Relax. It’s only preseason. At least that’s what I try to keep telling myself.
But it’s hard to find anything joyous about the way the Buccaneers’ starters have played over the first two preseason games.
On Friday night against the Patriots, Josh Freeman was sacked three times in just eight plays. Doug Martin left the game with an injury that, fortunately, doesn’t appear too serious (for what it’s worth, he tweeted “No Worries!!!”) The secondary, worst in the NFL last season, looked every bit like the 2012 group that gave up more passing yards than any other team. For those who actually care about the final score of meaningless games, the Bucs lost to the Pats, 25-21.
I know, I know. Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer, and looked like one on Friday night. There’s no argument there.
Darrelle Revis didn’t play; he should help the secondary. We also didn’t see Carl Nicks or Davin Joseph along the offensive line. They will surely help the pass protection and running game. But there will always be that uncertainty until we actually see these guys back on the field making plays. If everything clicks in three weeks in the Meadowlands, all will quickly be forgotten.
Next week, the Bucs face the Dolphins in Miami. The third preseason game is typically the “dress rehearsal” where the starters play the longest. We shall see.
Photo Courtesy: ctpost.com
So the final score of the first preseason game was Ravens 44, Buccaneers 16. Ignore that, as hard as it may be. The most important thing: there were no key injuries. Let’s take a look at some individual performances, since the starters saw very little action:
Josh Freeman only played two series. One of them ended with a field goal. He finished 4-of-7 for 34 yards.
Rookie Mike Glennon got most of the work. He threw for 169 yards and an interception. After his first completion was good for 61 yards, he looked like…well, a rookie…for the rest of the night. Glennon is battling for the backup QB job with Dan Orlovsky.
The starting defense played fairly well. Lavonte David had a sack. Danny Gorrer had a pick. Darrelle Revis did not play. I can only hope he’ll be ready for the season opener against the Jets.
Derek Dimke was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals. This position has gotten a lot more attention after the Bucs lost Connor Barth for the season. Dimke is battling Lawrence Tynes for the starting job. Tynes did not play.
Special teams were awful. There was a muffed punt by Chris Owusu. Chas Henry had a punt blocked in the end zone. Both led to Baltimore touchdowns. In all, the Bucs committed four turnovers. And while the starters were out of the game for most of the mistakes, they are still troubling for Greg Schiano.
The Bucs face the Patriots next Friday night in Foxboro.
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images
Pro Football Hall of Fame, meet Mr. Sapp.
On Saturday night, Warren Sapp became just the second Buccaneer to be enshrined in Canton (Lee Roy Selmon is the other.) Sapp was one of seven players to be inducted into the Hall.
He joined the Bucs in 1995 when the team was awful. Two years later, Tampa Bay was in the playoffs. In 1999, he was there in St. Louis when the Bucs played in (and nearly won) the NFC Championship game. And on January 26, 2003, he was celebrating a Super Bowl title on the field in San Diego with John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and the rest of his teammates. Expect to see Brooks in the Hall next year.
Sapp’s career was defined by his relentless pass rush, and sacks – a lot of them. He finished his career having taken down quarterbacks 96.5 times (some of those came with the Raiders.) He was also known for having a big mouth; there’s no denying that. I will never forget all of the times he and Brett Favre were seen yapping it up. Those who had to line up against him will argue that Sapp’s mouth went a bit too far. Such is life.
Warren Sapp will be inducted into Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Monday night against the Dolphins on Nov. 11.
To see Warren Sapp’s entire Hall of Fame speech, click here.
Photo Courtesy: AP
Following his bounce-back season last year, Mike Williams can collect an even bigger paycheck.
The fourth-year WR out of Syracuse signed a new six-year, $40 million contract Wednesday morning that will keep him in Tampa through 2018.
He’s scored 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons with the Buccaneers – nine of them coming in 2012 – as he finished just shy of the 1,000 yard mark. He’s benefitted a lot from last year’s signing of fellow wideout Vincent Jackson. As we saw last year, with those two receivers, the Bucs have a legitimate deep threat that allows them to get the ball downfield a lot more than….well, ever.
Now it’s up to Josh Freeman to make sure they keep catching balls and piling up the yards – and the points.
Photo Courtesy: Reuters
UPDATE: On Monday, former Buccaneers CB Eric Wright failed his physical with his “new” team, the 49ers. As a result, the trade was voided, and Wright was returned to the Bucs. But he won’t last for long. All signs pointing to Tampa Bay dumping him.
The Bucs had traded their starting right cornerback to San Francisco for a 2014 draft pick. It was just over two weeks ago that Wright was arrested for suspicion of DUI in Los Angeles. And last season, he was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
This hurts big-time.
Kicker Connor Barth – who has been money since coming to the Bucs a few years ago – is out for the season. He tore his right Achilles tendon playing in a charity basketball game. This guy is not just the best kicker the Bucs have ever had, but he’s also one of the top kickers in the entire league. When he stepped onto the field, you could pretty much put three points on the board.
Read the entire statement from the team here.
So who’s going to kick for Tampa Bay this season? Enter former Giant Lawrence Tynes. He was 33 of 39 in FG’s last season, so that’s encouraging. The loss of Barth stings, but it looks like the Bucs have found a solid replacement.
Also on Wednesday, tickets for all regular-season home games went on sale. But the injury to Barth clearly overshadows that.
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images
What the heck was Kasey Kahne doing at the opening day of Bucs’ minicamp?
He likes the NFL – particularly the Seahawks. That makes sense, since he’s a Washington native. But he came to Tampa on Tuesday to check out the team, and even throw a few passes to starting quarterback Josh Freeman.
To read more, click here.
Photo Courtesy: tbo.com