After further review of the Bucs 26-24 win over the Miami Dolphins there was a lot to like about the first pre-season game.
First off the play of the QB’s was really good. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston, and Ryan Griffin were all able to move the offense and put points on the board. I thought Fitzpatrick was sharp from the start as he moved the Bucs into scoring position twice.
The two minute offense that the Bucs used to get that last FG after Miami had gone ahead was executed perfectly by Ryan Griffin. Griffin used the clock to his advantage and got the Bucs in FG range which Catanzaro hit to give the Bucs the win.
The play of the OL was good considering the amount of guys that were out for the game. The line offered good protection to all three QB’s allowing only 2 sacks all night.
The running game felt the impact the most as overall the line could not get any kind of push to spring the backs outside of the Peyton Barber TD run in the first quarter. As a group the Bucs averaged just over two yards a carry.
This DL is for real and is going to create a lot of problems for opposing offenses. We saw Gerald McCoy get free in the first quarter for a sack. Noah Spence was also credited with a partial sack in the Bucs victory.
If the Bucs can get just two sacks a game, that will give them ten more than they had all of last season. Thats how bad the pass rush was last season.
I thought the play of the DB’s was solid considering the Bucs were playing without their two starting corners in Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves most of the game.
Hargreaves left the game in the first half with a strained groin and according to Koetter will miss some time but should be ready to go by game one against New Orleans.
The rookie trio of Carlton Davis, MJ Stewart, and Jordan Whitehead each had a pass deflection that helped the Bucs get the win. These two guys Davis and Stewart are going to be real players for this Bucs secondary. I stand by my prediction that MJ Stewart will beat out Vernon Hargreaves for the starting corner job opposite Brent Grimes.
Ryan Smith had a game that he will not be proud of. Smith was picked on a lot and got beat a lot, but he made a play when he had to and had the key interception late in the game to seal the win for the Bucs.
A couple of moments that caused me a bIt of concern. The Dolphins offense seemed to move the ball at will on the Bucs first string defense. The Bucs defense did step up and hold the Dolphins to a FG. I will get more concerned if this pattern continues to repeat itself.
Then there was the kicking game with Chandler Catanzaro missing the first XP of the game and later a 53 yard FG. The Bucs did have at least two kickers in for tryouts on Friday that they said were already scheduled.
Overall a good start for the Bucs that they need to build on next week at Tennessee.