There may still be some information to glean for the Buccaneers from the terrible product that was the Pro Bowl game.
The Pro Bowl is not about playing quality football. The game exists for fans and players to have fun and for players to get due recognition as some of the best in the world at their craft, and the Buccaneers were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the All-Star game this year.
For those who watched the game, it wasn’t much to write home about. The speed and fire that make the sport so enjoyable were painfully absent, there was next to no tackling, and players even switched positions to have a bit of fun.
The game accomplished what it was supposed to, even if it wasn’t the best football product. However, this exhibition match may achieve more for the Buccaneers in the grand scheme of things.
Looking back on the game, two moments stand out for the currently QB-hungry Bucs; a Kyler Murray touchdown pass to Mike Evans and Russell Wilson seeing protection for the first time in his career.
The Kyler Murray touchdown pass was one of the more exciting moments, and its implications should ring true throughout the rest of the offseason. The first thing that stands out is the protection. Murray has been running for his life for years in Arizona, and watching Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet keep the defenders at bay (even if they weren’t trying) should stand out to him.
If you add in Tristan Wirfs, who was out with an injury, and Donovan Smith, who is emerging as one of the best tackles in the NFL, this offensive line would be the best of Murray’s career.
Sure, the Cardinals looked great during the regular season, but the Buccaneers are a major improvement at almost every position over what Murray played with last year.
Rumors are beginning that life with the Cardinals isn’t what it looked like from the outside looking in, and either side wanting a change could end with Murray looking for a change of scenery. Tampa would be more than happy to oblige.
The second moment from the game was where Russell Wilson was in a similar situation and actually saw protection. Sure, Tampa may not be the type of city he wants to live in, but it is hard to ignore the fact that he won’t find weapons like he was playing with in the Pro Bowl anywhere else.
Long shots for sure, but lesser moments have played out in significant ways in the past. This is undoubtedly just wishful thinking in a world where Blaine Gabbert is the most likely starting quarterback next season, but we can all dream, right?
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