The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not have a good game against the Arizona Cardinals. That’s a fairly obvious conclusion to draw after a 40-7 drubbing. Which is what Pro Football Focus did, too.
Surprisingly, no Buccaneers were listed among their worst players of the week. None! That’s pretty impressive given the fact that the Bucs lost 40-7 — but then they only listed ten players there.
Of course, that’s not the only thing they said. Donovan Smith, he of the inconsistent play, graded out as the worst offensive lineman of the week. He allowed seven pressures, according to Pro Football Focus’ charting.
PFF also was unimpressed with Jameis Winston, who struggled when he was pressured — as do all quarterbacks. PFF thinks this was Winston’s worst game since week four of last season, which is probably a fair assessment — then again, this may have been the best defense he’s faced since then.
One Buc was listed among PFF’s best players of the week, though: Alterraun Verner, who started the game with two pass breakups and had a strong game all-around. There’s an argument to be made that he should be starting over Vernon Hargreaves, who’s had a few breakdowns in coverage.
When a defense coughs up 40 points to the opposition, you’re not expecting to see many strong performances, but Verner was impressive against the Cardinals. Covering primarily Michael Floyd, Verner allowed just one catch on six targets, blanking Floyd entirely on the three passes that came his way. He broke up a pair of the incompletions, too.
Of course, PFF’s coverage grades are probably the least useful part of their entire program. It’s really hard to consistently grade defensive backs because assignments are often unclear, especially when you’re grading them off of game footage rather than all-22 tape. That doesn’t mean this assessment is entirely useless though — Verner certainly seemed to play well.
Overall, none of this is particularly new. Sunday was a bad day. Most players struggled, and PFF’s grades fit what we saw in the game. Here’s to hoping next Sunday will be a little better.