The Cleveland Browns came in to Tampa Bay and foiled the Buccaneers dress rehearsal on Saturday night. Though there were a plethora of starters out for the game, those who did participant had their highs and lows. These were our low lights from the loss.

Pass Rush

This was a trend that we started to notice in the first two preseason games, but now that it’s been three in a row, it’s time to mention it.

There was basically zero pass rush from the Buccaneers first team players in the first half. Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had far too much time to complete his passes and converted on a high percentage of third down plays because of it. Robert Ayers and Noah Spence in particular were no-shows, for the most part. Clinton McDonald was disruptive at times, but one man can’t do it all.

As a whole, that part of the Bucs defense needs work – and fast.

Kendell Beckwith

Rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith has been put right in the frying pan to start his rookie year. At first he was named the starter at SAM linebacker when Devante Bond went down, and then he was moved to the starting MIKE linebacker with Kwon Alexander nursing an injury.

He had a couple nice plays in the Jacksonville game, and even though he did get his arm in there to force a fumble, Beckwith got pushed around a bit at the line of scrimmage. He was bulldozed on one play by Isaiah Crowell, and missed a tackle on another. Rookie learning curve, which is fine, but for a starter, it was a bit disappointing in terms of consistency.

Donovan Smith

The match up most wanted to see going into this game was left tackle Donovan Smith versus defensive end Myles Garrett.

Garrett got the better of Smith, for the most part. Garrett almost took Winston’s head off on one play, and got in Smith’s head a little with a false start penalty. Taking on Garrett is no easy task, but Smith struggled to do so, regardless.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick ended his night 7-for-11 for 55 yards, which was OK. However, if you saw the game between the stats, it wasn’t pretty.

Fitzpatrick has been a total liability at quarterback, to this point. He’s a risk taker that seems to be on the bad side more than good (which can be expected at his age). He may have the experience, but on some decisions, he doesn’t show it. We thought this team brought him in as a guy who *could* win a game or two if called upon. But, at this point, we’re not so sure.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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macabee
macabee
4 years ago

God help us if Winston goes down! Maybe I’m overreacting, but when QB Fitzpatrick steps on the field he reminds me of the character called Mayhem in the AllState Insurance commercial. lol. And he seems quite relaxed about it. The Bucs know better than me. I can only hope – hope he never sees the field in a regular season game. Go Bucs!

Ken Grant
Ken Grant
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

Yea, he has been absolutely abyssal. Like his turnovers have been so bad you’d think he was actually drunk. That fumble tonight was just unreal…

scubog
scubog
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

Fitzpatrick has always had an inflated opinion of himself, but now he appears to be just going through the motions. I want a veteran back-up who can come in and not get you beat. I see the Harvard man having such a huge ego he’d more likely trot onto the field and want to try to prove how great he is instead of just managing the game.

Dman
Dman
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Absolutely! I was excited when we signed this guy and maybe he’ll be great on the sidelines on gameday, but he’s been horrible on the field.

Ken Grant
Ken Grant
4 years ago

Myles Garrett is an incredible talent but Donovan Smith is a 2 year starter on that just got embarrassed by a rookie. With the pathetically shallow tackle class in this craft and typical dearth of free agency options at the position I understand why the team issues and early and confident commitment to Smith and the rest of the line but if this offense fails to achieve at expectations there’s a very good change the tackle position will be the reason why. To make things worse the depth at tackle is simply not ready to play in the league yet… Read more »

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  Ken Grant
4 years ago

the dream would be to trade up for Connor Williams from Texas, dude is the best tackle to be entering draft in 10 years

deeznuts
deeznuts
4 years ago

Justin Evans should be on this list after two bone-headed penalties in a row.. bad ones too w/ hits to defenseless receiver

Justin2626
Justin2626
Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
4 years ago

Agreed, those were both VERY BAD calls….i’m not really sure what the referee was seeing there…one of them he threw the flag before J. Evans was even close to the defender…..

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

That are depth is very questionable at DE, OL, QB. It’s a long season let’s hope we don’t have any injuries. We have to find another quarterback after the Thursday’s cuts. Griffin has proven nothing that he can play in the NFL and Fitzpatrick has proven in the past he shouldn’t be in the NFL. Zero confidence we have any backup quarterback at all.

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

I would rather give Sefo the back up job over Griffin and Fitzpatrick tbh

surferdudes
4 years ago

Every team we’ve played has given their #3 Q.B. some snaps but us. You would think the Bucs would’ve used Sefo some more with Griffin out but no. Do they like what they see, and want to put on the P.S.? Maybe game four he gets some snaps.

revfish
revfish
Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Yes, I didn’t see this last game but if you have Sefo, use him at some point. I loved the Fitzpatrick signing but wasn’t impressed during the first two games. Hopefully, Griffin comes back sooner unless I missed something on that front.

Dman
Dman
4 years ago

We are looking great at skill positions, but don’t have the horses down in the trenches on either side of the ball. Ayers hasn’t shown me anything, no better than that guy Johnson we got from Cinci a couple years ago. And Spence should be playing in a 3-4 – Joe Thomas muscled him out of the way all night. We seem to be light on fundamentals as well. Let’s hope we get guys healthy and ready to play over the next couple weeks. The Dolphins are going to be tough at home.

fredster
fredster
4 years ago

I caught lot heat for saying I don’t have much faith in this O line and in particular Donovan Smith can be one of best LT in league this year. I just don’t see that. Going from one of if not worst to best? Whatever. Fitzpatrick seems to have lost it overnight and looks like a candidate for retirement. He’s horrible. With Griffin hurt we could be up shit creek if Winston gets hurt. Speaking of that he took some big hits and we looked helpless to pick up blitzes. You know Greg Williams is going to bring it so… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

The trenches right now look worrisome depth wise and with the starting DL not creating the buzz like they did last year.

