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August 24, 2013 @ 11:32 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Take Down Dolphins Late; Most Impressive And Disappointing

Written by Gil
Gil Arcia


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Which players helped their cause with a solid performance on Saturday night? What newcomer may have earned a regular season roster spot? Find out in PewterReport.com's Most Impressive and Most Disappointing weekly from Saturday night.
The dress rehearsal for the starters has come and gone and the Buccaneers escaped with a last-minute 17-16 victory over the Dolphins in Miami Saturday night. Here is a list of players that impressed and those that disappointed Saturday night against the Miami Dolphins.

Most Impressive
1. Adam Hayward
The veteran linebacker and special teams captain was seen all over the field Saturday night. In the first quarter, cornerback Michael Adams drove a Dolphins blocker into their returner which forced a muffed punt in which Hayward recovered. Then in the second quarter, tight end Tom Crabtree forced a fumble on a punt return by Miami's Marcus Thigpen, where none other than Hayward was the one on the recovery. He would also add two tackles for loss, one in the third quarter and another in the fourth.

2. Trevor Scott
What was supposed to be perhaps a brief stint just to add a body to the preseason roster, may have turned into a spot earned on the regular season roster. Defensive end Trevor Scott was acquired earlier this week to possibly help push Da'Quan Bowers but Saturday night, he made a case to remain on the roster. Scott beat the Miami offensive tackles consistently and recorded three sacks and forced a fumble.

3. Akeem Spence
Rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence has not had the production that many expected to this point in the preseason. In Week 3, Spence's skills were on display against the Dolphins. The Illinois product split double teams and stopped a Miami running back behind the line of scrimmage inside the 10 yard line on a third down play. Spence recorded three solo tackles on the night with two tackles for loss.

4. Leonard Johnson
The Buccaneers showcased their young secondary Saturday night and one bright star was cornerback Leonard Johnson. The second-year undrafted player out of Iowa State Lead the team in tackles with five. Johnson also had three pass breakups — including one where a Miami receiver was wide open downfield in the second quarter just before the half.

5. Brian Leonard
Running back Brian Leonard did not light up the stat sheet, but his individual performance outside of stats was one of the best on the field. He has not skipped a beat on picking up blitzes and is very good in pass protection. Leonard was able to pick up yards after contact and bounced of tackles while shifting directions. He finished the night with 38 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
Honorable Mention: , DT Gerald McCoy, LB Lavonte David, DE Adrian Clayborn, S Sean Baker

Most Disappointing
1. Josh Freeman
Many were anticipating the individual performance of Josh Freeman. His 6-for-16, 59-yard night raised more concerns as he over-threw his receivers and appeared to have a miscommunication with them on several occasions. Trying to knock off the rust would be an understatement as Freeman was also sacked five times. Add in dropped passes and his performance overall was not one to hang his hat on.

2. Johnthan Banks
We have seen rookie Johnthan Banks play some good football this preseason. Saturday night was the opposite of that. Banks' responsibility on the night was Miami receiver Brian Hartline. Hartline was targeted five teams and caught four passes. The one incomplete was in the endzone where the pass to Hartline was high and behind him. While Banks looked like he was just trying to keep things in front of him, Hartline averaged 10 yards per reception.

3. Mason Foster
The struggles in pass coverage continue for the third-year linebacker Mason Foster. There were several passes over the middle where quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed in which Foster was in on the coverage. The big one came on third down in the first that contributed to the Dolphins opening drive that lasted over eight minutes. Foster was solid in run support, but continues to struggle in field awareness in pass coverage.

4. Vincent Jackson
While no one will be overly concerned with Jackson, the fact is the Bucs top receiver had just one reception for 13 yards. But more disturbing, Jackson had a key drop in the first half with the Bucs on the move. Freeman ran a bootleg rolling out to his left and across his body, threw a 20-yard strike to Jackson who had crossed mid field on a comeback route. Jackson allowed the balls to bounce off his hands and one play later the Buccaneers were punting instead of working on the plus side of the field with some momentum and confidence for Freeman. Luckily it was just preseason, but what sometimes appear to be small errors, can be game-changing once the regular season begins. Most games are decided by a handful of plays and Jackson's drop, like Ogletree's last week could easily have been one of those plays if it were a regular season game.

5. Offensive Line
For the second straight week, the Bucs front line could not get anything going. They looked sluggish from the start and gave up six sacks for -33 yards. The unit did not have answer for Miami's pressure. Left tackle Donald Penn was late off the snap at times while the interior part of the line was unable to hold it together. Right guard Davin Joseph started Saturday night and played briefly. But the rust was obviously there as he was eaten up by a Miami defensive lineman that forced the Bucs into a four-yard loss on second down during their first drive. The line gave up six sacks on the night.
Dishonorable Mention: TE Nate Byham, WR Mike Williams
Last modified on Sunday, 25 August 2013 00:48

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  • avatar

    There are quite a few actual fans also getting headaches these days. Saying Freeman is sucking wind...Again...is not the same as saying lets bench him/ trade him/ cut him. Though some have said it, I believe most of us would like to see something special out of him, rather than have to hear Buc players, coaches, and fans coddle the sensitive one with all of this transparent BS in hopes of him growing a pair and finding himself overnight. It's a team game and he does need help, but if he can't muster up some semblance of leadership and moxy, then he needs to find another position to play. You won't see me jump ship or boo Freeman if he continues his woes. It's not what I do. But seeing his likeness on a TB Buccaneer milkcarton may not break me up either. I'll be holding my overall judgments for the regular season, but the coaches had better find a way to bring this preseason train wreck together in a New York minute.
  • avatar

    Adam Haywood played like a stud against Miami. I thought Brian Leonard should have been rated higher. Leonard Johnson had an up and down game as he got beat several times. But considering he is a second year player, he is making progress. Just hope the O-line was taking it easy because it was preseason.
  • avatar

    I was in no way suggesting we have a better option than Freeman. Glennon is not ready and may not be any better even down road. Also I understand this is pre season but I'm talking about his play for 4 years. Every game has throws that are just wild and can't seem to scan field quick enough. Same issues for 4 years that I haven't seen improve. Yes stats are better and he is our best and only option. I will never jump ship I am a bucs fan for life. Just voicing my disappointment so far. I hope this is the year it all clicks and he makes all the critics wrong! Go bucs!
  • avatar

    Im getting a real good headache from you so called bucs fans. I cannot wait for Freeman to show up and perform well in the regular season. I'll save a copy of all these transcripts and point out all the fair weather fans when Freeman gets the win each week. You guys, this is preseason, lets wait for the real game. If Freeman fails, then Freeman fails and we will move on. But tell me this, who in the world would replace Free? Glennon is not the answer and doesnt seem like no one in the upcoming draft will be as well.
  • avatar

    Well all the build up here and there.I say lets keep the best 6 offensive players and pickup 5 more players off the waiver wire. GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Man I am really tired of you so called Buc fans. I mean it was the pre-season for goodness sake. Yes freeman was rusty but if you go play by play you will see that only 3 to 4 throws were absolutely terrible. You guys are acting like this is the regular season. If we are 1-3 or 0-4 at the bye then by all means declare the world over, and call for Schiano's job. But seriously some Tampa Bay fans are extremely extra. I wonder if other teams have "fans" like the bucs, notice fans are in quotations because if you claim to have been a fan since 76 or later and this pre-season game is the one where you all decide to jump ship, then maybe you weren't a fan in the first place.
  • avatar

    I am now longing for the days of Mike Shula. I have not seen the offense look this bad since Ray Perkins. Something happened to Freeman in the last 9 months. He's a shell of his former self. His self confidence is destroyed. You can see it in his body language. I'm an original season ticket holder and been with this team through thick and thin. This game was shown here in Hawaii and I want to puke. I'm through.
  • avatar

    I agree with the above assessment. I don't want to sound too negative, but I'm losing faith Freeman can be the guy. Its the same concerns year after. He is way to slow processing information and getting the ball out of his hands. Watching Tannehill and Freeman it was like night and day difference. The ball came out so quick with Tannehill. Also Freeman's accuracy is always an issue. He has not been and never will be consistently accurate IMO. Receivers didn't help much with the dropped passes but I'm so tired of watching him sail balls over receivers heads with no pressure and the receiver being wide open. He would be more effective if he was allowed to run and ad lib more. If they want him to be a pure pocket passer and process info and make several quick reads it isn't going to happen. It's like he has been told do not run and instead of throwing it away he always tries to force it. Just has bad field vision I guess.
  • avatar

