The Bucs’ situation on the offensive line has gotten a lot of attention this week.
First, there was word that the team invited former Miami guard Richie Incognito to Tampa for a tryout. That sent shivers down me. Yes, they need help up front, but why would you do it with a player with a rap sheet that includes the Dolphins’ bullying scandal among other things?
Then on Tuesday, my nerves calmed down considerably when the Buccaneers acquired six-time Pro Bowler Logan Mankins from the Patriots in exchange for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 draft pick.
Mankins was a beast in Foxboro. Being from New England, I can say truthfully that he was well-liked and respected around these parts. He will definitely bring stability to the Bucs offensive front, even if he is over 30 years old. The Bucs needed to do something in their attempt to better protect Josh McCown, and this helps a lot.
A lot of Patriots fans up here are shocked by this move. For New England, all is not lose. Wright had a decent season on a horrendous team last year. Now, he’s going to be catching balls from Tom Brady.
Still, I think this is an excellent move by the Bucs. Don’t expect to see Mankins play in the final preseason game Thursday night. But he should be ready to go for the season opener on September 7.
Oh, and a final memo to Love Smith and Jason Licht: don’t even think about signing Incognito.
Here are some thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 27-14 victory over the Bills in their third preseason game.
OFFENSE KEEPS IMPROVING
This unit keeps getting better. After a sloppy start, the offense rebounded for a more-than-respectable first half. Josh McCown had his best performance of the preseason: 13-16, 112 yards and a 24-yard touchdown pass to rookie Mike Evans. Unlike last week, Evans hung onto the ball this time. Doug Martin also found the end zone from one yard out. McCown also led an 82-yard scoring drive, something else the team had been lacking until now. The Bucs scored 24 points in the first half. Let that sink in for a moment.
DEFENSE DOMINANT AGAIN
The defense was stingy once again, holding Buffalo to just 82 yards in the first half. But for first time this preseason, we saw their ability to create turnovers: three of them in fact. Clinton McDonald returned a fumble for a touchdown. Dashon Goldson picked off E.J. Manuel. Lavonte David forced a fumble which set up Martin’s TD run. You know Lovie Smith, who prides himself on forcing takeaways, was pleased with the effort.
The Bucs wrap up the preseason on Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.
Here are some thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 20-14 loss to Miami in the second preseason game.
*THE OFFENSIVE LINE IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS.
The line did play better than it did last week in Jacksonville, but that’s not saying much. Still, Doug Martin had a bit more room to run on this night, and Josh McCown did have considerably more time in the pocket. He hit Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone for Tampa Bay’s first touchdown of the game. McCown outplayed Mike Glennon.
*IF THE DEFENSIVE LINE STAYS HEALTHY, WE WON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS UNIT AT ALL.
Gerald McCoy looks like a beast out there again this year. His sack of Ryan Tannehill in the second quarter set up the aforementioned touchdown. The first-team defense has not allowed a touchdown through the first two games. Yes, it’s only preseason, but it’s definitely an encouraging sign.
*MIKE EVANS MAKES HIS DEBUT.
We got a glimpse of what the first-round draft pick is capable of doing. After catching a short pass from Glennon, he broke a tackle, raced down the left sideline for a big gain. But he fumbled before crossing the goal line. Evans said after the game he made a rookie mistake. As long he learns from it in time for opening day…
Next week, the Bucs travel to Buffalo to play the Bills. The third preseason game is considered the dress rehearsal – the game when the starters play the longest. So it will be an important game to follow.
Here’s a quick look back at the positives – and negatives – from the Buccaneers’ 16-10 loss to the Jaguars in their first preseason game Friday night.
If the defensive line is going to play like this on opening day, then there’s a lot to be hopeful for. With Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn leading the way, they stifled the Jags’ first-team offense. And the defense as a whole didn’t allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The line did a great job of getting after the quarterback and shutting down the running game.
If the offensive line is going to play like this on opening day, then the Bucs are in trouble – BIG trouble. Josh McCown and Mike Glennon spent most of the night either running their lives or lying flat on their backs. The running game never got going because there were very few holes. And when the Bucs did manage to create a positive play, a flag against the guys up front wiped it out. If the Bucs don’t figure out a solution for this quickly, it’s going to be another long year, regardless of how well the defense plays.
McCown wins this award for his performance. Yes, pass protection was a big problem. But he also put the ball on the turf. And then there was the floater to Winston Guy that went for a 68-yard touchdown. Yes, Guy plays for Jacksonville. McCown is still the starter, of course. But he needs to make better decisions than that if he wants to keep his job.
The Bucs will host the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.
Who’s ready for another season of Buccaneers football?
Count me in.
With training camp underway, Derrick Brooks officially enshrined in Canton and the start of the preseason just days away, Bri is back.
As you can see, the site has gotten a bit of a facelift – a small one, but a few changes nonetheless. The biggest one is the new address: buccaneerbri.com. It is still a work in progress, but we’ll be adding a few cosmetic changes in the weeks to come in preparation for the start of the regular season.
Thanks for visiting, and here’s to a great 2014 season of Bucs’ football.