Week 2 loss to Rams defined by injuries

Going into this week’s matchup, the team was battered. The defensive line lost two of its starters. Players were shuffled around. No-names were signed to compensate for the dwindling depth at the position. Two down. We were down a starting running back. Three down. We had just lost our $9 million cornerback for the season. Four down. It seemed our players were dropping like flies the week leading up to the meeting with our long-time foes.

Come game day we crossed our fingers and prayed to whatever gods we believed in that the injuries would stop and we wouldn’t lose anyone else crucial come game time. Losing RB Doug Martin (#22) came as a surprise to many. As late as Friday, reports indicated he would be healthy enough to play. He had practiced that week. Then Sunday the news broke: Martin was inactive for the game and RB Bobby Rainey (#43) would start.

And the injuries didn’t stop after the first snap. The first casualty come game time was DT Gerald McCoy (#93) on the first drive of the game. Five down. McCoy left the game with a hand injury, returning briefly in the second quarter and sitting out for the remainder of the game. A shame too, as this organization was highly anticipating the matchup between him and former Buccaneer G Davin Joseph. It could not have come at a worse time, as the line was already depleted due to DE Adrian Clayborn (#94) being put on Injured Reserve earlier that week and DE Michael Johnson (#90) nursing an ankle injury from the bench. DE Da’Quan Bowers‘ (#91) return that week could not have come at a better time given the depth issues and his flexibility with playing anywhere on the line.

It seemed after McCoy left the defensive line found its spark. The team’s only sacks came in the second half, when the team played with more oomph than we’ve seen in a long time. DT Clinton McDonald (#98) earned his first sack of the season on Rams QB Austin Davis (#9), the second backup-that-didn’t-play-like-a-backup the Buccaneers have faced thus far in the season. Sunday’s game was DE William Gholston‘s (#92) first after returning from injury.  He certainly made it memorable by getting the second sack against Davis.

The Bucs also lost LB and play caller Mason Foster (#59) to the first half. Six down. He was replaced by capable backup LB Dane Fletcher (#50) who helped ignite the team with a forced fumble on Rams RB Zac Stacy (#30).

And yet the injury that finished the game was probably the one that hurt the most. The Buccaneers were only trailing by 2 points. WR Mike Evans (#13) made a beautiful catch on a jump ball at the 33-yard line with 16 seconds left. On the way down he was clobbered in the back by Rams S T.J. McDonald (#25). As the rest of the offense scrambled to line up so QB Josh McCown (#12) could spike the ball, Evans struggled to get up. Seven down. As Evans struggled to get up, the clock ticked down. 11… 10… 9…. The officials blew the whistle with 8 seconds left. By rule when an injury causes stoppage in the last two minutes of a half, 10 seconds are to be run off the clock.

Bucs players and fans alike watched dejectedly as our chance at victory drained down along with those 8 seconds. Reporters noted the locker room after the game was one of the most somber they had ever encountered.

Fitting, really, that we lose that way. A week plagued by injury ends with one.

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Rams @ Buccaneers preview (AKA McCoy vs. Joseph)

Gerald McCoy vs. Davin Joseph

Davin Joseph (#69) played for the Buccaneers at right guard as a starter for 8 years. He is now starting at right guard for the Rams. He was drafted in the first round by the Buccaneers in 2006 with the 23rd pick. During his tenure with the Buccaneers he was selected to the Pro Bowl twice. He missed the 2012 season with a knee injury after signing a 7-year $52.5 million contract in 2011. He was a stalwart of our offensive line for many years until Lovie Smith was hired this year and decided to release him along with the rest of our offensive line. Many claim that Joseph’s play has declined and his salary was too high. He was slated to earn $6 million this year.

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[2014][week 1]Panthers @ Buccaneers review

LG Logan Mankins (#70) is good. That is my summation after him only playing 9 snaps before he was injured with 7:59 left in the 2nd quarter. His aggressiveness is very apparent and can be seen in only his 8th play of the game when he literally throws Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (#25) to the ground like a sack of potatoes for the crime of having the audacity of getting in Mankins’ way. Then, on the very next play, he is chasing DE Greg Hardy (#76) down the field, just to whoop his ass it appears, when the ball is intercepted and he makes the tackle. 10 yards down field. Very impressive. Getting him from the Patriots is the best transaction, of the 216 done by Lovie so far, that the Buccaneers have conducted this year. Logan Mankins is good but there is a problem: has never been on a team this bad.

