As dress rehearsals go, that was pretty darn good. I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now.
The Buccaneers excelled in their third preseason game against the Browns on Friday night, winning 30-13 at Ray-Jay.
The offense didn’t just move the ball; they pushed it down the field. Jameis Winston threw for 259 yards and two TD’s while he was in there. Mike Evans went over the century mark.
The running game struggled a bit. I’m hoping that won’t be the case two weeks from now. Doug Martin and Charles Sims can be quite the tandem if they both stay healthy and be productive.
The defense had eight sacks, including putting Robert Griffin III on his back five times. Is it plausible that the Bucs could actually have a fierce pass rush this season? That would be a nice change of pace. It was a rough night, however, for cornerback Brent Grimes, who got burned twice by Josh Gordon.
But perhaps the biggest reason to exhale was the play of the special teams. Roberto Aguayo – who’s taken a lot of heat to the extent that he was getting booed during training camp – was perfect. Six kicks – three field goals and three PAT’s – and he made them all. Praise the Lord. And his performance may have overshadowed that awesome punt return for a touchdown by Adam Humphries. I mean, how often do we see a Buccaneer return a kick of any kind to the house?
It hasn’t happened too often over the years, my friends.
Overall, there was a lot more good than bad in this game. The last preseason game is generally the most meaningless of them all, but we’ll see what develops. Only two weeks to go until Tampa Bay kicks things off for real in the Dome in Atlanta.
Here are some quick takeaways from the Bucs’ 27-21 victory over the Jaguars in the second preseason game.
First-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves III was impressive, intercepting two passes. Granted, neither one came against Jacksonville’s first-team offense, but it was good to see that from a rookie.
Tampa Bay won the game. Who cares if it’s preseason; it’s nice to see the Buccaneers in the win column, though I’ve said many times that you should ignore the final score during these silly games.
It was another sluggish start for the first-teamers, both offensively and defensively. Jameis Winston missed his first six passes and was picked off. He did throw a TD pass to Mike Evans. He finished just 3-of-10.
The defense made Blake Bortles look great. When the starters for both teams were on the field, Jacksonville was the better team.
Roberto Aguayo missed two field goals. Remember: the Bucs used a second-round pick on this guy. Can you imagine the reaction from the fans when he starts pushing – or shanking – kicks once the games count?
Again, it’s only preseason. We didn’t see Doug Martin or Gerald McCoy. Hopefully we’ll see them in the so-called dress rehearsal against the Browns on Friday night.
It’s difficult to judge a football team by one preseason game, especially one where many of the starters either hardly play or don’t play at all. Still, there are some things we can take away from Thursday night’s 17-9 loss in Philadelphia.
Are special teams going to be a problem yet again? Good teams don’t fumble away the opening kickoff. I’m looking at you, Kenny Bell.
Good teams have quarterbacks that take care of the football. I’m looking at you, Jameis Winston.
However, there were good signs. Winston bounced back after the turnover to lead a touchdown drive.
The defensive line was getting pressure on the quarterback (what a concept!) They had four sacks. You mean to tell me…that could actually be a strength this year?
But again, it’s so hard to form an opinion after one meaningless preseason game. The next one will tell us a little more, and the third one is the traditional “dress rehearsal” if you will.