What position unit performed the best on Thursday night against the Redskins in the final preseason game of 2013? What groups of backups performed poorly, costing some of them jobs in the NFL? See what Mark Cook thinks in this weekly postgame feature.
To the delight of almost everyone involved, the preseason has ended and the Buccaneers finished a dismal 1-3 after losing to the Redskins on Thursday night 30-12. Mark Cook takes a look at the individual units and grades each one for their performance on Thursday night.
For the small segment of fans that might have been clamoring for rookie Mike Glennon to start for the Bucs in place of Josh Freeman, Thursday night’s game showed how far the former N.C. State star is from being ready. While it is true Glennon was playing with No. 2’s, he was also facing the Redskins backups and managed to complete just 7-of-16 passes for 63 yards with an interception, finishing the night with an abysmal QB rating of 28.6.
Third-string QB Dan Orlovsky didn’t fare any better finishing one-for-five for just seven yards.
While Glennon may very well one day develop into a quality NFL starter, throwing him in the fire this season would most likely spell disaster.GRADE = FRunning Backs
The Buccaneers running backs were held to just 83 yards on 31 carries for a paltry 2.7-yard average. During the course of the game both Mike James and Peyton Hillis were injured forcing the Buccaneers to run receiver Jordan Norwood seven times for 26 yards and also cornerback Mason Robinson who carried the ball nine times for 12 yards.
The entire offense was out of synch for the most part, including the running game and being forced to run two players who aren’t even running backs is not a recipe for success.GRADE = DWide Receivers
When the quarterbacks complete just a combined eight passes on the night it is hard to evaluate how the receivers played. Eric Page helped his cause to stick on the 53-man roster in with his two-catch, 25-yard performance. Tiquan Underwood finished his night with two catches for eight yards. Newcomer Jordan Norwood added one 25-yard reception to close the books on receptions by receivers on Thursday night.
GRADE = CTight Ends
The Bucs lost tight end Tom Crabtree with an ankle injury in the first half, making head coach Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan cringe. While not ideal, depending on the severity the ankle, it most likely will cause less missed time than a knee injury, which would have been everyone’s worst fear. Crabtree was seen after the game walking without crutches, which may be a good sign.
With Crabtree out, Nate Byham and Luke Stocker got the majority of the reps, along with Danny Noble and Tim Wright late in the second half. No one distinguished themselves, and out of all the anticipated position battles the tight end one was perhaps the most disappointing during camp. There was no clear cut winner, and now with the Crabtree injury, the position becomes even more muddied. Don’t be surprised if the Buccaneers scour the waiver wire Saturday after the 6 p.m. cuts are made. GRADE = DOffensive Line
The Buccaneers reserves played somewhat better than last week – in pass protection only – officially giving up just one sack. But both Glennon and Orlovsky were pressured for much of the night causing Glennon in particular to short arm some throws, and try and fit them between and around rushing Redskins.
While it is true by the fourth quarter the Buccaneers were handing the ball to receivers and cornerbacks, the results most likely would not have been very much different if it were Doug Martin getting the carries, as the holes were just not here for most of the night.GRADE = DDefensive Line
The defensive line once again disappeared for the most part on Thursday night, notching zero sacks and failing to contain Redskins running backs who racked up 130 yards on the ground.
William Gholston was one of the few bright spots nabbing three tackles for loss while Da’Quan Bowers and Trevor Scott also had one a piece.GRADE = CLinebackers
The Buccaneer linebacking corps missed a number of tackles on Thursday night, allowing Redskins running back to run freely at times. Adam Hayward was the culprit on a number of missed tackles, taking poor angles not wrapping up. For all the time spent on tackling drills in practice, the Buccaneers defense looked like they hadn’t hit a bag in weeks. The good news for Bucs fans is a number of the players who struggled will most likely never see the field in the regular season, if they even make the squad.
One lone bright spot was former West Virginia linebacker Najee Goode who picked off his former college teammate quarterback Pat White and gave the Bucs their only touchdown of the night, returning the interception for a score.GRADE = CSecondary
Tampa Bay’s secondary was solid on Thursday night, but it wasn’t like they were facing Robert Griffin III, but instead White, who complete 13-of-22 passes for 181 yards. The former Mountaineer quarterback was efficient at times, capitalizing on Buccaneers mistakes and turnovers.
The Buccaneers secondary recorded just three pass breakups all night, and two of those were by Goode at linebacker. Safety Sean Baker and Johnthan Banks both missed tackles, leading to the Redskins first score of the night. Safety Ahmad Back finished the night as the Bucs leading tackler in the secondary, notching five stops.GRADE = C
Punt and kicker returner Eric Page may have wrapped up a roster spot on Thursday night returning one punt for 16 yards and averaging 23 yards on three kickoff returns.
Tampa Bay’s coverage unit was poor on Thursday night, allowing a 69-yard punt return for a score by former FSU standout Chris Thompson and also a 29-yarder later in the game.
Kicker Derek Dimke most likely cost himself a shot at a roster spot, missing a field goals and an extra point on Thursday night. Rian Lindell fare much better, making both of his field goals on the night.GRADE = D+
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