The Tampa Bay Buccaneers first team gave a brief look at how effective their offense can be this season.
During the preseason, NFL offenses are typically vanilla. Providing only glimpses of the more complicated scheme they will run in the regular season.
It may have been a simple version of the final product, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed off a multifaceted offense in their win over the Dolphins.
Ryan Fitzpatrick led the first-team offense on just two drives, one ending in a touchdown the other with a punt. The result may not matter as much as how well the team moved the ball down the field.
Right out of the gate, the Buccaneers hit a few big plays. DeSean Jackson and Fitzpatrick connected on a big 18-yard gain. Then, Fitzpatrick found Mike Evans for 14 yards. Quickly, both superstar receivers were involved.
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Fitzpatrick spread the ball around well, something the Bucs will be sure to do when the season starts. Along with Evans and Jackson, Fitzpatrick targeted Chris Godwin, Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones as well.
With all of the weapons head coach Dirk Koetter has to work with, there should be receivers open if the Tampa Bay quarterbacks get time in the pocket.
When the Tampa offense is rolling, everyone is getting involved. Players like Cameron Brate and Evans are coming through on third down while O.J. Howard and Jackson are being sent down the field to create chunk plays.
Surprisingly, Fitzpatrick had plenty of time to wait for the open receiver Thursday night. Without Demar Dotson and veteran Evan Smith sliding into the right guard spot, there was some concern in terms of pass protection.
Tampa Bay showed how fluid their drives can be when the pocket is kept clean. Throw in Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston‘s ability to scramble, the quarterbacks just need an extra second to escape.
In the running game, the offensive line was effective as well. They gave Peyton Barber room to operate and he punched in the team’s first drive of the 2018 preseason.
Even though Barber didn’t break off any big runs, his presence opened up the offense. It may have been nothing more than the base defense for the Dolphins but it again provides insight as to how the Buccaneers can put points on the board.
Tampa’s offense will revolve around the passing game. The ability to have some semblance of a running game like they did against Miami could be the difference when the season starts. Fitzpatrick isn’t going to be able to air it out against the likes of Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.
Fitzpatrick has proven he can lead methodical drives and wear down defenses. And that’s exactly what he did in the Bucs first preseason matchup. He will have to continue to do it if the Buccaneers are going to avoid starting the season 0-3.