Signs of life from a porous defense fueled the battle hardened youngsters to a near win against the Washington Redskins. Many had the Bucs as little more then an afterthought with a QB making his first NFL start, but through four quarters the Bucs played tough and tried to battle back for a win, after giving up the lead mid way through the third quarter on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss. The game was far from what one would call perfect, but there were brief glimpses from former first round picks that kept the game close enough to have fans believing the team could quite possibly break a 7-game losing streak dating back to the 2008 season.
Josh Johnson – While some are most likely scratching there heads with this selection, a player making his first NFL start after taking mental reps in training camp and doing just enough to keep the game close, while not totally laying a goose egg is a positive sign that with more work and reps he could actually get better. Sure he was indecisive at times and even looked down right timid, however, he did not give the game away and did just enough to give the team a chance win it in the end.
Gaines Adams – After not showing up in the teams first three games Adams found his missing mangina against the Redskins. He broke out of his early season funk with a solid all around game. He had a sack, a fumble recovery, a batted pass, two tackles for a loss, forced a holding penalty, one quarterback hit and played solid run defense while registering a total of five tackles.
Aqib Talib – Talib had been relatively quite through the first three games of the season but decided to show the world that he still has a heart beat after an off-season filled with on and off-the field incidents had many in and around the Tampa area invoking memories of another talented yet troubled DB from the past in Dwight Smith, with three interceptions and four tackles Talib showed that he is talented, but giving up a 59-yard touchdown shows that he’s still not consistent in his assignments.
This weeks honorable mention goes to, two of the teams young linebackers as both had solid games. Quincy Black registered a season high eight tackles, two tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, and dropped Jason Campbell for his first NFL sack. Geno Hayes had a much better outing against the Redskins in run defense then he showed against the Giants. He showed great burst shooting gaps. Hyaes ended the game with seven tackles and two tackles for loss.
Penalties – The offensive line was the culprit of many errors that put a young team and quarterback in unfavorable positions. With five penalties for 40 yards all being assessed to false starts of holding calls on the offensive line they did little in the way to allow Josh Johnson an opportunity to get comfortable running the offense.
Michael Clayton – After showing a brief glimpse of his rare rookie form against the Dallas Cowboys, Clayton has been held catchless in the teams past two games. With head coach Raheem Morris daring the media to write something negative about Clayton after his week one performance, it would not surprise me if some media member took Morris too task for the inept showing from Clayton over his lack of production in the passing game.
Play Calling – The reason Johnson was inserted as the starter is it broadened the teams approach to calling plays, but this observer saw very little in the way of roll outs, qb waggles, naked bootlegs and or a moving pocket. The team wants to become a downhill running team, but the only way to accomplish such a feat is too actually call running plays, with the team leading for most of the game, saw very little conviction in terms of wanting to run the football.
Mike Nugent – It’s time to start looking in dumpsters for a kicker, after missing his first two field goal attempts Sunday, Nugent is a combined 2-of-6 this season for a 33.3 % success rate, looking even further back and glancing at his numbers from the pre-season he is a combined 8-of-15 for a success rate of 53.3%. Nugent was brought in for a supposed stronger leg and offered more accuracy then the released Matt Bryant.