Some Thoughts on the Bucs’ Second Preseason Game

We are 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:

The 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 performance.

It was 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.

Jameis Winston only played one series for the second straight game.  Let’s just skip over him for now.

My 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.

The next 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.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The Captain’s Take: Bucs Preseason Game #1

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

It’s Time For Bucs Football

We’re about to get our first look at the 2019 Buccaneers. The team holds its first workout of training camp on Friday.

 

There’ve been a lot of changes since the end of last season. That comes with the territory of eleven straight seasons without making the playoffs. Bruce Arians is now in charge. Gerald McCoy is gone – to a division rival no less. Jason Pierre-Paul is out of commission for a while – possibly the entire season. Enter Ndamukong Suh, and first-round pick Devin White, who Tampa Bay hopes will be the next Derrick Brooks. And under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Bucs will be moving to a 3-4 defense.

 

On offense, this has to be Jameis Winston’s breakout season, otherwise he won’t be around much longer. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are back from injuries. The running game is still in flux, with Peyton Barber apparently in the starting role for now. Can Ronald Jones do…well, anything? Can the offensive line do…well, anything?

 

On special teams, there’s a kicking competition between Cairo Santos and rookie Matt Gay. As I often say on social media, can we just get someone who can make a kick? And while we’re at it, how about a special teams’ touchdown or ten?

 

One thing we already know: Arians is a soundbite machine. Watch any of his news conferences and you’ll see what I mean.

 

And for me, as I unofficially begin my seventh season of this blog, I thank you for your continued support. Let’s shock the world. Go Bucs.

 

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bad News About Jason Pierre-Paul

Well, this changed in a hurry.

 

Last week, Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was involved in a car accident in Florida, and suffered a neck injury.

 

Now, we get word from BSPN that his injury may be so bad that J.P.P. may miss most, if not all, of the entire 2019 season. NFL Network is reporting that he will get a second opinion on his injury, and there is hope that it may heal on its own.

 

But if the former is indeed true, Tampa Bay would be losing a guy who led the team with 12.5 sacks last year. And then, there’s the drama surrounding the future of Gerald McCoy (which I’ve been following but waiting to write about until we find out the ‘end result’ if you know what I mean.)

 

Bottom line: fixing the Buccaneers’ awful defense could be a lot more challenging than it already is. Stay tuned.

 

Photo courtesy: USA Today

Wrapping Up The Bucs 2019 Draft

There is an obvious theme to the Buccaneers’ 2019 draft class. The Bucs had eight picks this year. They used six of them on defensive players.

 

 

Well, fixing the defense is a good place to start. After all, the defense has been one of the worst in the league in recent years. Two years ago. They were dead last. In 2018, they were sixth-worst in terms of yards per game, and only the Raiders gave up more points.

 

Things will at least look different. Tampa Bay has a new defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles, and it appears the Bucs will play a 3-4 scheme. We’ll see how that plays out.

 

One area that didn’t get addressed, at least in the draft, is the offensive line. The Bucs haven’t had much of a running game lately, and pass protection has been an issue. I hope they can pick up some players via free agency or whatever.

 

Did you notice the Bucs drafted a kicker? OK, so it was in the fifth round instead of the second, but I’m sure a lot of fans are having flashbacks to Roberto Aguayo.

 

If you read some of the message boards, more fans are ready to jump ship because of the concerns mentioned in the previous two paragraphs. I say, relax. We really won’t know for 2-3 years how good the 2019 draft class is.

 

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Take LB White in NFL Draft

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The Buccaneers used the No. 5 overall pick in Thursday night’s NFL draft on someone they hope will become the leader of their defense.

 

His name is Devin White. He played linebacker at LSU. He’s fast. And if you believe the so-called know-it-alls, he’s a stud.

 

White and Josh Allen were the two names I kept hearing floating around as Tampa’s most likely picks. I’m happy the Bucs took one of them.

 

White can immediately fill the void left behind when Kwon Alexander went to San Francisco. Defense has been the Bucs’ biggest problem over the past several years, so Lord knows they needed some help. This unit is going to look a lot different next season under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Hopefully the results will be different as well.

 

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

The 2019 Buccaneers Schedule

The day the NFL schedule comes out is sort of like Christmas in April for us football fans. It’s time to look over the schedule, think which games are winnable/not winnable, only to be proven wrong in five months, etc. And for own-of-town fans like me, it’s time to start thinking about when to take a road trip to Ray-Jay to see the Bucs.

 

Here’s the schedule:

 

Sept. 8 – SAN FRANCISCO

Sept. 12 – at Carolina (Thursday night)

Sept. 22 – NEW YORK GIANTS

Sept. 29 – at L.A. Rams

Oct. 6 – at New Orleans

Oct. 13 – CAROLINA (in London)

—-BYE WEEK—–

Oct. 27 – at Tennessee

Nov. 3 – at Seattle

Nov. 10 – ARIZONA

Nov. 17 – NEW ORLEANS

Nov. 24 – at Atlanta

Dec. 1 – at Jacksonville

Dec. 8 – INDIANAPOLIS

Dec. 15 – at Detroit

Dec. 22 – HOUSTON

Dec. 29 – ATLANTA

 

Tampa Bay has historically gotten rough stretches, and this year is no different. After hosting the Giants in Week 3, the Bucs don’t play another home game until… Week TEN?! The Bucs will be the “home” team for the game in London, but it’s ridiculous that they have to go nearly two months between “real” home games.