Here are some takeaways from the Bucs’ 13-12 victory over the Browns in the third preseason game. Since this was the so-called dress rehearsal game, in which the starters play the longest, this was the most critical game before it counts for real.
Tampa Bay’s defense is going to be lightyears ahead of where it was last year. I know that’s not saying much, but new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has definitely made a difference. They kept an up-and-coming Browns team out of the end zone all night.
I’m very concerned about the offensive line. There was a lot of talk after the draft about how the Buccaneers did not address this need, and now it’s showing. There are very few holes in the running game. The pass protection is awful; Jameis Winston was sacked five times while he was in there. Yes, there is still time to fix this. But it’s hard to establish a running game when the guys up front can’t open up holes. And what difference does it make if you have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on your team if your quarterback can’t get them the ball, not to mention Winston’s inconsistencies with throwing the deep ball.
Matt Gay missed a kick. He’s human! But he responded with another game-winner. I think he’s going to win the kicking job, though veteran Cairo Santos has done nothing to hurt his own cause.
Ryan Griffin will be the Bucs’ backup QB to start the season, after Blaine Gabbert left the game with an injury. Who knows how long he’ll be out.
I will not be writing anything about the final, most meaningless-of-them-all preseason game against Dallas, unless major news happens. The opener is just two weeks away. Let’s go.
Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers