Buccaneers: Key takeaways from 2021 preseason opener

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers,(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers,(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The best performances for the Buccaneers


Not too much to say here. The starters essentially only played one drive each, so it’s hard to put the first team on this review with such a small sample size. Lavonte David was an honorable mention on defense with an expected performance, and seeing Giovani Bernard competently catch passes was a breath of fresh air.

The depth 

Ke’Shawn Vaughn 

Vaughn looked great for most of the game. Don’t let his final stat line fool you. The previously-mentioned risk-averse game plan makes it hard for any back to average more than three yards per carry.

Vaughn looked like a much more comfortable version of himself on the ground and through the air, judging by the first half. The second-year back for the Bucs hit the hole hard and generated decent yards after contact. Vaughn also added two catches for ten yards, which shows that his presence in the passing game could be more consistent this season.

If Vaughn keeps up with performances like this, he could find himself with a bigger share of touches this year.

Joe Tryon

Jason Licht hit the jackpot on Tryon. How this kid slipped to 32 is beyond all of us. Tryon didn’t get to play as much as we wanted to see, but he was getting pressure on the quarterback on almost every play.

It was more than fitting that Tryon got his first NFL sack in his first NFL game, but one of the worst officiating decisions ever negated the play. It doesn’t matter. Tryon will create pressure like that all season, and the Buccaneer pass rush just got that much better.

Jaelon Darden 

Get Darden the ball in his hands. Whether through screen passes, punt or kick returns, or as a downfield receiver, Darden made every play feel dangerous. The Bucs hit a home run on their recent fourth-round pick, and he makes a compelling case to steal some reps from the likes of Scotty Miller this season.