Positive Takeaways From Friday
Well, for starters, the opening drive was rather impressive. The opening kickoff was returned to the twelve, only to be moved back to the six on a penalty. Now, if this had been a regular season game there wouldn’t have been a return and the Bucs would’ve started at their 25 yard line.
Winston marched the team 92 of the 94 yards they needed, so the Bucs had to settle for a field goal. The connection between Winston and Mike Evans is every bit as good as it was last season. They picked up right where they left off and it showed. Of Winston’s 97 passing yards, 58 of them went to Evans.
Another thing to remember about the game is the Ali Marpet did not play, nor did Evan Smith. So that means our starting center was Joe Hawley who, to be fair, was the starting center most of last season. That being considered, the offensive line was not the lineup it will be come week one against the Dolphins and might have played into the run game difficulties inside the red zone.
Vernon Hargreaves has begun to come into his own. We’d heard about the confidence he’s gained – especially after having to cover DeSean Jackson in training camp – and that confidence is showing. Hargreaves had a picture perfect interception in the end zone during the Bengals’ first drive that ignited the defense. Hargreaves played well into the second quarter, more than any other starter on the team. Once Brent Grimes returns, this corner duo could be better than many of us thought.