    I agree with pretty much all the points made so far. Everyone seems to be pretty much on the same page about what we saw last night. The point I want to make that no one else has mentioned is why didn't Bowers make the most impressive list, or at least an honorable mention? In the latter half of the game he had a great rush where he pushed the O-lineman into the QB for a sack. What really impressed me was that it was on a stunt. Now I don't know why Bowers wasn't credited for the sack, even the commentator gave Bowers props. Maybe another Buc (T. Scott, Means) was closer to the QB when he went down so he got the credit. Bowers also had a deflected pass in the last half of the game.
  • avatar

    4. Leonard Johnson ? You like toast, cause Johnson was .... all night long.
  • avatar

    And what have I been warning about Schiano foolishly trying to save most of his All Pros to the real season? All you had to do was watch our All Pro RG get whipped in our third preseason game and then you get it. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it! Shiano is not a rookie coach anymore and is going to be held accountable this year if he doesn't start learning The NFL Ropes this year.
  • avatar

    I'm glad it was pointed out that Foster continues to struggle in coverage unlike the other PR reporter who somehow concluded that Foster "played great". What game was he watching. Mike James also struggled in protection in the first preseason game. He was solid in game 2.
  • avatar

    You are spot on with the QB needed to win an SB opinion DrT. The Bucs spoiled many with a Top 5 - Top 10 defense for so long that with anyone under center they made it to the playoffs. Now the expectations are extremely high, and perhaps unrealistic, for Freeman to "carry" the team. But on to Kuechly, who gg720 also mentioned below, what's to say that the Bucs still would have drafted David? Remember, Kuechly went a few picks after Barron and David was drafted near the end of the 2nd round. So the odds of the Bucs getting both Kuechly and then David may have been slim to none. Kuechly is only in his second year so there is still a lot of football left. Same can be said about Barron.
  • avatar

    Josh Freeman does not appear to have elite QB abilities. They just don't miss the passes he does. So let's end that debate. Having said that he does not need to be an elite QB for us to win a Super Bowl. Notice I didn't say "lead us" to a Super Bowl victory. Brad Johnson was a good QB who made good decisions and hit the passes he needed to, but he was far from elite. We won with a team effort lead by our defense which had probably four future Hall of Famers. I have repeatedly said bypassing Luke Kuechly was a BIG mistake. Think about him at mike and LaVonte David at will! That puts Mason Foster at Sam. We are going to get absolutely murdered over the middle this season just as we have in pre season! Those short comings are not "it's only preseason", it is who they are.
  • avatar

    I guess the coaching plan is to avoid injuries at all costs and let them get in football shape when the regular season starts? They got to let them play in this Thursday game. They surely don't need the extra rest. Revis is who I thought he was? He'll play when he is perfect and can claim that he is superior. Standing on the side lines he didn't look in shape to me.
  • avatar

    Freeman should be a major concern as he still looks like "the deer in headlights". His inaccurate passing is nothing new and it looks like it will be a long season with him behind center. Another observation in hindsight, boy did we make a mistake in last years draft by not taking Kuchely instead of Barron. That middle linebacker is a beast and what a pleasure it would have been watching him and David playing together.
  • avatar

    Last week it wouldn't have mattered who was on the field the Defense got no rush, This game Revis would have made a difference. The pass rush were about a second late. Tannihill was getting the ball out quick, but the pass rush was very much improved this game.
  • avatar

    If things don't start to gel, we witnessed the only way we'll win a game this year. I'm shocked it was this bad. There were some bright spots. Let's get this thing shored up, build some confidence and knock the crap out of the Jets in two weeks. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I could lbarely watch the first half, but I did. Old age is making it more and more difficult to witness the painful play of the Bucs. I just cannot handle the grief any more. We all saw it together and I, at least, have said a lot so there is no need to repeat it all. Clearly, unless Freeman improves, our season will be god-awful. Glennon is not ready but tempting. The Giraffe would get killed in a regular NFL season right now. Without saying it, Schiano's decisioin to give Glennon a lot of preseaon snaps tells the story of what is real about Freeman, IMHO. Thanks Gil for the great article. It was great meeting you at the G2G even if briefly.
  • avatar

