TAMPA — At the very least, the Bucs would like to be able to evaluate rookie quarterback Mike Glennon this season. But it's not a question of how well he plays. It's a question of how much his offensive line allows him to play.
"It makes it more difficult, but what I try to evaluate is when he can play quarterback," coach Greg Schiano said. "So when he's able to play the position, how is he doing? When he's not able to play the position, he can't do anything about that. Not that he's perfect when he is able to play the position, but he's been pretty good."
Glennon was sacked seven times in Sunday's 23-13 loss to the Rams, including three by defensive end Robert Quinn. In one of the poorest performances by the Bucs offensive line this year, the rushing attack gained 59 yards on 23 carries. The Bucs have allowed 21 sacks in the past five games.
"We played one of our lesser games up front this season which affected us in the run game as much as in the pass game." Schiano said.
Glennon finished 16-of-26 passing for 158 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and the Bucs gained a season-low 170 total yards.
Even so, the Bucs only trailed by a touchdown with just over three minutes to play.
"Look, 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. "We're not at full force but who cares? We had a chance to win that game. We get down in the red zone twice and come away with field goals instead of touchdowns. Period. End of conversation.
"Right now we're not scoring a lot of points. We had chances, we had opportunities. It's not an ideal set up right now. That's too bad. Find a way to win and we didn't. That's on me."
Quinn had his way with the Bucs and left tackle Donald Penn. Tampa Bay committed backs and tight ends to help on Quinn, but they didn't always execute their chips and blocks, Schiano said.
Sunday night, Penn tweeted, "let a lot of #bucs fans down 2nite I apologize a lot went n2 that not making excuses but I gotta play better no matter the circumstances."
Schiano said Sunday night he was eager to watch the tape and determine what was responsible for the breakdown in protection. Monday he said there wasn't a quick fix.
"Watching the tape, certainly we struggled running the football," Schiano said. "We did pop a few runs, but the consistency was the issue. Protecting the passer was a big problem. I'm telling you the obvious. If we're helping and we're chipping with a back, we didn't do a great job of surgically chipping on the defensive end and then leaking out into our route. Other times we did do a good job of doing it exactly right and in that instance, we didn't protect as well."
Sunday's finale is at New Orleans. The Saints need a win to ensure at least a wild-card spot and coach Sean Payton said he plans to approach the game as if it were a playoff. The Saints are ranked fourth in total defense under coordinator Rob Ryan.
"There were a lot of things that went into it, but at the end of the day, it was the seven sacks, certainly that was an issue," Schiano said of Sunday's loss.