Just one day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were defeated 31-23 in Atlanta to fall to 0-6 on the season, they received some more unfortunate news. Running back Doug Martin suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Sunday. Martin, who is averaging about 3.7 yards per carry this season, will miss the rest of this season. Tampa Bay has already had a tough year in terms of their locker room situation and team chemistry. They spent the first few weeks of the season battling with Josh Freeman over a multitude of issues, ultimately resulting in the quarterback’s release. Since then, three players currently on the team’s roster picked up the MRSA virus, Dashon Goldson received two fines for illegal hits and the team has suffered many other injuries.
At this point, it is not far-fetched to believe that head coach Greg Schiano could be out by the end of this season. Schiano is in just his second season with the team, but when he was bought in from Rutgers, the Bucs’ head office expected a lot more from him than a 7-15 overall record. The Bucs’ had high hopes for this team when bringing in Schiano, and the hopes were especially high this year, but the 0-6 start has quickly diminished any hope for this Tampa Bay team. While Schiano clearly has had a tough team to handle, some of the blame has to be given to Schiano. He has not had any control over this locker room since he came in, and as is well known, what happens off the field translates onto it.
With there only being three winless teams left, is it possible that a team who looked so promising towards the end of last season could be the worst in the NFL? One thing is for sure, the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars are not exactly ideal company. It’s hard to make an argument that Tampa is the NFL’s most woeful club thus far, (although they are currently in last place in the league standings) especially when considering the team’s defensive success against the rush. But, with the Doug Martin injury and Mike Glennon behind center, will Tampa Bay finish as the league’s worst?
Take into consideration the upcoming schedule of the Buccaneers and compare it to the other bottom four teams in the league, the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars. Seven of the Bucs’ ten remaining games are against teams that are currently at .500 or above. Those seven teams include the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. It’s hard to see Tampa Bay winning any of those games the way they are playing right now. The only games that seem winnable on their remaining schedule is a Week 14 -against the Bills at home and a Week 16 match-up in St. Louis against the Rams, who will now be without Sam Bradford for the remainder of the season. The Vikings and Giants are the only other teams that have very strong schedules coming up, and with Jacksonville’s recent play, you have to think that they’re going to grab their first win soon.
So that still leaves Tampa Bay 31st in the league in total offense and 13th in total defense (18th in passing defense), a rookie quarterback who is 0-3 and currently has a 77.1 Passer Rating. Now it looks like their running back will most likely be rookie Mike James out of the University of Miami who will try to work with a struggling offensive line. Things certainly aren’t looking up for Tampa.
I do suspect that by the end of the season the NFL’s worst team will be either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Jacksonville Jaguars. The question is, will the NFL’s worst team be 0-16? With no wins guaranteed, even against the vastly improving Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay very well could have the second win-less season in NFL history.