Short Week Another Challenge For Winless Bucs
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have long to dissect their latest mistake-filled loss and make corrections.
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon only has three days to prepare for Thursday night’s start against NFC South rival Carolina, and he’ll likely have to try beat the Panthers without injured running back Doug Martin.
Martin hurt his left shoulder during last weekend’s 31-23 loss to Atlanta. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Monday that it “probably will be a stretch” for the second-year pro to make the short turnaround and face Carolina.
Martin was a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie year ago, rushing for 1,454 yards and ranking third in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson in total yards from experience.
With Josh Freeman struggling at quarter the first three games of the season and Glennon throwing the ball a league-record 130 times over the first three starts of his career, Martin hasn’t been nearly as effective in 2013. He’s gained a team-leading 456 yards rushing, but is averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt and has only scored one touchdown.
Schiano had little to say about the severity of Martin’s injury.
“Had tests done on it. It probably will be a stretch Thursday, although we’ll just have to see. I wouldn’t go any further than that right now. We’ve just got to wait and see,” Schiano said.
Pressed about the nature of the injury and how long he might be sidelined, Schiano wouldn’t budge.
“I’m not going to get into specifics of exactly what his issue is. If it was season-ending I’d let you know,” the coach said. “But I don’t feel that it is right now. … We’re just going to play it by ear and go from there.”
That likely means rookie Mike James will make his first pro start against the Panthers, who have the league’s second-ranked rushing defense. Carolina also is second in pass defense and total defense. Brian Leonard could share the workload.
“They’re definitely really talented. They’re one of top defensive teams in the league statistically with how they’re playing,” Glennon said.
The QB threw for 256 yards, two TDs and no interceptions in the loss to the Falcons. But Glennon also had a sack fumble returned for a touchdown and attempted a not-so-ideal 44 passes after throwing 43 times in each of his first two starts. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw for more yards in 18 fewer attempts on Sunday.
The short week poses challenges for both teams. Cam Newton and the Panthers have won three of four, including two straight, following an 0-2 start.
“I guess there are both pros and cons to it,” Glennon said. “We both have to kind of get to our game plan right away. Luckily for us, we don’t have to travel on Wednesday and they do. I think coach is going to have a good game plan for us. He’s going to … put us in the best advantage to win.”
The Bucs have lost 11 of 12 games dating to last season, and one of the biggest reasons they remain winless this year is penalties. They had 11 for 103 yards against the Falcons.
But Schiano said losing hasn’t weaken the team’s resolve, adding “it could always be worse.”
“I don’t mean record-wise. I just mean in life, you’ve got to go with the next task at hand,” he said.
“I want to be clear on this because I don’t take lightly 0-6. I’ve never been 0-6,” the coach added. “But we do our best. We’re trying our hardest. Our guys are working … and I have found when you have good people and they work hard and they work smart it’ll turn. That’s what I believe.”
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