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5 MOST IMPRESSIVE
WR Maurice Stovall- Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Maurice Stovall broke out in a preseason game some of the play that he showcased in practice over the past few training camps. Stovall has made his impact in the regular season on special teams, but has come under a lot of criticism for not having an impact as a receiver when it counted. From the very start of the game Stovall was making his presence felt on offense. On the first drive of the game Stovall notched three receptions for 31 yards. On third-and-7 Stovall got an 18-yard reception after running a slant to get open against quarters coverage. Quarterback Byron Leftwich got good time, and drilled the ball to the big wide out. Stovall's completion was a key play in setting up the Bucs first score. Stovall caught a few long receptions to convert two clutch third-and-long situations for Tampa Bay. Leftwich fired a pair of 21-yard receptions to Stovall set up the second field goal. The first one saw Stovall hang unto the pass after running a slant and being closely guarded. Dolphins safety Gibril Wilson and cornerback Tyrone Culver tried to slap and rip the ball away, but Stovall used his muscle to hold onto the ball. Stovall followed up that reception with his second 21-yard grab if the drive using his body to seal away the defender, and give Leftwich a good target to throw towards. After the second drive of the game Stovall had a total of six receptions for 74 yards, and was done for the night. With the run game sputtering and Leftwich struggling to complete passes to any other receiver, Stovall was the leading player to get the Bucs in position for their only scores of the game.
RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams – After being held out of the first two preseason games, the Buccaneers welcomed Williams back to the field by giving him the start against the Dolphins. Williams first carry picked up a first down for the Bucs on a three-yard gain. A few plays later Williams did a great job of picking a blitz to give Leftwich time to throw a first down pass to Stovall on third-and-7. On the same drive, Williams sprung a big run to put the Bucs into an easy field goal position. Running behind the left side of the offensive line, Williams got a great block from guard Jeremy Zuttah and raced up field 19 yards. A few plays later the Bucs got their first field goal of the night. Williams had an excellent 12-yard run later in the second half. In the first half, Williams totaled seven carries for 46 yards (6.6 yards per carry). Williams started out the second half by picking up an eight-yard run for a first down on second-and-7. He did a good job of zigzagging and charging ahead for extra yards. Williams finished the night with that carry, and his final numbers were eight carries for 54 yards (6.75 average). Williams did a good job of reading the holes and running to daylight. The Bucs veteran showed no ill effects from his second straight offseason of rehabbing a significant knee injury. The speed with which Williams ran, and his cutting ability were noteworthy. It was definitely a quality start to the 2009 season for the Bucs oft-injured running back.
DE Kyle Moore- The Buccaneers rookie defensive end had his second straight strong preseason game against the Dolphins. Moore combined with defensive tackle Rashad Duncan to notch a sack of quarterback Chad Henne. Moore came from around Henne, and forced him in to step up into the hard-charging Duncan. Later in the second half Moore did a great job of recognizing a running play and forcing Hilliard to run back towards the rest of the defense. However, Moore didn't quit there. He pursued Hilliard from behind and reached up to take down Hilliard while also helping to force a fumble. Safety Steve Cargile recovered the loose ball to secure the turnover for Tampa Bay. The productive night from the Bucs fourth-round pick was not over with that play. Moore recognized the Dolphins setting up a screen pass to running back Lex Hilliard, and stayed with the back. His coverage forced Henne to throw the pass away at Hilliard's feet. Throughout the game Moore displayed great awareness and instincts. Moore had splash plays in run defense and pass defense, and was one of the leaders of a great defensive effort by Tampa Bay.
RB Clifton Smith- The Bucs Pro Bowl kick and punt returner put on display some of the moves that took him to Hawaii after the 2008 season. Before Smith made his presence felt on punt returns, he made a critical loose ball recovery for Tampa Bay. Dolphin Patrick Cobbs blocked a punt by Buccaneer Dirk Johnson. Smith was the punter's personal protector, and depending on the assignments he should have blocked Cobbs. However, after the punt was blocked Dolphin linebacker Charlie Anderson couldn't handle the ball, and Smith made the recovery to maintain possession for Tampa Bay at the Miami 47-yard line. That second chance led to the Buccaneers getting their first field goal of the game. Smith made a big play to start the Bucs off for their second field goal as well. Miami punter Brandon Fields boomed a punt inside the Bucs 10-yard line where Smith fielded the ball cleanly at the seven. Smith jetted up field and juked a few Dolphins as he ripped up field. Smith came close to breaking it loose and taking it to the end zone, but was caught by Miami defender Erik Walden. Smith's return totaled 30-yards and gave the Buccaneers good starting field position as opposed to being backed up inside their own 20-yard line. The second-year pro Smith also did a good job on kick coverage, and recorded a special teams tackle.
K Mike Nugent- The Buccaneers wanted to see how accurate Nugent was on field goal attempts less than 40 yards. Nugent passed the tests he received nailing two field goals. The first field goal was from 29 yards away to cap off the Bucs first scoring drive. Nugent was true on his second attempt from 38 yards. Nugent also boomed two kickoffs deep into the end zone. The first one was two yards deep and the second one was five yards deep. Matt Bryant, the incumbent competitor for the kicking job, has been extremely accurate under 40 yards, and Nugent needed to prove that if the Bucs chose him they would not see a drop off there. Nugent's next attempt was a 46-yarder that he nailed. The kick was called back due to a false start. After the five-yard penalty, Nugent missed a 51-yard field goal wide right. What really hurt the play was a bad snap from snapper Andrew Economos. The snap messed up the timing on the kick. While it was not a perfect night, Nugent accounted for all six of Tampa Bay's points. Because of that Nugent just edges out honorable mentions defensive tackle Chris Bradwell and safety Tanard Jackson.