now halfway through the preseason, and training camp is officially over. The Bucs are 1-1 in the preseason, having
beaten the Dolphins, 16-14, on Friday night at Ray-Jay. Here are some takeaways from that game:
headline may be what happened at the very end of the game, when rookie kicker
Matt Gay nailed a 48-yarder to win it.
It’s looking more and more like Gay is going to be Tampa Bay’s kicker,
even though Cairo Santos hasn’t done anything bad to justify losing his
job. The rookie has opened eyes with his
also a solid performance by Ryan Griffin, who saw the most action of any of the
Bucs’ quarterbacks. Granted, he was
playing against Miami’s backups, but the backup QB job is up for grabs, despite
Blaine Gabbert’s familiarity with Bruce Arians’ system.
Winston only played one series for the second straight game. Let’s just skip over him for now.
biggest concern may not be the defense, but the offensive line. Penalties are also a big problem right
now. Arians needs to get this fixed.
game is Friday night against Cleveland.
This is the so-called “dress rehearsal,” when the starters tend to play
the longest. The third preseason game is
always the one to watch.
courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Judging a preseason game is so difficult. You ignore the final score, and try instead
to focus on who shined, and who didn’t.
It’s even tougher when a lot of the starters either play very little, or
not at all. That said, here are some
thoughts from the Bucs’ 30-28 loss to the Steelers in the preseason opener.
Jameis Winston, who’s looked on-and-off during training
camp, was definitely on in this game. He
led Tampa Bay on 12-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to
Chris Godwin. With Adam Humphries gone,
Godwin is now the #2 receiver behind Mike Evans. The drive was a nice mix of running the ball
(yes, they actually ran it effectively) and passing.
The first-team defense only saw limited action, and wasn’t
facing the Steelers’ starters, including Ben Roethlisberger, so it’s hard to
judge this unit. They have been making
quite a few plays in camp. Any
improvement these days would be considered a plus.
The battle that intrigues me the most is for kicker. It’s rookie Matt Gay against the guy who
finished last year, Cairo Santos. On
Friday night, Gay made his only attempt, from 55 yards out. He and Santos have both been lights out in
training camp. Let me reiterate that:
the kickers are actually making kicks.
It will be interesting to see who wins the job. Right now, it’s a toss-up.
In case you missed it: Vita Vea will miss several weeks with
a knee injury. At least he’s not out for
the season. The Bucs also released offensive
lineman Evan Smith, who spent the last five seasons in Tampa.
Next up: the Dolphins at Ray-Jay on Friday night.
Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers