Unless something drastic happens in the Buccaneers’ final preseason game against the Redskins, we will not be writing a recap about it. Preseason game #4 is the most meaningless of the bunch. We will keep an eye our for significant injuries, etc. But with the starters likely sitting out a large chunk (if not all) of the game, we will resume our coverage next week, in the days leading up to the season opener against the Jets.
You know the drill when it comes to these preseason games: ignore the final score. Yes, the Buccaneers beat the Dolphins on Saturday night, 17-16. But if you’re a Tampa Bay fan, you can’t be happy with what you saw, especially from the starting offense.
Start with Josh Freeman. He was only 6 for 16 for 59 yards. He lost a fumble that just flat-out fell out of his hand as he was trying to throw. He was sacked five times. You can blame the sacks on a combination of Freeman holding the ball too long, a few dropped passes, and another woeful performance by the offensive line. Davin Joseph saw his first action after missing all of 2012 with a knee injury. But Carl Nicks didn’t play because of a staph infection that affected him and kicker Lawrence Tynes. RB Doug Martin was also held out of action because of an injury in last week’s game against the Patriots.
Injuries aside, the performance of the Tampa Bay offensive starters has not been pretty through three games. And they probably will not see a lot of action in the final preseason game because, well, that’s generally how it goes in the exhibition finale.
We still haven’t seen Darrelle Revis play a single down in the preseason, either. On this night, the defense played alright, especially in the Red Zone.
Still, Freeman’s performance is the thing you take away from this game, and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. He’s going to hear boos from the crowd at Ray-Jay if this trend continues.
Photo Courtesy: tampabay.com
Relax. It’s only preseason. At least that’s what I try to keep telling myself.
But it’s hard to find anything joyous about the way the Buccaneers’ starters have played over the first two preseason games.
On Friday night against the Patriots, Josh Freeman was sacked three times in just eight plays. Doug Martin left the game with an injury that, fortunately, doesn’t appear too serious (for what it’s worth, he tweeted “No Worries!!!”) The secondary, worst in the NFL last season, looked every bit like the 2012 group that gave up more passing yards than any other team. For those who actually care about the final score of meaningless games, the Bucs lost to the Pats, 25-21.
I know, I know. Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer, and looked like one on Friday night. There’s no argument there.
Darrelle Revis didn’t play; he should help the secondary. We also didn’t see Carl Nicks or Davin Joseph along the offensive line. They will surely help the pass protection and running game. But there will always be that uncertainty until we actually see these guys back on the field making plays. If everything clicks in three weeks in the Meadowlands, all will quickly be forgotten.
Next week, the Bucs face the Dolphins in Miami. The third preseason game is typically the “dress rehearsal” where the starters play the longest. We shall see.
Photo Courtesy: ctpost.com
So the final score of the first preseason game was Ravens 44, Buccaneers 16. Ignore that, as hard as it may be. The most important thing: there were no key injuries. Let’s take a look at some individual performances, since the starters saw very little action:
Josh Freeman only played two series. One of them ended with a field goal. He finished 4-of-7 for 34 yards.
Rookie Mike Glennon got most of the work. He threw for 169 yards and an interception. After his first completion was good for 61 yards, he looked like…well, a rookie…for the rest of the night. Glennon is battling for the backup QB job with Dan Orlovsky.
The starting defense played fairly well. Lavonte David had a sack. Danny Gorrer had a pick. Darrelle Revis did not play. I can only hope he’ll be ready for the season opener against the Jets.
Derek Dimke was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals. This position has gotten a lot more attention after the Bucs lost Connor Barth for the season. Dimke is battling Lawrence Tynes for the starting job. Tynes did not play.
Special teams were awful. There was a muffed punt by Chris Owusu. Chas Henry had a punt blocked in the end zone. Both led to Baltimore touchdowns. In all, the Bucs committed four turnovers. And while the starters were out of the game for most of the mistakes, they are still troubling for Greg Schiano.
The Bucs face the Patriots next Friday night in Foxboro.
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images
Pro Football Hall of Fame, meet Mr. Sapp.
On Saturday night, Warren Sapp became just the second Buccaneer to be enshrined in Canton (Lee Roy Selmon is the other.) Sapp was one of seven players to be inducted into the Hall.
He joined the Bucs in 1995 when the team was awful. Two years later, Tampa Bay was in the playoffs. In 1999, he was there in St. Louis when the Bucs played in (and nearly won) the NFC Championship game. And on January 26, 2003, he was celebrating a Super Bowl title on the field in San Diego with John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and the rest of his teammates. Expect to see Brooks in the Hall next year.
Sapp’s career was defined by his relentless pass rush, and sacks – a lot of them. He finished his career having taken down quarterbacks 96.5 times (some of those came with the Raiders.) He was also known for having a big mouth; there’s no denying that. I will never forget all of the times he and Brett Favre were seen yapping it up. Those who had to line up against him will argue that Sapp’s mouth went a bit too far. Such is life.
Warren Sapp will be inducted into Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Monday night against the Dolphins on Nov. 11.
To see Warren Sapp’s entire Hall of Fame speech, click here.
Photo Courtesy: AP