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August 10, 2012 @ 4:00 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Rookie Review: Martin, David, Smith Shine Against Dolphins

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


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In this new Pewter Report preseason feature, beat writer Dory LeBlanc closely watched the Buccaneers rookies Friday night against the Dolphins and gave her impressions on how each one performed under the lights.
Mark Barron, S – first round, seventh overall selection
The seventh overall selection out of Alabama in the 2012 NFL Draft did not play against Miami Friday night due to a toe injury head coach Greg Schiano has been coy in regards to the severity.

Doug Martin, RB – first round, 31st overall selection
Martin showed why the Bucs were willing to make the trade to get back into the first round and snag the Boise State product right from under the Giant’s noses with the 31st overall pick in April after rushing for seven attempts for 21 yards and a touchdown and catching one pass for seven yards against the Dolphins. 
Blount started the game and scored the first touchdown, but Martin was even more impressive showing he is a complete NFL back and he did it all behind the second-team offensive line.

Martin started the game in the first quarter with a three-yard run which, despite getting the first down, backed the Bucs up 15 yards on a personal foul penalty on Preston Parker. The next play Martin gave Dan Orlovsky a little breathing room with excellent pass protection on a 3rd and 4 that resulted in a Tampa Bay first down.

Martin’s longest carry of the night was a 10-yard run up the right side, which he gained the majority of the yards on a second effort surge, then juke after nearly being stopped just past the line of scrimmage.

On the ensuing first down, Martin caught a seven-yard pass on the left side, leaving the Bucs three yards shy of the first down.

Martin followed it up with a one yard run, then an attempt for no gain, before punching it in from the two-yard line with the ball outstretched across the goal line for the score.

The tandem of Blount and Martin looked unstoppable in the first preseason game, with Blount pounding the ball and Martin showing elusiveness and solid receiving ability. When either Mossis Madu or Michael Smith is added in as a change of pace back, the run-first attack Greg Schiano implemented looks to be impressive.

Lavonte David, LB – Second round, 58th overall selection
Unfortunately for David, he was only credited with one official tackle by the NFL, but watching the tape shows him assisting in several others against the Dolphins. Regardless of how many tackles he officially or unofficially recorded, it is pretty clear from Friday night what an immediate impact David is on the Buccaneers. The second round draft pick out of Nebraska was fantastic Friday night on special teams, in coverage, and against the run confirming why so many people felt he was the best 4-3 outside linebacker in the draft.

From the opening kickoff to halftime, David made play after play. David was in on the tackle on the opening kickoff drive and continued to be at the right place at the right time throughout the first half. His two most outstanding plays came when he grabbed the ball out of the air off a tip at the line of scrimmage at the Tampa Bay 17 midway through the second quarter and during a punt return in the third when he had a massive tackle to stop Rishard Matthews from gaining more than five yards.

Against Miami David played with the first and second teams, and flew all over the field in both. David was a tackling machine in Nebraska, and if Friday night is any indication, he will be a major contributor to the Bucs defense.

Najee Goode, LB – Fifth round, 140th overall
Goode’s reputation for being a run stopper was evident by his three tackles, but the rookie out of West Virginia struggled in pass coverage against the Dolphins.

Goode started his playing time by jumping on top of Jason Trusnik after Trusnik recovered Preston Parker’s muffed punt. Against the run, Goode stopped Lamar Miller at the line of scrimmage, holding the Miami rookie to no gain and followed that up by pushing Miller out of bounds after a gain of four yards on the next play.

However, in coverage Goode was not as reliable, allowing the ball to pass right by him as TE Charles Clay stood in the end zone for Miami’s only touchdown. Goode redeemed himself later in the fourth quarter with solid coverage on Miller, preventing a reception.

Goode played on special teams, but was very quiet in punt return coverage.

Goode displayed quickness in reactions and was impressive against the run, but definitely needs some refining when he drops into coverage to defend the pass.

Keith Tandy, CB – Sixth round, 174th overall selection
The Bucs secondary was thin due to injuries to Barron and Aqib Talib, and the West Virginia cornerback saw action beginning towards the end of the first quarter.

Tandy didn’t bring a wow factor to Miami Gardens, but did have a sideline stop and pushed Pruitt out of bounds in the third.

Tandy did not receive an invite to the NFL Combine in February, but ran an unofficial 4.43 at his pro day the following month, prompting the tag of “speedy corner”. Tandy displayed decent reaction time, but his closing speed was not up to par as he was late getting to a few plays.

Coming from a 3-3-5 defense, Tandy should fit best as a nickel back until in the short term until his skill set can be developed into that of a true NFL corner.

Michael Smith, RB – Seventh round, 212th overall selection
The Utah State running back has 4.3 speed which he showed off in two kickoff returns that totaled 118 yards, but Smith was essentially ineffective on offense, rushing nine times for 10 yards.

Smith opened the second half with a 34-yard return, but was knocked one yard behind the line of scrimmage on the next play. Smith caught a two-yard pass from Dan Orlovsky in the flats but continued to make minimal gain on the ground.

Smith tore down the field in his second kickoff return, but it appeared his legs got tired as Smith was caught after 74 yards. His longest run of five yards came shortly thereafter.

