QB Jeff Garcia Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia’s Buccaneer debut didn’t go as planned Friday night. Garcia only took a total of six snaps before being relieved by Luke McCown, and he completed just 1-of-4 passes for 4 yards. Garcia’s only completion came on his first pass attempt when he threw to running back Cadillac Williams in the flat. Garcia’s next three passes fell incomplete. Garcia wasn’t horrible, but Bucs fans likely were expecting more from the veteran signal caller and Tampa Bay’s offense, which had two straight three-and-outs to start the game against the New England Patriots.
OT Jeremy Trueblood Second-year right tackle Jeremy Trueblood struggled in pass protection against the Patriots. In fact, he surrendered sacks on two consecutive plays in the second quarter. Those two sacks stalled a promising 10-play, 62-yard drive by the Bucs offense, which was forced to settle for a 36-yard Matt Bryant field goal.
RB Lionel Gates Tampa Bay’s running backs had a strong outing, rushing for 169 yards (4.7 avg.) on 36 carries. While rookie Kenneth Darby and Earnest Graham stole the show with 119 rushing yards, RB Lionel Gates struggled. He rushed five times for just 6 yards, and his fumble, which was caused by New England defender Le Kevin Smith, in the third quarter stalled a promising Tampa Bay drive on New England’s 36-yard line.
LB Derrick Brooks Bucs 10-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks set a good tone to begin Friday night’s preseason game when he made a great tackle to stuff the run. He finished the game with three takedowns. However, Brooks dropped an interception from quarterback Matt Cassel on New England’s third offensive series. In the second quarter, running back Sammy Morris bulled his way over Brooks on a two-yard touchdown run. That run capped off a 14-play, 65-yard drive that lasted 7:51.
Bucs CB Ronde Barber Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber finished Friday night’s game with three tackles. However, Barber missed at least two tackles in the open field against New England. The Bucs came out looking to improve their tackling, but Barber struggled in this area, which was disappointing.
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