As is the case with most wins, there are more good things to talk about than bad. Such is the case right now as we recall the performances of some of the Buccaneers during Tampa Bay’s first preseason game, a win over the Miami Dolphins 26-24.
It was a close game on the scoreboard, but that score really was closer than it should have been, as the Bucs led and controlled most of the game.
These were our most impressive Buccaneer performers in Thursday night’s victory.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick started the game and ran two drives with the first team. His stats weren’t super impressive, as he finished the game just 6-for-8 with 55 yards and no touchdowns, but he looked in control the entire time, leading the Bucs on a touchdown drive during one of the two series he played. He seemed comfortable with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and the rest of the big names.
QB Jameis Winston
Winston came in after Fitzpatrick, and we were anxious to see what the Bucs were going to get from the usually hot-and-cold franchise quarterback, who was assuming a backup role on Thursday. With the second team, Winston went 11-for-13 with 102 yards. He also had what was the throw of the night, a beautiful touch pass to tight end Cameron Brate. Winston played exactly how the team hoped he would, which could be a big confidence boost for him moving forward.
QB Ryan Griffin
Griffin played the entire second half, and though the team’s lead dwindled and was even briefly lost while he was the quarterback, that can’t really be put on him. Running with the third-team offense and third-team offensive line, Griffin put up 179 passing yards on 20-for-26 attempts with a touchdown and the game-winning drive. It’s not often that all three quarterbacks are the most impressive players during a game, but that was certainly the case on Thursday.
CB Carlton Davis
Davis was starting on the outside as cornerback Brent Grimes remained sidelined for the contest. In the first game of his NFL career, Davis did not seem overwhelmed or timid at all. Instead, he was taking charge in press coverage and had a beautiful diving pass break up to highlight a lockdown first half performance. Davis has been making the most out his opportunities in practice and that continued on Thursday night. He stood out, even as a rookie.
S Jordan Whitehead
Speaking of rookies, safety Jordan Whitehead was not only one of the most impressive, he might have been the most impressive. While running with the second and third teams, Whitehead made plenty of impact plays, both in coverage and in run support. The Bucs drafted Whitehead because of his athletic upside, and if he continues to plays with the confidence he did tonight, the Bucs might have a decision to make when it comes to who starts in the regular season next to Justin Evans.