Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
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.
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.
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.
The match up most wanted to see going into this game was left tackle Donovan Smith versus defensive end Myles Garrett.
Myles Garrett vs. Donovan Smith#Slippery pic.twitter.com/SwIyPEOFKf
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) August 27, 2017
Myles Garrett vs. Donovan Smith#Slippery pic.twitter.com/SwIyPEOFKf
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) August 27, 2017
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.
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.
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]
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!
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…
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.
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.
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 so if anything happens to Dot or Donovan we are in big trouble.
Ideally I’d like to see a high pick on a LT in 2018(McGlinchey?) and have Donovan flipped to the right side if it doesn’t work out this year.
the dream would be to trade up for Connor Williams from Texas, dude is the best tackle to be entering draft in 10 years
Justin Evans should be on this list after two bone-headed penalties in a row.. bad ones too w/ hits to defenseless receiver
Both of the penalties should not have been penalties, so he’s not on here for that reason. Those calls were a joke.
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…..
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.
I would rather give Sefo the back up job over Griffin and Fitzpatrick tbh
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.
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.
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.
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 why weren’t they at all ready? Crazy.
This team is going to be better than last year. Saying they are lock for wildcard or even winning division is really getting very far ahead of things.
I’m Optimistic and think if we stay healthy we are better than last years 9-7 team. O line starters and depth was my biggest concern this year and still is. I think when McCoy is back in there we will generate more pass rush. It’s so vanilla right now too. Game 1 in Miami we will likely know.
Anyways go Bucs!
The trenches right now look worrisome depth wise and with the starting DL not creating the buzz like they did last year.
I think Justin Evans has been horrible. Horrible. That said, those two penalties were bullshit, especially the 2nd one.
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 year with Licht we have had the worst third string players too. Even the Browns had better third string players than us and the Browns are undefeated this preseason and have obviously out drafted Licht despite their terrible reputation, including also picking up two great offensive linemen in free agency. If we do not make the playoffs we need to dump Egotistical Licht and hire the Titan’s much better GM or another more talented GM.
From the sound of it, we should hire you! pfft….give me a break….you’re so far off.
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.
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!
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 is that some of your better players (e.g. GMC, Grimes, the meter is even running on David) age out and require replacements, hampering your ability to fill holes you already have as a result of draft whiffs. For example, spending a #1 on OJH (who admittedly could end up being fantastic) to replace ASJ instead of say taking the best lineman available.
Licht may still end up being one of the best GMs in franchise history but the early round reaches/whiffs – Smith, Roberto, Sims, ASJ, maybe Justin Evans (and candidly while there’s reason to be hopeful about each, VH3’s consistency and Spence’s durability are still open questions) combined with the line issues mean it’s likely goi to take a year or three longer to get over the hump than it needed to.
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 bring up is taking Sims over Gabe Jackson, which seemed an obvious pick for us at the time). Even an OL this year (leaving out other possible picks and FAs) of Penn-Sweezy-Marpet-Jackson-Dotson, would look a lot safer than what we have.
On the DL though, I think he’s done better – FA additions (Ayers, McDonald, Baker, Smith) have been good value; draft selection is showing promise (Spence); and the only meaningful subtractions haven’t really performed better than what we have replacing them (Clayborn, Roy Miller). I didn’t really note Licht passing on a good looking DE (probably our need) in place of the guys he took…but perhaps I missed one.
Generally my view on Licht is that he (or probably most GMs) is no better at the talent picking part of the job than a reasonably well informed fan (e.g., Mel Kiper, Mike Mayock, Todd McShay) is….the statistical evidence seems to support that conclusion quite well. As far as non-talent picking parts of being a GM, that’s another story.
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.
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.”
D Smith is a RT at best period.
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 Said Kony Ealy was a scheme mis-fit not a bad player. Couldn’t hurt to give him a look.If Hargreaves has a bad back as implied by Sir Rhonde then why did they put him back in 2 plays later. Finally I have to agree that Fitzpatrick should either be coaching or in the broadcast booth (RG3?)
As I suspected, New York Jets claimed DE Kony Ealy – another 3-4 team. Genius at work. Oh well, Go Bucs!
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 but he surely doesn’t lack speed. I do know he blew one tackle allowing a long run.
I saw Charles Simms juke Luke Keuckly out of his shoes once to but I don’t think the Panthers benched him because of the error.
Some of you people sound like the hysterical Times writers who paid to spread doom and gloom.
Five starters on the offense, three of them major playmakers, pretty much sat out the game Saturday night. I guess Koetter didn’t want to see a repeat of an Edelman incident. The Hump sat down in the second quarter
Four starters sat out on defense.
Give the hysterics a rest.
Ohh and Macabee I agree with your statement about the Fitz except for one thing. I don’t think he looks so much relaxed as he looks disinterested. Perhaps he thinks he’s to good to be on the second string on any team.
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!
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 their entire O’line during the offseason and now have the highest paid OL in the league. They are apparently getting their money’s worth right now.
Let’s see how it works out in the regular season when defenses aren’t so vanilla.
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!
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