Smith was not without effort as he repeatedly fought to get through the line of scrimmage throughout his playing time. Ball security is being preached constantly in training camp and Schiano and running backs coach Earnest Byner must be pleased with Smith on that front; Smith holds the ball high and tight and uses his free hand to lock the ball in.

There is a definite difference between the Bucs’ starting offensive line and the third team, which makes it hard to judge how effective Smith would be in a regular season game.

Drake Dunsmore, TE – Seventh round, 233rd overall selection
The Bucs’ final draft pick in April was not on the field much, but caught a two-yard pass from third-team QB Brett Ratliff Friday night.

Dunsmore, who made highlight reel catches at Northwestern, also played on special teams against Miami. During a punt return, Cody Grimm was timid on his commitment to tackle Matthews, and took a bad angle and Dunsmore was able to square up on Matthews and take him to the ground.

Later in the fourth, Dunsmore didn’t block well for De’Anthony Curtis, preventing Curtis from gaining more than two yards.

Dallas Clark sat the game out due to rest, prompting Luke Stocker to be paired up with Zack Pianalto in two tight end sets. Collin Franklin played on second team and Dunsmore on the third, which would lead to assume Dunsmore really has to step his game up the next two weeks if he wants to make the final roster cut.

Other notable rookies:

De’Anthony Curtis, RB – Undrafted
The rookie out of Arkansas rushed for 20 yards on five carries, but 19 of those yards came on one run. Curtis did not catch a pass, missing a wide open pass from Ratliff as an oncoming defender approached, but tackled Matthews out of bounds on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter following Kai Forbath’s field goal.

Leonard Johnson, CB – Undrafted
Born in Clearwater and a graduate of Largo High, many Bucs fans have their preseason eyes on Johnson. Statistically Johnson had a quiet Friday night, but his presence was felt both on defense and special teams. Johnson is try-hard player whose motor never stops. Coupled with his hard working attitude, Johnson is developing good cover skills in training camp and will be one to watch in the next couple weeks. 
Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 12:51

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  • avatar

    I just wish we could get a little more info on barron
  • avatar

    dont matter which rb is better! to have both is a blessing. im so sick of people that say preseason dont matter. to me 4 of the most important games of the year
  • avatar

    Actually if you watch the tape the 2nd team line was only minus Nicks and Davin. Zuttah, Dotson, and Trueblood,were all still in. Larsen is a more than capeable backup, so Martin was not running behind some sorry UDFAs.
  • avatar

    good opinions! anyone looking to write more in depth, writing positions on Bucstop.com are open, go to the site to apply!
  • avatar

    Glad PR had Dory particularly watching the rookies during the first preseason game. Hope this feature keeps up all preseason. Good job, Dory. Schiano likes to use defenses with extra DBs on the field, so Tandy's experience with that type defense at WVa. may give him an advantage when that type defense is used. Glad to hear he has good speed too. I enjoyed Goode's expertise in stopping the run and he has the speed to cover from sideline to sideline, and played great when WVa. gave LSU a great game at Morgantown last year. He has the speed to cover on passes too and I hope the new coaches will help him improve that part of his game. He is a keeper. He should be Foster's backup due to his toughness inside. As far as Martin vs. Blount, I like their competition bringing out the best in both of them, but in truth, I expect they will be used to spell each other like the Giants do their two running backs, and it will not matter which one starts. Smith will make a significant back when he gets behind the first string offensive line. He should make the team on his runback ability, and he will be a significant weapon in the fourth quarter in the real games as a change of pace back we have been missing. He can break tackles too and is more durable than most small backs. David was phenomenol and will be a great starter this year. We need our defense to have a better pass rush, and I believe David will help us there.
  • avatar

    @Dory Not sure why you think Martin was more impressive than Blount? That makes no sense. He was decent but let's not get carried away. Did you Blounts 16 yard run? I think you like the rest of the media in this town think that Martin is going to handed the job just because what he did in college. With the new rookie contracts I don't think just because a player is drafted in the first round a team feels pressured to start them right away. I also don't think Schiano is not giving anything away unless it's earned.
  • avatar

    ".......Martin was even more impressive showing he is a complete NFL back and he did it all behind the second-team offensive line." She already answered your question. ^^. Our 2nd string Oline is horrendous. The other Rb's running behind that line did squat.
  • avatar

    I think the term "beating a dead horse" comes to mind....ha. sorry just too easy to pass up..
  • avatar

    Horse: Do I detect a hint of sarcasm in your post? We all know your true feelings about Gerald McCoy, Donald Penn, Quincy Black Aqib Talib, the entire defensive unit in general and the defensive line in particular. Somehow you think you're the only skeptical fan. We all are concerned. There is no question that the 2011 defense was the worst I've ever witnessed but it just isn't fair to assume the 2012 will be just as bad when the entire coaching staff has been replaced and there will be at least five new starters and hopefully a healthy Roy Miller and Gerald McCoy. I pay little attention to the results of preseason games and will await judgement until Cam Newton comes to town, but I don't see any way this defense is worse than 2011. Do you?
  • avatar

    Glad to see all is good with the DL. Go Bucs!
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