Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL | Buccaneers take on Ravens, seek first home victory under Lovie Smith

TAMPA -- Judging by his words, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith is a person who sees good in everything, including his own football team.

Since the start of camp, Smith has preached that the Bucs are not into rebuilding and that the time to win his now.

Based on those words, it's safe to say Smith never expected to be 1-5 heading into the team's bye week after Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

He is still singing praises, though you don't know whether it's just to keep things positive.

But if the underdog Bucs can't get a win against Baltimore, they will have five

losses in six games. So Smith has to be disappointed or he was being coy about his public assessment.

"I know what our record says, but before those wins come, you have to take care of the other things. And I realized how many penalties we had this past week (at New Orleans), but that's not who we are," Smith said. "I see progress. We're getting healthier, and this is probably as close to the team that we started the season off with as we've had in quite awhile. We're playing better ball in so many areas."

The Bucs' anemic rushing attack doesn't figure to find a cure against Baltimore, which ranks eighth against the run, allowing 91.4 yards per game.

The Bucs are one of 10 teams in the NFL averaging fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground (90.4). Tampa Bay ranks 30th out of 32 teams in total offense (295.4 per game) and is one of only three teams averaging fewer than 300 total yards per game.

A big disappointment has been Doug Martin, who hasn't come close to his dazzling 2012 rookie season and is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry.

There have been all kinds of theories tossed around about Martin's lack of production, but no one has found an answer, except to move backup Bobby Rainey into the starting role. Smith has praised Martin for his blocking, and Rainey is prone to fumble.

"It's just everybody doing their job. Whether it's me as a running back, the O line, the tight ends, or the receivers blocking downfield, everybody has to do their job," Martin said. "It takes a whole unit to run the ball; it doesn't take one guy. It can't be just the line or the tight ends or the combo blocks with the line and the tight ends."

If the Ravens have a weakness, it's their secondary, which affords Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon another opportunity to show he is indeed the Bucs quarterback of the future and that future is now.

The Ravens rank 26h in pass defense, but Baltimore is the strongest defense Glennon has faced since replacing the injured Josh McCown and taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints.

Assessments of Glennon have been all over the place, from franchise quarterback to mediocre. Tampa Bay's hall of fame linebacker Derrick Brooks gave Glennon a C- last week, criticizing his inability to be consistent, and former Bucs quarterback Shaun King gave Glennon a C+.

This will be Glennon's toughest test. He has shown poise in his two starting assignments and says he is not fazed by the criticism he receives regarding his lack of mobility.

"I'm not the fastest guy in the world, but I can step up in the pocket, I can roll out and make a play down the field. As far as I am concerned, that's all you need as a quarterback," Glennon said." Obviously, it's a bonus when you can move around as well as some of these other guys, but as long as you can move a little and create a lane to throw, that's the most important thing. All these comparisons to these athletic quarterbacks, but I'll just stick to who I am."

The Bucs' problems go beyond quarterback. They were undisciplined last week in being assessed 15 penalties and are allowing teams to convert 48 percent of their third-down opportunities compared to the league average of 42.1 percent. More disturbingly, the Bucs are allowing 31.2 points per game compared to the league average of 23.3 per game.

Since the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl season, when they allowed 12.3 points per game, they've allowed more than 30 points per game just once (2011).

A big disappointment has been free-agent defensive-end acquisition Michael Johnson, who has contributed virtually nothing, though he is dealing with injuries.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, similar in height and mobility to the 6-foot-6 Glennon, also has had his struggles. But he has had a run game to help, led by Justin Forsett, who has forced 16 missed tackles and ranks seventh in yards after contact.

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