Patrick J Ellsworth
Patrick J Ellsworth
4 years ago

I think Justin Evans has been horrible. Horrible. That said, those two penalties were bullshit, especially the 2nd one.

owlykat
owlykat
4 years ago

I pegged Beckwith as an inept choice for lack of speed and failure to get off blocks the day he was picked by Licht. I pegged Justin Evans as another Licht bust because he would bring penalties because of his hard high hits and is a poor tackler who does not wrap up. We needed to move up in the second round and got a top running back–our running last night was subpar. With the fourth pick there were still defensive ends we could have used last night. Licht’s 5th pick that he touted is a bust too. And every… Read more »

Justin2626
Justin2626
Reply to  owlykat
4 years ago

From the sound of it, we should hire you! pfft….give me a break….you’re so far off.

fredster
fredster
4 years ago

Also That play we had Kizer backed up on goal line 3rd and 10 and he completed first down throw was just hard to watch. So many 3rd and longs completed by a rookie was embarrassing really.

macabee
macabee
4 years ago

Re Bucs absent pass rush and the possible loss of DE DaVonte Lambert to injury. There is nothing wrong with recently waived 4-3 DE Kony Ealy – just a bad scheme fit for a 3-4 odd-man Patriot defensive front.

The Bucs would be wise to give this guy a look but probably won’t get the chance as I suspect that he will be awarded to a team with a lower number in the last draft. Nothing fails but a try, make the claim! Go Bucs!

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article169632522.html

matador
matador
4 years ago

I too have taken some heat for expressing concern about the OL for over a year now – especially from PR parroting the pro-OL commentary coming out of One Buc and then throwing it in the faces of posters like Fredster, myself and many others. A mea culpa would be nice. I’ll go back to my earlier observation that in addition to his second round reaches/whiffs Licht has made the typical rookie GM mistake of overemphasizing the skill positions and underinvesting in the lines. It’s still relatively early in his tenure (and more importantly Jameis’) but the problem with this… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  matador
4 years ago

I agree with your comment (under-investing in the lines) as it relates to the OL – FA additions have been underwhelming (Sweezy – maybe he’ll be great this year), draft selections have been hit (Marpet) and miss (Smith – maybe the light switch will suddenly go on), and subtractions have hurt a lot (Penn again in the probowl last year). The OL decisions have left a lot to be desired by Licht – in particular, I think he passed on a few good looking draft choices that I would like to have seen us take (the classic one I often… Read more »

fredster
fredster
4 years ago

Anyone know status of Jacques Smith? We really need some speed off the edge it looks like. We got bigger but speed is needed of course for pass rush specialists.

Marco Prazelini
Marco Prazelini
4 years ago

Re Noah Spence as a “no-show” … Pro Football Focus disagrees, would even rank Spence as one of the Bucs “Most Impressive”:

“ED NOAH SPENCE, 80.0 OVERALL GRADE
Spence followed up a solid showing last week with another impressive performance rushing the passer, one of several notable performances among Tampa’s front four. The second-year player converted 18 rushes into two pressures (one sack, one hit) and a batted pass, along with another pair of wins.”

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
4 years ago

D Smith is a RT at best period.

martinii
martinii
4 years ago

I was really concerned about the Buc’s pre-season game 3 tune-up until I realized that 15 probable roster players were held out last night. I think you have to remember that puts extreme pressure on those who played because most schemes are reduced to vanilla and a lot of those guys are forced into unfamiliar position groupings. What I am really trying to say is most of the game was a Chines fir drill which resulted in a 6000 lb. snot bubble.I am sure they will find some value in the film before they burn it. Agree with Mac, Belicheat… Read more »

macabee
macabee
Reply to  martinii
4 years ago

As I suspected, New York Jets claimed DE Kony Ealy – another 3-4 team. Genius at work. Oh well, Go Bucs!

drdneast
drdneast
4 years ago

owlykats, LOL I wonder why you aren’t working in someone’s scouting department right now. Those weren’t high hits by Evans, they were blown calls by the officials. In each instance Evans was penalized he was going for the ball which he has every right to, not for the head. I have noticed over the months that like a lot of fans, Trevor likes to pick a couple of players to criticize. Lately it’s been Beckwith and Donovan Smith. Watching the game now and sorry, except for one play, Smith has a pretty good game. Haven’t been watching Beckwith that much… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

You’re spot on DrD. I swear, I often wonder if some of these folks even watch the game. Certainly not sitting in the rain like my wife and me. They just look for things to prove their ill advised perceptions. Those two calls against Justin Evans were pure BS. All one has to do is watch the replay. Of course, Owlykat is probably wanting the Bucs to sign Tebow. Miles Garret got around Donovan Smith once, never touched the QB and the pass was still completed. Big whoop!

drdneast
drdneast
4 years ago

Geeesh, Ealy was claimed off waivers. Wasn’t he even worth a seventh round pick to take look at. I would much rather gamble a seventh that a second on an unproven rookie kicker. Oh well, I hear Ealy also had a huge attitude problem in New England and Carolina. I would say NE is the worst place in the world to have an attitude problem. Belichek would rather lose without you than win with you if your ‘tude isn’t right. Also for all those people wringing their hands over the pass rush last night, the Browns went out and revamped… Read more »

macabee
macabee
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

I think the Bucs are aware that the pass rush needs to improve. The Bucs were one of 7 teams that put in a waiver claim for DE Kony Ealy. He was awarded to the Jets, but the Bucs were in the mix trying to get better. Beyond the Jets, the Cowboys, Giants, Buccaneers, Washington, Lions, and Cardinals all made claims. Bottom line they know there’s a problem and is evidently trying to address it!