Fear not Buccaneers fans; one preseason loss doesn’t mean squat

Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

Fear not, Buccaneers fans. One loss in the preseason means nothing, especially in the first game and when the powers that be seem intent on looking at their new toys.

It took precisely one series for the Buccaneers to decide that losing Tom Brady in the very first action of the year wasn’t worth it. He and nearly the rest of the offense were held to a very low snap count in the opening game of the season.

To be honest, it looked more like the coaches were interested in seeing how their new pieces might fit the puzzle. At worst, they may have taken for granted that their first-team players likely don’t need a tune-up, or even to have the engine checked for knocks and pings right away. They know what the team is capable of doing; that’s why they spent the off-season pulling everybody back for SB LVI.

So, giving most of the starters a break in the first rodeo of 2021 doesn’t seem like too big a deal.

Eh, the team didn’t win. Does anyone who is reading this really think that Tampa is going to wander through this season dropping game after game? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s a much better idea to figure out where our support personnel are going to come from.

It took a half-second for the team to drop three players from the roster. One could argue that they likely know who the other two are going to be, and it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to think that Bruce Arians, Todd Bowles, and Byron Leftwich already know who stays and who goes.

It’s the sleepers that are looking for a chance to either stay in the NFL or get into the NFL and see what they can make of it. In fact, they probably have a pretty good idea on who will be on the 53 and who will be on the practice squad, if they can fight their way through the waiver wire.

The players that needed to get some field-time were the players who got some field-time. Sorry that Tom Brady couldn’t get much going in his one and only series of the night, sorry that the team didn’t end the night with a W. But in truth, that is not what mattered Saturday night.

What mattered Saturday night was figuring out if Blaine Gabbert was going to be the number two quarterback and if rookie QB Kyle Trask was going to knock Ryan Griffin into retirement (and it looks likely).  It was time for the coaches to figure out if Ke’Shawn Vaughn was really the player they thought they picked last year, or whether he was a flop. He did not appear to be a flop.

And then there was Joe Tryon.

Even Joe only had a couple hands full of snaps, but he made an awful lot out of them. In fact, he played so well that most of the NFL pundits are wondering how on Earth he managed to make it to pick 32? Were the rest of the teams in the NFL asleep? From what he has been showing in camp, and the display he put on for 22 snaps, most of them have been left scratching their heads to try and figure out why the rich just got richer.

Adding Tryon to the Buccaneers already stellar pass rush is going to plague every defensive coordinator in the NFL, not to mention those who are in the team’s sights on its run to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for SuperBowl LVI.

The Buccaneers found out a lot about the players who won’t be starting when the team hosts the Dallas Cowboys on September 9th on Thursday night football. Some of them may have made the team in filler roles, like special teams or backup to the backup. Some will even be lucky enough to be among the players who don’t dress for the game.

Some will be on the practice squad, working as hard as they can to try to inch forward and either get called up or get picked up by another team. And others will go back to the lives they will have. It’s a good bet some will start selling insurance, or cars, or financial deals. But not all of them will be on a roster, and frankly, not all of them should be on a roster. The NFL is select. The best of the best. The percentage of college players who get drafted, or even get asked to come to camp, is abysmally small. And guess what? Getting there is supposed to be hard!

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