The Bucs offensive line struggled on Sunday – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
The Tampa Bay Bucs picked up their most lopsided win since trouncing the Philadelphia Eagles 45-17 last year. Sunday’s 36-10 beating of the Chicago Bears wasn’t without a few groaner moments, though. There weren’t many, which was a nice change of pace, but check out this edition of PewterReport.com’s Most Disappointing list.
C BEN GOTTSCHALK
Was the 24-year-old thrust into a tough situation Sunday? Yes. Did he handle it well? Not exactly.
Tampa Bay activated Gottschalk from the practice squad Saturday because center Joe Hawley and left guard Kevin Pamphile were out with injuries. When backup center Evan Smith was lost to a knee injury midway through the first quarter, Gottschalk went in to finish out the game.
Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman took advantage of Gottschalk and rookie Caleb Benenoch at left guard. One particularly rough sequence came during a third-quarter drive. Gottschalk getting beaten badly on consecutive plays resulted in quarterback Jameis Winston getting sacked for a 15-yard loss followed by running back Doug Martin getting hit in the backfield for a 1-yard loss. On the first play of the next drive Gottschalk looked to have issues with the snap and the Bucs were whistled for a false start.
RT DEMAR DOTSON/LT DONOVAN SMITH
The Bucs bookends just aren’t having good seasons and the troubles continued Sunday.
Both had their moments looking flat-footed and slow as Bears defenders swept into the offensive backfield, contributing to Chicago’s four sacks, five quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss.
Of the Bucs’ nine total penalties, four were committed by tackles. Three went to Dotson (two holds and a false start) and one to Smith (illegal use of hands).
A tough job gets even tougher when an offensive line is trying to function as one with two new pieces, but confidence in Dotson and Smith continues to waver each week.
LB KWON ALEXANDER
Scrutiny this week was directed at linebacker Lavonte David and his decline in production playing in coordinator Mike Smith’s defense.
According to Smith and head coach Dirk Koetter, David’s role as a tackling machine has been tweaked a bit and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is now the man to rack up takedowns.
That didn’t quite happen Sunday, even though Chicago ran 20 times for 122 yards and Jordan Howard hit the century mark on 15 attempts. Alexander finished third on the team with only five tackles (four solo and one assisted).
The high-motor, second-year linebacker did recover a fumble caused by defensive end Noah Spence’s strip-sack of Cutler in the second quarter, but the Bucs need him to be a much more disruptive force.
WR CECIL SHORTS III
Well, Shorts caught more than one pass in a game for the first time as a Buccaneer. That’s a plus, but the total was only two.
Shorts continues to underwhelm, despite catching a 22-yard pass Sunday against Chicago and finishing with 38 yards. He was targeted five times and only caught two passes, meaning he now has four catches on 15 targets as a Buc. That’s a catch rate of 26.7 percent. Terrible.
Included in Shorts’ day was his involvement in Winston’s lone interception. To Shorts’ credit, Winston threw behind him. Not uncatchable, but behind him. Shorts did not catch the pass, tipping it back to Bears defensive back Harold Jones-Quartey.
Nuts to say Gottschalk was disappointing. I thought he played good. He came into the 2nd series when Evans went down. If you remember the first series was 3 and out. Come on Man; you’re reaching.
If you watch again and pay attention Horse you’ll see him getting whipped multiple times, including one series where he had back to back misses. I get it, he did okay for a guy coming off the practice squad, but I can assure you he will not grade out well at all.
Mark, just about every OL gets whipped from time to time. The guy just came off the PS and based on that I believe he did good with much more improvement yet to be seen. You list no defensive linemen, but they ran up the middle like nothing and passed up the middle 10-15 yard range because Coach Smith wasn’t blitzing yet when all that was going on in the first half.
Also I know I have been stating for weeks that Gottschalk is better than Hawley and Smith and I guess I just was surprised the way you saw it than what I saw. I guess we just disagree on your choice as seeing him as disappointing.
