There is plenty to unpack after the Buccaneers lost their preseason opener to the Bengals.
Wins and losses do not matter in the preseason. The Buccaneers can win the next two games or lose them by 40 each, on their own revealing little for how ready the team is for the regular season. Wins, losses, and scores don’t matter during the preseason; the development of players does.
While a loss to a franchise like the Bengals does raise some eyebrows, that isn’t an area for fans or analysts to focus on. The real way to glean information from a game like this is by focusing on individuals. How did the players do? What did the coaches do right or wrong?
Starting with the coaching staff, there were moments of good and bad.
The best decision by the staff all night was letting Kyle Trask take the majority of the offensive reps. The play calling when Trask was at the helm was much better than the rest of the game, with plenty of deep shots and passing on early downs.
Unfortunately, the offensive decision-making suffered when the better players were in.
First down runs, second and long runs, a generally analytics-averse offensive game-plan slowed the starters down. As we all saw last season, early passes, play action, and motion make this offense one of the best in the league.
It was the first game, so Byron Leftwich and Bruce Arians get a pass for not having a complete plan scripted out and playing conservatively, but they need to make sure the offense gets back to its playoff form as soon as possible.