Bucs Week 5: Final Analysis

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reeling a bit after their Week 5 loss to Denver. Get the final word on the defeat, including player updates and position grades for the game.

Among the things Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is not pleased with is the Bucs' play in the red zone. Tampa Bay was inside the Broncos 20-yard three times on Sunday and came away with two field goals and a touchdown. Griese missed a wide open Jerramy Stevens in the end zone.

"You know, we've missed some open targets," Gruden said. "We missed Stevens wide open yesterday. We scored in the red zone on another possession and then we had another drive late in the two-minute drill. So, yeah, I was pleased yesterday. We like to score touchdowns, but you got to make plays down there when you get the opportunity."

Rookie Dexter Jackson took another step backward on Sunday in the return game. He didn't have many chances on kickoffs, but he misplayed a punt that rolled nearly 20 yards, pinning his team inside the 10-yard line.

"The Green Bay game he played pretty good now," Gruden said. "He played pretty good in the Green Bay game. All the kick-offs really with the exception of one were bolted eight, 10, 12 yards in the end zone. He's capable. He's a talent. He's done some good things. He has some areas that we'd like to see more from, but he's a work in progress and we got a lot of confidence in him."

The Carolina Panthers certainly have coach Jon Gruden's attention. "They're nasty man," Gruden said. "They're really good."


QB Brian Griese has a right elbow bruise and a shoulder strain. He will be questionable for Sunday's game against Carolina.

QB Jeff Garcia will start on Sunday against Carolina if Brian Griese is unable to play, according to coach Jon Gruden.

WR Joey Galloway, who has missed the last three games with a foot sprain, will be questionable for Sunday's game against Carolina. But there is a chance he could return to the lineup.

LB Barrett Ruud has a right knee sprain he suffered in the fourth quarter against the Broncos Sunday. He says he expects to play against the Panthers.

LB Adam Hayward or LB Matt McCoy will replace Barrett Ruud at MLB if he is unable to play due to a knee sprain.

FB B.J. Askew has a hamstring tear and is not expected to play against the Panthers Sunday.

G Davin Joseph made his first start of the year Sunday at Denver after missing nearly six weeks with a broken bone in his foot. He played the entire game.


PASSING OFFENSE: D -- The Bucs were not prepared to face a Broncos defense that rushed three on 23 plays and played a soft zone. QB Brian Griese was sacked three times and failed to get his team in the end zone. Penalties were a problem. The Bucs had three false starts and a holding penalty.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-- The only problem with the running game is that Gruden didn't stay with it. Against a three-man front, the Bucs had their way on the ground. RB Earnest Graham averaged 5.9 yards per carry but only had 10 chances. Warrick Dunn had 74 yards on 11 carries.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Put it this way: Jay Cutler nibbled. He finished with 227 yards and a touchdown. But most of it was Cutler being patient against the Bucs zone scheme. But the Bucs produced no turnovers, with DE Kevin Carter dropping an INT.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Again, the Bucs did a decent job against the run. But they were hurt by fellow teammate Michael Pittman, particularly in short-yardage on third down. Pittman ran very physical and led the Broncos with 39 yards on six carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Matt Bryant remained perfect, nailing two field goal attempts, and P Josh Bidwell did a good job of changing field position. But rookie Dexter Jackson still hasn't learned to by physical on kickoff returns, and he allowed a punt to roll about 20 yards.

COACHING: D-- Jon Gruden spent the week preparing for man-to-man coverage. The Broncos played zone and Tampa Bay didn't adjust. He didn't stick with the running game. He didn't take a shot in the end zone near the end of the first half. Bad day for the coach.

Bucs Blitz Top Stories