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Bucs' defense more disappointing than Jameis Winston

Making accurate throws from the pocket was not a problem for Mariota in Week 1. Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA, Fla. – Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston is getting the blame for the Buccaneers’ 42-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

He deserves some of it. But not all of it. There’s another culprit that played an even bigger role in the blowout.

That’s the defense. Winston is a rookie. He’s supposed to have some ups and downs. The defense isn’t.

This defense is supposed to be the strength of the team. It has All-ProsGerald McCoy and Lavonte David and a bunch of role players who are supposed to be pretty good.

So where was that defense Sunday? It didn’t show up. Tennessee rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota did pretty much what he pleased, throwing for four touchdowns in the first half.

Aren’t you supposed to put all kinds of pressure on a rookie quarterback? The Bucs barely touched Mariota.

Put the blame squarely on coach Lovie Smith. He’s supposed to be a defensive guru. He took the play-calling duties away from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier this year. Smith didn’t call many good plays on Sunday.

There’s no doubt Winston was disappointing. But the defense, which was supposed to be good, was even more disappointing.