Joseph putting lost weekend behind him

Davin Joseph was called for four penalties last week against Seattle, perhaps his worst performance as a pro. He said all you can do in that situation is put that behind him and try to help the Bucs shore up their pass protection this weekend against New Orleans.

Davin Joseph can remember a day in college when he heard his number called that many times by an official.

But maybe not three times in four plays as it happened on Sunday.

"I was just, ‘Gosh, what's next?'" Joseph said on Wednesday.

The second-year guard, many in the Buccaneers organization believe, will be a Pro Bowl-level guard one day. But on Sunday in Seattle defensive tackle Rocky Bernard schooled the Oklahoma product as he struggled with penalties for the first time in his NFL career.

Joseph's penalty fit came late in the second quarter as the Buccaneers were beginning to struggle moving the football.

On 1st-and-10 Joseph drew a holding penalty, which the Seahawks declined because linebacker Julian Peterson sacked quarterback Jeff Garcia for a four-yard loss. Joseph did indeed throw Bernard to the ground as he was trying to get past Joseph and to Garcia.

Following a six-yard gain by running back Michael Pittman, officials flagged Joseph for a false start, costing the Bucs five yards and setting up 3rd-and-13. Certainly the crowd noise in Qwest Field had something to do with that.

Then, as Garcia threw an incomplete pass to Michael Clayton, officials called Joseph for a chop block, a penalty the Seahawks declined.

But when you look at the replay, Joseph barely blocked anyone on the play. He did block linebacker Leroy Hill, but the block was perfectly legal.

It was perhaps the worst sequence of Joseph's professional career.

But Joseph said that, at that point in the game, you can't dwell on what just happened.

"Things happen, but you can't let it hold you back," Joseph said. "Some things you can control, some things you can't control and you just have to keep on playing. That was in the second quarter and we had more football to play."

Joseph took one more penalty in the fourth quarter, a holding penalty.

Head coach Jon Gruden said on Monday that he certainly hasn't lost faith in the guard, but that Joseph has some things to correct.

"Davin had a couple of penalties, had a couple of pass sets that aren't good enough for a guy of that caliber," Gruden said. "At the same time we've got to continue to see progress that he made and we will continue to work with him."

Joseph appeared as disturbed with the Buccaneers' pass protection, which seemed to worsen as the game wore on. The Seahawks sacked Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown five times and finished with 16 quarterback hurries in the game, intolerable numbers for any offense.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, whom Joseph blocked most of the day, had a half-sack and two pressures. Joseph came away with a great deal of respect for the underrated Bernard.

"He's a dominant player," Joseph said. "He got us out of our rhythm."

Gruden pointed at the pass protection as an area of improvement for this week's game, calling it "average." He pointed out that left tackle Luke Petitgout and left guard Arron Sears were solid on the left side, while right tackle Jeremy Trueblood probably graded the best of any of the linemen.

But only Pittsburgh and Minnesota had more sacks than Seattle's five on Sunday.

"I thought at times the protection was good; we had a couple of great pass protection downs," Gruden said. "At the end of the first half, the last possession, it was poor, and a couple of times where we needed it, it wasn't good enough."

Joseph now finds himself trying to improve his own performance this Sunday, as well as that of the passing game. The Saints looked vulnerable last week against Indianapolis, but the Saints have a solid inside combination in Brian Young and Kendrick Clancy.

There isn't much time to waste, Joseph said, in fixing what's broken.

"We just have to plug up the holes," Joseph said. "We know we have to do better. That's a part of it. To have a decent passing game you have to have good pass protection. We didn't execute on a consistent basis and we have to do better."

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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