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Notebook 12/18: Rams Facing Rejuvenated Buccaneers In Home Finale

Posted Dec 18, 2013

Eight weeks into the season, it appeared as if 2013 may represent a lost year in Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers opened the year winless until Week 10 against Miami, but have since been on a 4-2 run in their last six games. Despite that 0-8 start, Tampa possessed one of the league’s most talented defensive units.

“Early in the year we found ways to lose some games,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano. “It’s almost…a very strange year, but that’s the biggest thing. We’ve stuck together, no finger pointing. They’re playing for each other.”

Offensively, Tampa has been riddled with injury throughout 2013, but has seen the emergence of rookie QB Mike Glennon, who has thrown 17 touchdown passes and has been intercepted just eight times since taking over as the team’s starter in the fourth game of the season. Glennon has benefited greatly from the contributions of veteran wideout Vincent Jackson, who recently surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the fifth time in his career.

Given the Buccaneers’ recent turnaround, there may not be a more dangerous 4-10 team in the league.

“They were close in some games despite the fact that they lost eight straight, then they win four out of their last six and beat some good football teams,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “They hung in there. Their defense is playing with discipline. They’re getting a lot of turnovers. They run the football and the quarterback’s throwing the ball well, so it’s a talented team. It’s a very dangerous team at the end of the season.”

News and Notes:

-Zac Stacy continues his pursuit of a 1,000-yard rushing season, which would be just the third ever in Rams history joining Eric Dickerson in 1983 and Jerome Bettis in 1993. He enters Sunday with 854 yards on the ground.

-Schiano was particularly complimentary of the recent work of Rams DE Robert Quinn during his Wednesday conference call with St. Louis media.

“Robert’s playing at an elite level, there’s no doubt about it,” Schiano said. “You look at his 15 sacks, seven forced fumbles – that’s pretty incredible stuff, seven forced fumbles, think about that. So, you better know where he is. (Buccaneers T) Donald Penn will be matching up with him. We’ll help him out some, but you can’t help a guy all the time. Donald’s a veteran offensive tackle. I know he’s looking forward to the challenge, so we’re going to have to do a bunch of things. You’re not going to stop him the way he’s playing right now, but certainly we’d like to make sure he doesn’t take over the game.”

-QB Kellen Clemens is closing in on a new career-high in passing yards. He needs  172 yards on Sunday to surpass his 2007 career-best total of 1,529 while starting eight games for the New York Jets.

Injury Report

Rams:

WR Tavon Austin (ankle) and RB Daryl Richardson (thigh) did not practice.

Buccaneers:

G Carl Nicks (foot) did not practice. DE Da’Quan Bowers (knee), S Mark Barron (hamstring), WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and G Davin Joseph (knee) were limited. LB Lavonte David (hamstring) and DT Akeem Spence (wrist) had full participation Wednesday.