The preseason continued on Saturday night for the Buccaneers as they left Jacksonville with a 27-21 win over the Jaguars. Here, we have immediate observations and reactions from week two of Tampa Bay’s preseason.
The Buccaneers had a bad first quarter, but the starters came back with a score before the backups carried them the rest of the way to a 27-21 win over the Jaguars. What can be taken away from Saturday night?
Observations and Reactions- General
-The Bucs got off to another slow start on Saturday. They were down 14-6 after one quarter last week and trailed 7-0 at the end of one in Jacksonville. In the first quarter, Tampa Bay missed a field goal, turned the ball over and gave up a touchdown.
-That being said, they rebounded nicely, outscoring the Jaguars 27-14 the rest of the way.
-Tampa Bay committed 8 penalties for 68 yards on the night, which was an improvement after last week’s discipline issues. Kwon Alexander did have one late hit penalty, but other than that, the Bucs were fairly disciplined. The big improvement was that only three of the team’s penalties came in the first half, going for 30 yards.
Observations and Reactions- Offense
-Jameis Winston got off to a rough start, going 0-for-6 with a tipped-pass interception. He was 3-for-4 on Tampa Bay’s first scoring drive, so he finished 3-of-10 for 28 yards and a touchdown.
-The Bucs’ rushing attack looked a lot better this week, even with Doug Martin sidelined. They finished the night with 158 yards on the ground after totaling 31 last week in Philadelphia.
-On the game’s opening drive, the offense failed to take advantage of two third-down penalties on Jacksonville. Tampa Bay did get into manageable field goal range, but failed to come away with three points. When the opposing team is handing out yards like that, the Bucs need points.
-Mike Evans had two big receptions in the second quarter, making a first-down catch on 4th-&-1 before a nice four-yard touchdown catch later in the drive.
-Mike Glennon and the second-team offense ran a strong two-minute drill before halftime, tying the game up on a five-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to Mike James. Glennon completed 11 of 20 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.
-The competition for the third running back spot is a good one. Mike James carried the ball six times for 17 yards while catching two passes for 11 yards. Storm Johnson rushed seven times for 27 yards and a touchdown and added 28 yards on two catches. Peyton Barber was impressive, totaling 40 yards on 11 carries and 10 yards on one catch.
-Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught three passes for 36 yards, continuing his progression. His attitude seems better and he’s shining with the opportunities that he is getting, which is great to see.
Observations and Reactions- Defense
-The defense forced a three-and-out on the Jaguars’ first drive, but gave up a touchdown after an interception thrown by Winston. Mike Smith’s starting unit gave up two touchdowns after turnovers last week, so that’s clearly something Tampa Bay needs to fix.
-Jacksonville later put together an 80-yard scoring drive against the Bucs’ first-team defense. The pass rush that was so effective last week didn’t show up tonight, making it a difficult night for the Tampa Bay secondary. Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles finished his night 8-of-11 for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
-Vernon Hargreaves had a huge night, intercepting Jacksonville’s Chad Henne twice.
-Luke Rhodes, an undrafted rookie out of William & Mary, came up with a sack in the third quarter. He led the Bucs last week with five tackles, so if he keeps up his production, he may force his way onto the final roster.
-Johnthan Banks came up with an interception during the fourth quarter, which has to help his chances of staying on the team past the preseason.
-Rookie Ryan Smith came up with a late interception, making it four for the Bucs’ secondary on the night.
Observations and Reactions- Special Teams
-Donteea Dye got the first kick return look, taking the opening kickoff back to the Bucs’ 32-yard line. He didn’t get any more chances after that, as the rest of Jacksonville’s kicks went for touchbacks.
-The struggles continued for Roberto Aguayo as he missed two field goals (one from 32, one from 49). The second-round pick connected on a 28-yarder at the end of the first half and a 34-yarder in the fourth. He finished 3-for-3 on extra points.
-No one picked up much of an edge in the punting battle, with Bryan Anger punting twice for an average of 46.5 yards while Jacob Schum punted twice for an average of 41 yards.
-Not a lot went on with the punt return team, though Bernard Reedy made the mistake of calling for a fair catch inside the 10-yard line instead of letting it bounce for a touchback.
It was another mixed week for the Bucs. The run game looked much better while Winston struggled. Glennon had a better night in relief and while the starting defense wasn’t spectacular, the backups looked good. Hargreaves and Banks made big plays for the secondary, but the special teams still had issues. One of the biggest positives for Tampa Bay was that there were fewer penalties by the starters and second-stringers. But, it seemed like for every positive, there was a negative for the Bucs. With two more preseason games before the regular season starts, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Tampa Bay hosts the Cleveland Browns next Friday night at 8. CBS will have the broadcast.