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