Copyright 2008 PewterReport.com
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5 Most Disappointing Bucs
K Matt Bryant
Bryant continued to struggle in the preseason finale in Houston by making just 3-of-5 field goal attempts vs. the Texans. Bryant missed a 54-yard field goal attempt by coming up just short on the try in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Bryant was wide right on a 36-yard field goal attempt, making him 0-for-2 on the night. Bryant managed to finish the preseason strong by drilling three field goals from 40, 29 and 31 yards, respectively, in the fourth quarter. But Bryant's erratic kicking is cause for concern as he went just 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) on field goal attempts in preseason.
WR Micheal Spurlock
Spurlock likely felt some added pressure after watching rookie receiver Dexter Jackson field a punt and return it 83 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Or at least that appeared to be the case when Spurlock muffed a punt in the second quarter. Luckily for Spurlock, Bucs defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson jumped on the loose ball to prevent the turnover in Tampa Bay territory. Not only did he make that mistake, but Spurlock also averaged just 6 yards per punt return on two attempts. He did have a 28-yard kickoff return on Thursday night, but Spurlock failed to make an impact on offense. He didn't catch a pass vs. the Texans.
QB Chris Simms
Despite playing nearly half of the game vs. Houston on Thursday night, Simms failed to lead the offense, which was mostly made up of backup players attempting to make Tampa Bay's 53-man roster, to the end zone. He completed 9-of-15 (60 percent) passes for 71 yards vs. the Texans, but one of his errant passes came in the third quarter when his throw across the middle actually hit center Dan Buenning's helmet and bounced in the air, which allowed Texans defensive tackle Anthony Maddox to intercept the pass. No one was expecting a stellar performance from Simms, but it was disappointing to see him not make more of the extended playing time he received on Thursday night.
WR BRIAN CLARK
Clark was on the bubble heading into the preseason finale, and he unfortunately didn't do much to help his cause vs. the Texans. In the second quarter, Bucs QB Chris Simms threw a pass to Clark down the right sideline. While it would have been a difficult catch to make, Clark didn't show playmaking ability on the play, which resulted in an incompletion. Late in the fourth quarter, Bucs rookie QB Josh Johnson attempted to hit Clark twice in the end zone, but to no avail as both passes were off the mark. They did manage to connect across the middle of the field for a 12-yard gain late in the fourth quarter, but Clark, who started in place of Ike Hilliard and played throughout the entire game, might have needed a better outing in order to secure a spot on Tampa Bay's active roster.
RB CLIFTON SMITH
Smith might be headed for the practice squad after his less-than-stellar performance vs. the Texans. Most of Smith's success came in the passing game, where he caught four passes for 35 yards. However, he was ineffective as a runner, carrying the ball five times for just five yards. He also returned two punts for just 7 yards. While he didn't play poorly (not many Bucs players did on Thursday night), Smith needed to be more productive given the amount of touches he received in the game.
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