The third preseason game is normally the one when most of the starters play well into the second half. For this reason, it is considered a ‘dress rehearsal’ of sorts to get ready for the season.
But Saturday night at Ray-Jay, several key Buccaneers didn’t see any action: Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander, just to name a handful. Tampa Bay lost to Cleveland, 13-9, and if you look at some of the fan posts on the Bucs’ official Facebook page, you’d think the sky is falling.
This is why preseason games are so hard to judge, and why many people would argue they’re pointless. With so many of your important players on the sidelines, it’s hard to say, “well, this would’ve happened….” if those players were on the field. And if you really want another meaningless game, I present the preseason finale against Washington on Thursday night as Exhibit A.
If there was something to take away from this game, it was the Bucs’ inability to finish off drives in the red zone – again. Three field goals just won’t cut it two weeks from now in Miami.
Just get me through to the season opener at Hard Rock Stadium on September 10th.
Here are some random thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 12-8 victory over the Jaguars in the second preseason game.
The offense looks really, really good…..for the most part. Jameis Winston sizzled in the first half, completing 21 of 29 passes and showing his ability to push the ball downfield. Of course, there was that awful pass he threw while falling down, that ended up getting picked off in the end zone. Although the INT was nullified because the refs ruled Winston was down, we can’t have Winston making too many more dumb plays like that.
Doug Martin is making a strong case that he should still be in Tampa when he returns from his suspension.
Mike Evans continues to shine, although he let a sure touchdown go right through his hands. I was also impressed with rookie tight end O.J. Howard.
The defense also looked strong, stifling the Jacksonville attack for much of the time the regulars were in there. This unit gave up a lot of big plays last year, and the secondary would’ve been burned for another TD in this contest by Allen Robinson if he had someone other than Blake Bortles as his quarterback.
Nick Folk is the guy now in the kicking game. He made 2 field goals. But he also missed one, and had one blocked. Why can’t we get someone who can make a kick?
The next preseason game is against the Browns at Ray-Jay this weekend. If you watch any exhibition game, make it this one. The third game is considered the dress rehearsal.
That didn’t take long. We have our first big headline of the season.
Roberto Aguayo, the kicker taken by the Buccaneers in the second round of last year’s draft, has been kicked off the team. The Bucs made the move after he missed a PAT and a field goal in last night’s preseason opener in Cincinnati.
I don’t think any of us fans are surprised by this. Aguayo has been scrutinized – and criticized – ever since Tampa Bay moved up in the draft to select the kicker in 2016. Last year, he missed nine field goals and two extra points. And while he did make some clutch kicks (the one to win the game at Carolina comes to mind) that was not nearly enough to save his job.
So now what? Don’t think the kicking competition is over. Currently, Nick Folk is the only kicker on the roster. But you can be sure the Buccaneers will bring in someone else to challenge him. I get the impression the team isn’t 100% sold on Folk, but we shall see.
After watching Tuesday night’s premiere of “Hard Knocks” on HBO featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I can’t wait for the rest of the season.
It was great to see the Bucs’ training camp through the lenses of NFL Films. Those people do an outstanding job during football season every year. There were the tense moments, like Dirk Koetter chewing out Jameis Winston after throwing a pick. Then, there were the personal, family stories of players like Winston and Gerald McCoy.
And then, there were the lighter moments. I got a chuckle out of Winston answering the question about whether he wanted extra Marriott points if he didn’t let housekeeping into the room. And then there were the rookies singing in front of the rest of the crowd. Chris Godwin, Riley Bullough, Antony Auclair – my goodness. And poor Maurice Fleming and Justin Evans – getting run off stage, with Doug Martin serving as a Gong Show host of sorts.
It looks like next week’s episode will focus, in part, on the kicking battle between Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk. It will likely also include great shots from the preseason opener in Cincinnati. I don’t know how the rest of the football universe is enjoying Hard Knocks so far, but I definitely am.