Buccaneers Winners And Losers vs. Eagles
By James Yarcho
It wasn’t pretty, but hey…it was the Buccaneers first preseason action of 2016. Which players shined? Which players didn’t help themselves?
For a game that started off in the worst way possible, things never really got much better for the Buccaneers. Kenny Bell took the opening kickoff and dropped it immediately into the Eagles’ hands, allowing Ryan Mathews to give Philly a 7-0 lead less than one minute into the game.
Outside of that quick blunder, and a Jameis Winston fumble leading to another Eagles touchdown, things weren’t all bad. Here are some quick winners and losers after the first preseason game.
Ayers had a heck of a game. Not only did he play both end positions as well as defensive tackle, he got consistent pressure on the quarterback and forced what should have been a safety on an intentional grounding no-call. Ayers was signed with high hopes and high expectations and he has shown already that nastiness Buccaneers fans have been clamoring for along the defensive line.
In relief of Doug Martin, Mike James stepped up in a big way and looked impressive. He seems like the leader in the clubhouse for the third running back position. James finished with only three rushing yards, but had a beautiful 26-yard catch and run in the first quarter, setting up a touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to…
Shepard is making a very strong case to be the fourth receiver on the depth chart, and potentially overtake Adam Humphries at number three. Shepard finished with three receptions on three targets for 62 yards and a touchdown;
For a guy that was a special teams standout last season, he is certainly putting himself in a position to be in the offensive game plan much more often.
Kenny Bell, Evan Spencer, Johnathan Krause
All of these guys were, well, awful. Spencer and Krause have been training camp standouts, while Bell has disappeared since the pads came out. Bell, of course, had the opening kickoff fumble. Spencer and Krause both had horrendous drops, such as this one;
Bubble guys aren’t going to make a team that way. At this rate, Louis Murphy doesn’t even need to show up to One Buc the rest of preseason and he’ll make the team.
I feel bad for the kid. He has more pressure than any of us will ever know after being a second round pick and he missed his first ever extra point. Now, that of course didn’t count because it’s preseason, but fans on twitter couldn’t wait to jump at the opportunity to rip him, and the team, for drafting him so high. Fortunately, Aguayo connected on his next attempt, hitting a 38-yard field goal by going dead center through the uprights.
Next: Bucs/Eagles Preseason Game Recap
This game certainly gave us more to watch for in the coming days at practice. It’s preseason for a reason, folks. Lots to work on. Be glad the team doesn’t go straight into the regular season or things could be really ugly early on.