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August 29, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Rookie Review: Baker Steps Up, Tandy Looks Like Real Deal

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


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Already locked in as the Tampa Bay starters at their positions, running back Doug Martin, weakside linebacker Lavonte David, and strong safety Mark Barron had the night off in Washington as the Redskins defeated the Bucs 30-3. But other rookies were put on display as they fight for not only their place on the depth chart, but for their name on the final 53-man roster. 
Najee Goode
Goode is excellent against the run, but his coverage skills are developing. Against Washington, Goode showed those skills are emerging with nice pass coverage on Niles Paul to save a touchdown with under a minute left in the first quarter. Goode recorded a tackle for loss to stop on Royster for a loss of a yard, assisted Tandy with 10 yard tackle on Helu, and stopped Dorson Royce for a short gain. Goode has played well on special teams and is very solid against the run, but has a lot of competition from Dekoda Watson, Adam Hayward, Jacob Cutrera, and Rennie Curran for a roster spot.

Keith Tandy
For the second week in a row, Tandy was one of the most impressive Buccaneer defenders and should have guaranteed himself a spot on the final roster. Tandy is a smart, versatile defensive back who has been playing as a safety the past few weeks, but is capable of playing nickel and cornerback as well. On the opening Washington drive, Tandy was able to grab Josh Morgan’s ankles and drag him to the ground and followed that up a play later getting inside the box to tackle Evan Royster for five yard gain. Tandy had a laser on Royster, nailing him again after a pass on third down midway through the first quarter. Tandy had a misread on a play, but was able to recover as fellow rookie Baker made the tackle. Tandy ended the night with two more tackles for a total of five, adding to his already team-leading 13 tackles entering the contest.

Michael Smith
Relieved of his kick return duties for the preseason finale, Smith started the game as the starting running back, but struggled behind a makeshift offensive line. Smith totaled just four yards on four carries and had one reception for 11 yards, but should have shown enough as a kick returner and in practice to remain on the final roster.

Drake Dunsmore and Danny Noble
Both rookie tight ends were battling Zack Pianalto for a roster spot, but neither did enough to secure a spot. Dunsmore, the second of two seventh-round draft picks, needed a strong showing against the Redskins, but barely saw the field. Noble was said to have been penciled in as the third tight end behind Dallas Clark and Luke Stocker, but did little Wednesday night to ensure he stay there. Both players continued to struggle in pass protection and only Noble had a reception (one yard) at Fedex Field.

Leonard Johnson
Johnson allowed the first complete pass of the game as Anthony Armstrong was able to get inside Johnson. Terrence Austin made a catch on the right sideline, but immediately Johnson immediately shoved him out of bound, then was able to drag Roy Helu down shortly thereafter. An undrafted local player out of Largo High, Johnson was signed by the Bucs following the draft. Thought early in the draft season to be a top-10 talent, Johnson fell down the board and eventually off of it completely due to his lack of press-man cover skills. The Bucs decided to give him a shot and the Clearwater native may end up on the final roster due to his upside as a developmental player.

Sean Baker
If you haven’t seen much about Baker from PewterReport.com until now, it’s because he had been incredibly quiet for the first three preseason games. Once he was given the opportunity, however, Baker came alive in the second quarter and didn’t look back the rest of the game. Baker is a high energy guy who had three tackles on the Redskins’ fifth possession, which would have been for if not for a Redskin penalty that negated the play. Baker continued to make a case for himself to start the second half with a possible point-saving tackle on Helu and then followed it up two plays later with his first interception of the game. Baker displayed above average read and react skills, evident by his second interception at the end of the third quarter and a fumble recovery, which Baker returned four yards in the final quarter. Baker was outstanding in his first look with extended playing time, and may have made the Bucs roster decisions even harder when it comes to the secondary.

Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:30

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  • avatar

    It's hard to believe the NFL makes you pay full price for tickets in preseason. The c*%^ that was on the field last night and most of the other preseason games are not worth buying season tickets. It's time the NFL did something for the fans. They should half price preseason games or make them count for something, tie breaker, home field advantage, anything so they will put a good product on the field for the price they charge !
  • avatar

    I appreciate the low down on these players-Again I hope Underwood and Shipley do make the team and Preston Parker DON'T-Go Bucs
  • avatar

    This is going to be an ugly season if the regular officials don't come back. I know the Skins cut block, but several times they cut defenders who were being blocked up high by one guy, and cut by another, that's illegal. Couldn't count how many times they shoud've been called for holding. My point being, if you train your players to play by the rules, you're going to lose alot of games to teams who don't.
  • avatar

    And they couldn't even get the Underwood catch call correct with a challenge from the Coach. I saw what you saw - and plenty of blocks in the back that were not called.
  • avatar

    We won 4 games last year im not sure how our lack of depth is a startling development. We added maybe 6 impact players including FA's and draft picks. We need our team to stay healthy to compete and this game did nothing more but state the obvious. I was looking for a few players to step up and show they belong and the Bucs got that. They came out of the game healthy and with reassurance about a few of their young players. Thats a solid game 4 in my opinion. The score is irrelevant, finding valuable special teamers and quality depth was the objective. Lets get ready for the Panthers. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Screw the NFL for putting this product on the field. Horrible and this is all a Buc fan gets to see. Then more blackouts for season. Spent 30 plus years rooting for this team but no more cause the NFL sucks!!! No more for me!!!
  • avatar

    I can agree that if we have to go with pretty much anybody that played yesterday we're in big trouble. They looked awful! However, this does not represent our depth at every position. Ratliff is not our backup QB, Madu is not our backup RB, Dotson is the #1 backup OT and I don't believe he saw a snap, Okoye and Gibson were not on the field (although the stats suggest Okoye saw 1 play), George Johnson (backup DE) played sparingly, Baker is not our backup safety, Underwood is maybe #4 WR (and he looked pretty good), at TE Stocker (Clark's #2) was not in the game, and so on. The one area of concern is OG - which made me think OMG last night - come on waiver wire be friendly. Over all, this was a game of largely guys that will either be cut or on our practice squad. If we ever have to play them because we get decimated by injury, then we're in trouble - but I think the same could be said for every team in the league - who is the 3rd stringer behind Evans and Greer in NO, or behind Abraham in Atlanta....same story, so let's hope we can avoid any more serious injuries.
  • avatar

    All I have to say is we have no depth at all, anywhere. Going to be a rough year with out DJ! Go BUCS!
  • avatar

    Well clearly this was an ugly game but at least a few players did show up. Baker really looked good. IF this was the only game to judge him by he would make the team. Goode was around the ball all night.Tandy looks like a lock. But what is with Ratliff ? This guy is gone for sure. What I got out of this game is : I hope our starters stay healthy, Because there is not much there after them.
  • avatar

    i only watched the 1st half but Baker didn't look that good to me out there when i saw him remind me of a cody grimm lite not that fast or athletic but plays hards... speaking of cody i believe he was the one that stopped Helu short of the endzone
  • avatar

    I don't think anybody good run up the middle, or off guard with what we had in. Larsen continues to show me that he is a utility player and not really a serious back up for a particular position like guard or center; he's too small. I would only keep Martin, Smith, Blount and pick up another RB. We probably have to keep Johson and Baker on the 53 man squad as they would get picked up if we moved them to PS. On the DL I thought Johnson played good and Okam was disruptive at times according to the definition of some of the Sound Offs, but should be cut. We have very little backup at all, much less four good starting DL. A trade or two might help. I was glad to hear the staus from Dominik that he thought that Bowers will play later in the season. I felt that the starting offensive team should have played a couple series as they have been flat and I am concerned about the Carolina game.
  • avatar

    I cannot fault Michael Smith OR Madu for not running well tonight. The line blocking was totally nonexistent. It's a major problem, our OL and DL depth. HELP!!!!
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