The Bucs showed a lot of improvement in rushing the passer. The starters did a satisfactory job at giving the quarterback some pressure but the real excitement came later in the game. Adrian Clayborn got to play with the big boys last night. I would have liked to see Matt Cassel do a little more than just hand the ball off so that we could have seen Clayborn chase down a quarterback with his entire starting offensive lineman on the field, but we weren’t that lucky. I thought Clayborn did a great job. He recorded 2 tackles resulting in no gain in yards for the opposing offense, and caused some disruption on some passing plays. Although he didn’t record a sack, he still was very active and played well. One of those tackles kept the Chiefs pinned at the end zone, later resulting in a safety by Michael Bennett and Dekota Watson. Outside of that safety, Bennett had a pretty silent game. DaQuan Bowers and Tim Crowder both got to see some time at left defensive end, but neither did anything worth mentioning. Kyle Moore also had a really good game. He racked up 2 sacks and 2 tackles. The first sack he forced on quarterback Ricky Stanzi resulted in a 5 yard loss. The second was a 4 yard loss. Moorealmost got a third sack on Stanzi, but the young quarterback was able to pitch the ball to running back, Jackie Battle, who almost made the first down and was stopped by safety, Larry Asante. George Johnson also recorded a sack for a 4 yard loss and 2 tackles. Alex Magee almost recorded a huge sack on Stanzi, but Stanzi broke the tackle just in time. Al Woods had a pretty good game as well, recording 3 tackles and would have recorded a sack if a penalty didn’t take it away.
The linebackers were probably the most entertaining group to watch. Morris used a variety of packages that involved the linebackers in a lot of zone coverage and blitzing. Mason Foster was the first to start at Mike-backer (middle linebacker). Although he didn’t stay on the field long, he definitely contributed and didn’t seem out of his comfort zone. The only tackle Foster recorded prevented quarterback, Palko, from scrambling to the first down marker on 3rd down, resulting in a punt. Foster also recovered a fumble by quarterback, Matt Cassel. Following the turnover, Freeman scrambled into the end zone for a touchdown. Foster looked aware and aggressive in his limited playing time. Tyrone McKenzie got to see some playing time and made some contributions, but didn’t do anything that would put him ahead for the starting Mike-backer position. Quincy Black had a pretty good game as well. For some reason, Elbert Mack got the credit for forcing a fumble that was recovered by Sean Jones, but after reviewing the game film in slow motion over and over, I saw that it was most likely Black who broke the ball loose from Jackie Battle’s grip. Dekota Watson had a great game and contributed to the Buccaneers recording a safety. Watson also was second in sacks last night. During one of the sacks, Watson forced a fumble that was recovered by the Chiefs. Geno Hayes was pretty quiet. Derrell Smith, in my opinion, was one of the best linebackers on the field last night. While on the field, I noticed that he was always within inches of the ball. He also came close to recording a sack, but couldn’t hold onto the slippery quarterback. On another play, Smith blitzed the quarterback which led to George Johnson making the tackle for a 4 yard loss. Simoni Lawrence also almost recorded a sack, but the quarterback scrambled and was stopped in his tracks by Derrell Smith. Lawrence also contributed a lot and tied Al Woods for the most tackles in the game with three.
Like the linebackers, the real excitement came later in the game for the defensive backs. However, the starters still made their point before walking off the field. Barber set it off for the DB’s with a mean blitz and the first tackle for a loss in the game. Right after that, Cody Grimm stopped the offense from reaching the 1st down marker. The defensive backs set the tone of the game with the first three and out. Shortly after, Sean Jones recovers a fumble by running back Jackie Battle. Elbert Mack had the game of his life. He was all over the field, which really caught me off guard. On a 4th and 1 play, he defended a pass to Zeke Markshausen. He had several other impact plays where he defended a pass. Mack also tipped a pass that almost landed in the hands of Sean Jones for an interception. Anthony Gaitor had a pretty good game as well. He recorded a sack on a key third-down play for a 1 yard loss, and broke up several passes. On another third down, he defended a pass thrown to Verran Tucker, resulting in a punt. Larry Asante must have had his wheaties before he arrived to play. Did anyone see that hit on Jeremy Horne? I could be wrong, but I think I saw Horne spitting up blood and going cross-eyed! Asante played well, and recorded a tackle on a play where a panicked pitch was thrown toBattle and he delivered a solid hit. Soon after on a deep play to Horne, he delivered a devastating tackle on Horne and knocked the ball loose for an incomplete pass. I didn’t notice E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis, or Cory Lynch do anything worth mentioning. They did, however, contributed to a defensive domination against the Chiefs.
Bucs D top 3
I was really impressed at how instinctive Smith played. He was always around the ball carrier. Out of the linebackers, I was most impressed with him.
Clayborn may not have recorded a sack in his first game, but he did exactly what the Bucs brought him here to do. He was very disruptive, broke through the line a few times, and played with a lot of intensity.
Tie between Elbert Mack and Dekota Watson
Watson played like he was about to lose his job. Mack could lose his job if he doesn’t consistently play the way he did today. I know both played against back ups, but they shut the offense down. That’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.