Friday night’s game against the Browns will give the clearest indication of the Bucs’ offseason improvement or regression as they prepare for the start of the regular season in 16 days.
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Starters are expected to play into the third quarter, and after two joint practices with Cleveland, there’s no excuse for getting caught off guard by a different scheme. With roughly 30 snaps for first-team players being the extent of both teams’ game plan, this is the time for them to get comfortable in their routine, hit their marks on the field and show they’re ready for September 11.
“During this process [of] preseason, you’re just trying to see where you’re at,” Lavonte David said. “Conditioning-wise, and also mentally, going through a football game because that opening week, you’re playing against at least 65 plays plus.
“So being able to come out here and play a full first half and then probably play some of the third quarter, it should give you a good feeling for how a regular season game is going to be.”
It’s still exhibition football, so splash plays aren’t as critical with the outcome being practically irrelevant. But final score aside, both the offense and defense need to move as one unit and limit the kind of mistakes that lose regular season games.
“Being able to communicate with guys who you’re going to be out there on the field with,” David said when asked what is important for the defense to show this Friday. “Eliminating your mistakes and going out there and playing fast.”
Added Jameis Winston on what he wants to see from the offense: “Execution. You can’t have setbacks; you can’t turn the ball over. In our first two games I had a turnover in that second drive that we had against Jacksonville and I had a turnover in the first drive against the Eagles. You can’t have turnovers.
“Like I said, that’s on me,” Winston continued on his two turnovers the last two weeks. “I have to own that and bounce back and start fast.”
Winston and David both said they’re excited to play more snaps Friday, especially in this game where they’ll face a live-speed 3-4 defensive front and zone read offense, respectively. Adding to the anticipation, of course, is the fact that it’s the first home game in the upgraded Raymond James Stadium.
“I’m just looking forward to the whole environment,” David said. “Just being back home.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
This week is going to be interesting. If we stay healthy, the cuts will be challenging for Bucs as there are so many areas that seem to have questions that need to be answered. Obviously kicker is a big concern. Secondary will be interesting. Will bucs keep Banks ? Will VHIII end up a starter ? At DL, will Noah Spence end up simply as a back up this year ? On Offense will the OL Start to gel ? Will our running game solidify after Martin and Sims ? At receiver do we have anyone who really looks like a starter if Evans or Jackson get hurt? Can Jenkins put some time on the field and show that he deserves to be a starter at TE ? Will Winston finally look like he is settling in for the regular season ?
I want to see progress on all fronts, but just as important come away healthy.
–Go Bucs !!!
We have made progress… Against a team the caliber of a Cleveland Browns. Jameis dropped a 2 1/2 burger in yards on them with 2 TDs. Top end of WR depth chart ripped off big chunks with some great Winston throws, the D-Line put together 5 first half sacks. Oh, and Aguayo was perfect in the first half. All in all, a great night.
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