The Buccaneers practiced with the New England Patriots before playing each other Friday night in Gillette Stadium. It also seemed as if the Patriots knew every move the Bucs were going to make. But it is the preseason and PewterReport.com takes a look at who impressed the most on Friday night.
1. Mike James
The University of Miami running back showed why he feels he feels he belongs in the NFL. Rookie Mike James took advantage of the extended looks he was given Friday night against New England. James carried the ball 15 times for 81 yards while registering three catches for 23 yards and scored Tampa Bay's two-point conversion. He had a great night picking up blitzes in pass protection and when his number was called, he ran with authority. Despite being a sixth-round draft pick James is making a bid to be the Bucs backup to Doug Martin. With games like Friday night the former Hurricane just may show enough to earn that honor.
2. Da'Quan Bowers
Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers had some issues doing anything last week against the Ravens reserves. Friday night, the third year player out of Clemson had a much better showing after starting the game on the bench. Bowers was seen bull-rushing the Patriots offensive tackles with no issues. He even manhandled a Patriots tight end to the ground. Although he did not show up on the stat sheet, Bowers forced the quarterback pocket to collapse consistently and that is one part of his game the coaching staff has been looking for from him.
3. Derek Dimke
Veteran kicker Lawrence Tynes is not helping himself by watching his competition, Derek Dimke, kick the ball through the uprights. After going 2-for-2 on the night, Dimke is now 5-for-5 this preseason on field goal attempts. He hit those field goals from 23 and 37 yards out while adding an extra point. The second year kicker is making a case to be Connor Barth's replacement in 2013.
4. Mike Glennon
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon showed his poise in the pocket once again. Stepping up and making throws on a line, Glennon completed a 41-yarder to wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, a 13-yard touchdown to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, and a back-shoulder throw to wide receiver David Douglas in the endzone for his second touchdown pass. He had one bad throw that resulted in an interception return for a touchdown by New England's Logan Ryan but overall, the N.C. State product stood tall in the pocket and let the plays develop. Glennon finished 12-of-22 for 121 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
5. Peyton Hillis
After running back Peyton Hillis started this week of practice on the exercise bikes, it was unclear whether the veteran running back would see action Friday night. Well, much like Mike James, he did well while sharing carries with James. Hillis made several tacklers miss on first contact and often times dragged defenders with him for some extra yardage. At times, Fox's color commentator Daryl Johnston compared him to Mike Alstott. Hillis finished the night with 18 carries for 73 yards.
Honorable mention: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, despite only getting a handful of reps, did nothing to make Bucs coaches and fans think he isn't poised for a monster season in 2013... Kick returner Michael Smith is behind the eight ball and needed a great night to stay in the running for a roster spot. Friday night he did just that with a 63-yard kickoff return that will make cut down day even more difficult for the Bucs coaching staff.