Bucs Week 1: Final Analysis

Alex Smith (Alex Brandon/AP)

Get the final word on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints, including final game notes, personnel updates and a team gradebook. Plus, link to Bucsblitz.com's premium coverage of the contest.

Each Week Bucsblitz.com will break down a key drive from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' most recent game. The Drive breaks down every play of a drive, analyzes its importance in the game and why that drive mattered to a Bucs victory or defeat. In this week's debut, Matthew Postins breaks down the drive that sealed Tampa Bay's loss to New Orleans. Get the scoop right here.


If LB Derrick Brooks (hamstring) is unable to play Sunday, then the Bucs will consider moving Cato June to weak-side linebacker and starting Quincy Black at strong-side linebacker - moves that apparently eluded them Sunday.

"We have the capability of moving people around a little bit," coach Jon Gruden said. "Let's see where Derrick is here in the next 24 hours and we'll put our contingency plan in place if need be."

WR Michael Clayton, a former first-round draft pick, was inactive for Sunday's game at New Orleans but says he could have played despite a chest bruise that limited him in practice last week. "I kind of had a hint all week," Clayton said. "But I didn't really know until we got in the locker room. It's a long season. I have to keep moving."

PLAYER NOTES

G Arron Sears had three penalties against the Saints - two holding infractions and an illegal man downfield.

WR Maurice Stovall has a neck strain and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Stovall is one of the Bucs' best special teams players.

RB Earnest Graham averaged 9.1 yards per carry and figures to get more than 10 attempts against the Falcons, coach Jon Gruden said.

KR/WR Dexter Jackson handled all the Bucs' kickoff return and punt return duties. Coach Jon Gruden thought he settled down as the game wore on.

CB Phillip Buchanon's interception return for a touchdown was the eighth TD of his career, five on interception returns.

REPORT CARD VS. SAINTS

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- QB Jeff Garcia was clearly out of synch with WR Joey Galloway and others, due to a lack of practice time. He went 2-of-12 on third down. His fourth-quarter interception ended the game deep in Saints territory.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Earnest Graham averaged 9.1 yards per carry. Warrick Dunn averaged better than six yards per carry. So why did the Bucs throw 41 times? The offensive line blocked well for the running game.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- It's uncharacteristic for the Bucs to give up big plays in the passing game. They were the top-ranked passing defense a year ago. But Tampa Bay gave up three long passing touchdowns to Saints QB Drew Brees. The lack of pressure was a factor.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Bucs allowed 103 total rushing yards to Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. Credit the front seven, which got after the Saints. S Tanard Jackson was instrumental in stopping the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Dexter Jackson looked tentative on kickoff returns early in the game. PK Matt Bryant made both field-goal attempts, which should give him a lift after missing five in the preseason.

COACHING: C -- Coach Jon Gruden was too impatient with the running game, even though the Bucs led in the game twice. The staff also didn't do a good job adjusting to the loss of Derrick Brooks.

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