The Buccaneers did something they needed to do to officially leave the Raheem Morris era in the past — win. That they did Friday night in Miami, trumping the Miami Dolphins 20-7 behind two touchdowns from their top two running backs.
LeGarrette Blount got the start for the Buccaneers in the backfield and made the most of it, getting used heavily in the Bucs first drive of the game, even going in motion and catching a pass at one point on the drive. Doug Martin didn’t let the man in front of him on the depth chart steal all the spotlight however. Martin started the second quarter for the Bucs and got his first NFL touchdown at the 10:31 mark.
Both touchdowns for both backs came at the goal line.
Schiano gave both backs exactly seven carries to see what each would do behind the same offensive line (which seems more than ready to rock and roll this season but we’ll get to that in a bit). Blount finished with 30 yards and score while Martin finished with 21 yards and a score.
So there is definitely a major, major battle brewing at the running back position which means two things: the rest of training camp and the preseason will be very entertaining to watch and the Buccaneers offense is going to greatly benefit from both backs entering the season at the top of their game.
Quarterbacks Have Superb Night
Josh Freeman played just one series but he completed 4 of 5 passes for 41 yards and no interceptions. Considering that last year Freeman could go five seconds without throwing to the other team this is very nice to see (get used to the sighs of relief when contrasted to last year). But Freeman wasn’t the only quarterback to have an impressive night.
Backup Dan Orlovsky went 8 for 8 and threw for 91 yards during his time in the game. The Buccaneers really didn’t have a backup option last year beyond Josh Johnson and all Johnson really was, was a trick play option. With Orlovsky’s 100 percent performance, the Bucs can begin to breathe easy when it comes to who’s lined up to go if, God forbid, something happens to Freeman.
Even third stringer Brett Ratliff had a decent night completing just over half of his passes. Tampa is trying to go with a strategy of being deep all over the roster and so far so good at quarterback.
O-Line Looks Ready
The offensive line is the one factor that this whole explosive offense thing rides on and it looked in regular season form on Friday. It created holes when it needed to and kept the Dolphins defense at bay. Granted it’s just the preseason and it’s only the Dolphins, but the fact that Josh Freeman looked comfortable under center and wasn’t blasted with the pass rush is a good sign after last year.
A big stat to take away from the game is that the line allowed zero sacks. When considering the brutalization of the line last season, the fact that not one Dolphins defender got to any quarterback, not just Freeman but all the quarterbacks who played, is something to get very excited about.
The Bucs get the the Tennessee Titans next at Raymond James Stadium. In between then they have some training camp time to try and weed out what little kinks it appears they have. Everything from Freeman to the offensive line to the running backs and even the defense looked pretty solid.
Tennessee is welcomed into the Ray J on August 17 at 7:30pm.