Mark – what you’re doing in calling him out is the equivalent of beating a puppy because he peed on your carpet.
Gottschalk was not good Horse. He got beat like a drum on lots of plays resulting in Winston getting sacked and running for his life. Yes it could have been worse taking a rookie off practice squad but hardly played good or great.
fredster, I guess we just have to disagree.
I don’t care about Gottschalk. Donovan needs to move inside and Dotson needs to go.
Thank god our kicker wasn’t on this list.
I’d also include Lavonte David for being a $10 Million ghost out there. Luckily it didn’t hurt us. Kwon needs to get better, no doubt as well. The offensive tackles are getting JW killed out there. I’ll be honest, I believe D Smith is a right tackle and I believe Dotson has no place on this team after the year. I believe the ultimate plan on the O-line should be a great LT, and another Guard. Inevitably I believe Ali Marpet will be our center long term. O-line has gotta get better.
Totally agree Michael.
I have to give the new linemen a bit of a break, however we need an upgrade at center over all three we have right now. If Sweezy ever plays maybe he can stay at RG, and move Marpet to center. Dot, and Smith have to go. I think Smith might be better suited on the right side, which means we need to use a premium pick on a left tackle. It’s the second most important position next to Q.B. on offense. The biggest knock on both David, and Alexander coming out was their size. In the run game, if they don’t get there with their speed, they are easily over powered by guards. Bringing down power backs is also a problem. Kwon can never be a Ray Lewis type MLB, just to small in my opinion. Fans wondering where David has been should take into consideration his size, and the pounding he’s taken over the years. As he slows down with age even the slightest, he can’t rely on power, and size.
I hate to dump on my friend Horse and his on-going pimping of relative unknown Ben Gothchalk; but Horse, this guy was not ready for prime time and neither was OG Caleb Benenoch. . See Doug Martin getting stuffed? I don’t think their issue was lack of talent, the offensive line just wasn’t as cohesive with both in there at the same time. Demar Dotson, as the elder statesman of the group, is by far the worst. Since so many complain about Donovan Smith I paid a little more attention to him this week. Yes, he got the one penalty, but he held up most of the time. With his size maybe he is better suited for the right side. He is only halfway through his second season.
As much as I like Doug Martin, his long awaited return was less than expected. There was absolutely no room to run with the way the O-line was playing.
Scubog, of course Gottschalk has lots to learn, but I was more pushing for him to challenge the Center position next season and hope he gets to the Active Roster and get some playing time; he has and is accopolishing that. Neither Smith or Hawley are the long term answer; maybe Gottschalk isn’t either, but I sure would like to see him in a couple more games.
Frankly, it’s ridiculous to both blame third stringer subs for not performing like starters, and also to blame the middle linebacker – the quarterback of the entire defense on its finest defensive performance in many years – for “not getting enough tackles”.
It is true that tackles are A measure of a linebacker’s performance … but they are far from the ONLY measure. And they simply do not account for the MLB’s role in our defense of lining up all the players to do their jobs.
In my opinion, not a single member of the Defense deserves ANY mention ANYWHERE
hit return button accidentally …
In my opinion, not a single member of our Bucs Defense deserves ANY mention ANYWHERE on any post having to do with most disappointing players. Not after yesterday’s masterful performance, which looked an awful lot like the old Dungy/Gruden defenses of old that won us many playoff games and a Super Bowl.
I don’t think we can really fault Gottschalk and Benenoch when they were thrown into the fire like that. I didn’t think they did all that bad considering. Our tackles on the other hand…what more can I say that hasn’t been said EVERY WEEK about these 2. They are easily the weakest links on the O-line. As suggested, I’d say move Smith to G and either draft a new LT or let Pamphile take over.
This was a great game for us all around. The only glaring deficiency was our tackles. I don’t think Kwon deserves to be on this list either. He didn’t have many tackles but he was in command of this defense all night.
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