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QB Chris Simms Tampa Bay’s offense started off hot vs. Miami’s defense on Saturday night. However, things began to cool off rather quickly when Simms missed tight end Anthony Becht in the end zone off of a bootleg on the opening series. Instead of scoring a touchdown, the Bucs were forced to settle for a 33-yard Matt Bryant field goal. That capped off an 11-play, 45-yard drive, but Simms, who played for three offensive series before being given the rest of the night off, completed just 2-of-7 (28.7 percent) passes 27 yards against Miami and he failed to lead the first-team offense into the end zone for the second straight game.
QB Tim Rattay While he completed 4-of-5 (80 percent) passes vs. Miami, Rattay failed to move the chains for the Bucs offense and had a poorly thrown pass intended for wide receiver J.R. Russell intercepted by safety Dee Cooper and returned to the Bucs’ 35-yard line in the third quarter. Tampa Bay converted just 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) third down tries on Saturday night, and the Bucs offense played flat with Rattay in the lineup.
FB Carey Davis With Cadillac Williams having the night off, and Michael Pittman receiving a limited amount of playing time, the Bucs once again leaned on Davis and Earnest Graham to carry the ground game on their backs. Neither player fared too well in that department Saturday night, and Davis had a costly fumble on Miami’s 19-yard line in the third quarter. Not only did that turnover kill Tampa Bay’s promising drive, it eventually led to a 52-yard field goal for Miami. Davis, who impressed in the preseason opener, rushed eight times for just 13 yards (1.6 avg.) while hauling in one pass for 10 yards on Saturday night.
G Toniu Fonoti Tampa Bay’s 370-pound backup left guard struggled mightily in pass protection vs. Miami. He just doesn’t show the agility or lateral movement necessary to pass protect at the NFL level. Tampa Bay surrendered four quarterback sacks on Saturday night, and Fonoti had a lot to do with the duress quarterbacks Tim Rattay and Bruce Gradkowski were under during the game.
WR Mark Jones Not only did he average just 3.5 yards per punt return on two attempts, Jones failed to make an impact as a receiver for the second straight exhibition game. Luckily for Jones, his roster spot appears to be secure, especially with his competition at the punt return position, rookie cornerback Justin Phinisee, averaging just 3 yards per return on two attempts.
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