. The Bucs are 20th in rushing offense, averaging 91 yards a game. Rookie running back Doug Martin has struggled at 3.5 yards a carry and a long run of 17 yards.

"We're moving a few guys through there,'' Schiano said. "We'll probably evaluate that some (today, when the players are off), and try to kind of lock into something. Maybe one or two guys at right guard, that's been the position that's been up in the air."

Larsen, Jamon Meredith and Cody Wallace are candidates. Schiano hoped to give tackle Jeremy Trueblood, who lost his starting job to Demar Dotson, a shot at right guard. But Trueblood had a stomach virus Monday and was unable to practice.

The Bucs also used the bye week to streamline the volume of plays heaped on the offense and quarterback Josh Freeman. Schiano also said running back LeGarrette Blount has practiced better and could have an expanded role in the final 12 games.

"We're 1-3, we could be better, we could be worse, but we are what we are," Schiano said. "We're getting better, it just hasn't been enough so far."

At this point, the Bucs are not conceding anything.

"Last year, we were 4-2, and after the bye week, everything came to an end," defensive end Michael Bennett said, referring to 10 straight losses to finish 2011. "This is a long season. That's the NFL. You can be a good team or a bad team at this point of the year. We're trying to be on top at the end of the season. It can change in a heartbeat."

Buccaneers review after bye, mull over possible changes 10/08/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 11:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Sorry, Nebraska, Scott Frost appears interested in staying at UCF

    Scott Frost has UCF undefeated with an important game at Navy next. [Getty Images]
  2. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season


    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  3. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  4. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  5. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.