CADILLAC’S UNEVENTFUL TEST DRIVE Tampa Bay’s 2005 first-round draft pick, running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, got his first action of the preseason on the Buccaneers’ first play from scrimmage when he went off left tackle for a 2-yard gain. Williams was given the ball on the next two plays for a 5-yard gain and a loss of 1 yard on third-and-3 from the Tampa Bay 40-yard line.
Williams wound up with 13 yards on five carries (2.6 avg.) in his NFL preseason debut before giving way to Earnest Graham midway in the second quarter. Graham led all running backs with 20 yards on seven carries (2.9 avg.).
BUCS START SLOW ON OFFENSE Although the Buccaneers drew first blood against the Jaguars on a 38-yard field goal from Matt Bryant, that drive started at the Jacksonville 25-yard line after linebacker Ryan Nece recovered a muffed punt by Chad Owens. The Bucs generated just 66 yards of total offense, scored six points on two field goals, and picked up only two first downs in the first half against the Jaguars.
TAMPA BAY INJURY AND ROSTER NEWS Tampa Bay did not suffer any serious injuries during its preseason contest against Jacksonville. The Buccaneers’ pre-game injury scratches were as followed: guard Doug Buckles, left tackles Anthony Davis and Derrick Deese, running back Charlie Garner, under tackle Anthony McFarland, tight end Will Heller and guards Matt Stinchcomb and Jeb Terry.
Ellis Wyms started at under tackle in place of McFarland, who missed the game against Jackonsville due to the funeral for his mother. Rookie Dan Buenning, who made his preseason debut against Jacksonville, started at left guard for Stinchcomb and Sean Mahan started at right guard for Jeb Terry before eventually moving to left guard after Buenning departed in the second half.
Although Todd Steussie wound up starting at left tackle in place of Davis, Davis was introduced to the Buccaneers home crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Did Tampa Bay not want to subject Steussie to some possible boos?
Steussie, Mahan, Wade and Walker wound up playing deep into fourth quarter.
Halfback Michael Pittman, rookie fullback Rick Razzano and linebacker Josh Buhl made their preseason debuts against Jacksonville.
Safety Claudius Osei, fullback Mike Alstott, punter Bryan Simnjanovski, quarterback Jared Allen, wide receivers Kevin Youngblood and Terrance Metcalf, long snapper Dave Moore, guard Phil Bogle and tackle Sam Lightbody did not play against Jacksonville.
THE HANDS OF TIME FAVOR JACKSONVILLE Jacksonville won the time of possession battle 32:04 to 27:56 by maintaining control of the ball for 11:15 in the second quarter thanks largely to a 16-play, 77-yard field goal drive that consumed 10:01. The Jaguars also opened the third quarter with a 13-play, 67-yard touchdown drive that ate up 7:11.
The Bucs possessed the ball for 10:04 in the fourth quarter thanks to a 15-play, 62-yard field goal drive that ate up 9:11 in the third and fourth quarter, and a 10-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that consumed 5:29. While the Bucs outscored the Jaguars 11-7 in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough for the victory as kicker Matt Bryant’s 52-yard field goal attempt was short and wide right.
JACKSONVILLE WINS THIRD DOWNS In its 20-17 win over Tampa Bay, Jacksonville clearly won the battles on thirds. On offense, the Jaguars converted 8-of-13 third downs (62 percent) against the Buccaneers defense. That allowed the Jaguars to have 10-play, 16-play, 13-play and 7-play scoring drives against the Buccaneers.
On defense, Jacksonville held the Bucs without a first down on their first three series, and to just 5-of-13 third downs (38 percent) throughout the entire contest.
BUC SHOTS Bucs cornerback Juran Bolden forced and recovered a fumble to set up Todd France’s 49-yard field goal. … Tampa Bay rookie safety Hamza Abdullah recorded a fourth quarter interception of Jacksonville quarterback Nate Hybl. Bucs defensive tackle Brian Save forced the errant pass with heavy pressure on Hybl. … Tampa Bay punter Josh Bidwell averaged 54 yards on four punts and finished with a net average of 39.5 yards. Bidwell had one punt downed inside the 20, and his longest punt traveled 58 yards. … The Bucs did not record a sack on defense, but Tampa Bay’s offense surrendered three sacks to Jacksonville’s defense. … Bucs starting quarterback Brian Griese was 5-of-8 for 44 yards, while backup Chris Simms was shaky in completing 6-of-10 passes for 51 yards while getting sacked twice. Third-string QB Luke McCown completed 10-of-16 passes for 131 yards with a 45-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Paris Warren and a 2-pt. conversion pass to rookie tight end Alex Smith. McCown, who led the Bucs with 25 yards rushing on two scrambles, also threw an interception. … Tight end Nate Lawrie led the Bucs in receptions with three catches for 34 yards, including a 17-yarder. Wide receivers Derrick Lewis and Edell Shepherd also had three catches for 30 and 27 yards, respectively. … Bucs rookie wide receiver Larry Brackins hauled in two catches for 16 yards. … Tampa Bay was flagged nine times for 85 yards against Jacksonville, while the Jaguars racked up nine penalties for 70 yards.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org