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Injury Report: Week 2

The Buccaneers have released the injury report for Week 2, when the team with face the Rams. The following players were listed on the injury report:

DE Da’Quan Bowers (#91) – Abdominal injury – Questionable
T Demar Dotson (#69) – Hamstring injury – Probable
DE William Gholston (#92) – Shoulder injury – Questionable
DE Michael Johnson (#90) – Ankle injury – Out
G Logan Mankins (#70) – Knee injury – Questionable
RB Doug Martin (#22) – Knee injury – Questionable
S Bradley McDougald (#30) – Knee injury – Questionable
CB Rashaan Melvin (#28) – Ankle injury – Out
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (#87) – Ankle injury – Out

While most of the players are still listed as questionable, several have been full participants in practice at least part of the week and seem promising to return to the team Sunday. This injury report does not reflect injuries to DE Adrian Clayborn (#94) and CB Mike Jenkins (#24) who both went to Injured Reserve this week due to injuries sustained last week against the Panthers.

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OC Jeff Tedford on track to return Sunday

OC Jeff Tedford returned to One Buc Place intermittently this week and is expected to return to play calling duties this Sunday against the Rams.

“He is still on schedule,” Head Coach Lovie Smith told reporters Friday. “Nothing has changed from that.”

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Has the injury bug bit Tampa?

The injury bug has bit. Five starters appeared on Tampa’s injury report this week, with both CB Mike Jenkins (#24) and DE Adrian Clayborn (#94) being placed on Injured Reserve. An additional five backups also found themselves on the injury report creating concerns about the overall health of the team.

The defensive end position has taken a particularly hard hit this week, with four of the ten players on the injury reporting coming from that position. Losing Clayborn for the rest of the season to a biceps injury is a huge blow to the defense. On the right side of the line, $9 million DE Michael Johnson (#90) is nursing an ankle injury sustained during the Panthers game and has not practiced all week. His status for Sunday against the Rams is undetermined.

That leaves the Buccaneers with DE William Gholston (injured since Week 2 of the preseason), DE Larry English (re-signed Tuesday), DE Jacquies Smith (claimed off waivers from Buffalo on Wednesday), and DE Scott Solomon (waived Wednesday, re-signed Friday). Da’Quan Bowers (#91) is listed on the depth chart as a defensive tackle, but played as a defensive end last year and would be a good candidate to fill in at the position.

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2014 expectations for the new look Buccaneers

With the past two coaches the Buccaneers started their seasons going 3-13 behind Raheem Morris and 7-9 behind Greg Schiano. There are greater expectations for Lovie Smith as both previous Bucs coaches were new to the NFL as a head coach. Lovie has 9 years experience so it goes without saying that he should do better to start than the two previous coaches with no experience. An 8-8 season is the minimum that should be expected out of coach Lovie and the Buccaneers this year seeing as how Schiano did 7-9 in his first year. I would even go so far as to say that a 10-6 season is not out of the question. But without doubt this team should go at least 8-8.

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Buccaneers make last minute transactions ahead of season opener

In an unexpected move Saturday the Buccaneers front office made changes in both the secondary and the receiving corps. WR Louis Murphy (#11) and CB Quinton Pointer (#26) were both cut, making room for WR Solomon Patton (#86) and CB Brandon Dixon.

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OC Jeff Tedford returns to practice Friday, still game time decision

OC Jeff Tedford was spotted on the practice field at One Buc Place on Friday. Head Coach Lovie Smith reports his involvement in Sunday’s game will be made on Sunday.

“Jeff Tedford is getting better,” he said. “I know that I’ve said that each day, but he is getting better. Today he was out [at practice] – I think most you went inside into the shade and we stayed out there in the sun, he was out at practice. That’s a step in the right direction and he’ll be a game time decision.” Continue reading

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Week 1 Final Injury Report

On the eve of the Buccaneers season opener, definitive answers are finally coming to light surrounding the Buccaneers injury situation and list of players out this week has gotten smaller. The following players have been ruled out for tomorrow’s game:

DE Da’Quan Bowers (#91) – Abdominal injury
DE William Gholston (#92) – Shoulder injury
S Bradley McDougald (#30) – Knee injury
CB Rashaan Melvin (#28) – Ankle injury

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