    The pleasure was all mine Ladyfan! But I can certainly understand the frustration. The performance from many Saturday night did not bode well for lots of fans. And the way Freeman's night went, I'm sure the Glennon bandwagon will only get bigger.
  • avatar

    Ladyfan, I'm over 67 and have been to hundreds of game and this was pretty bad. I am not putting this as much on the players; I'm putting this on the Coaching.
  • avatar

    Akeem Spence was a 4th round pick. "(Spence)... has not had the production that many expected to this point in the preseason." The fact that about this team someone would say an undersized NT (with 25% body-fat) isn't being productive should say a lot about what our expectations for this season really aught to be. Let's get our fingers crossed that Spencer breaks the NT mold and has a solid year. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Gil if you are going to praise the rookie Spence you should note that we have a Rookie RB (Mike James) in on passing downs getting our QB killed. Hillis may cost more money but most teams in the NFL would prefer their QB wasn't throwing off his back foot out of fear. But, as we know this current GM has cared little about 3rd down protection since he took over. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------From letting Cadillac walk after such a great year playing on 3rd down to ignoring 3rd down weapons like Sproles and Woodhead in free agency Mark Dominik has made it clear he prefers to keep protecting the QB on the cheap; This year the lack of addressing RT in FA was a real concern, and/or getting a skilled TE that would slow a blitz. Now our blocking is getting crossed up all preseason and our WRs and QBs are getting their signals crossed. Protection for the QB matters. Having a TE or slot WR that has the threat of taking a blitz adjustment route the distance make DC's respect your Offense... The importance of 3rd down continues to elude this franchises current GM.
  • avatar

    Good points, Roland. However, Mike James has had a great camp and practice showcasing his pass protection skills. Even the first two preseason games he had some nice blocks on blitz pickups. The sack that he gave up could kind of swing towards the side of it being Freeman's fault. After seeing the game again, you see Freeman step up in the pocket and right into James and the defender causing the sack. Both Brian Leonard and James have done a good job in pass protect, something the Buccaneers did not have last season behind Doug Martin. As for RT, Dotson is a lock there. If he goes down, whoever makes the cut, can play the position as there are a few versatile guys across the line that can come in and pick up the slack. Perhaps not at the same level as Dotson (depending on how you look at it), but very serviceable.
  • avatar

    I don't know about the Mike James observation. From what I saw, Freeman stepped into 2 sacks in the same fashion. His eyes were locked downfield and had no awareness of where he was.
  • avatar

    I wouldn't say that Davin J looked rusty...I'd say he looked weak and out of shape. At times he was getting straight up manhandled and beaten into the backfield by miami's DT's. DJ has never been overly stout or beefy looking, but on camera this past game to me, his frame looked smaller than how he looked his rookie year....And why was Daniel Te'o starting over Bowers again?? If anything they should have been splitting equal time together. I understand Coach's stance on Bowers and if I was coach, I'd want him to realize that after an offseason that saw him land in jail with a gun charge and then show up for camp out of shape, that he wasn't going to get cut any slack and also get held to a tougher standard given his lack of seriousness about his own conditioning...but given that it's still preseason, I'd want him out there with the starters on D going against miami's offensive starters, while playing him into the 3rd as well. Looks like Trevor Scott's a keeper seeing as how he was more productive in one game than all of our DE's have been through 3. Although he and Bowers should've both gotten a half sack on his last one. Given that this is a win now season, any one want to guess as to how many games it will take for Free to get pulled and Glennon to start if Free goes into a Free-fall?? Don't get me wrong, I want Free to succeed, but I can't help but wonder...I've never seen the offense look sooooo inept with Free at QB...even in pre-season. Granted it's hard to move the chains when ur receivers aren't catching the ball and ur getting sacked but this was a game that the offense game planned for right???? YIKES.
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