When your team only gives up 14 points, as the Bucs did on Saturday against the Bills in Tampa Bay’s 27-14 victory, there weren’t too many players that were disappointing The Bucs’ starting offense and defense were sharp as the team raced out to 24-0 lead. The Bills’ starting offense scored two touchdowns against the Bucs’ backup defense in the third quarter, but Tampa Bay’s starters clearly won the day as the Bucs claimed their first win in the 2014 preseason.
MOST DISAPPOINTINGC Evan Dietrich-SmithTampa Bay’s starting offensive line play improved into the first half, but Dietrich-Smith struggled at times against Buffalo interior defensive linemen Marcell Dareus and Corbin Bryant. Even though they were waived off, Smith was also hit with a pair of holding penalties in the opening quarter. Dietrich-Smith also failed to snap the ball to QB Mike Glennon in the first drive of the third quarter, even as Glennon was screaming for it.
LG Oniel Cousins, RG Patrick OmamehBoth guard positions on the Tampa Bay offensive line remain the unit’s question marks. Saturday presented a tough test for the Bucs, considering Buffalo finished last year near the top of the league in quarterback sacks and run defense. Cousins’ roughest moment came on the last drive of the first quarter when he was cleanly beaten in pass protection that resulted in pressure on QB Josh McCown and an incompletion. As for Omameh, the second-year guard got blown up by Bills strongside LB Keith Rivers on the first play of the next drive and RB Bobby Rainey was dropped for a 3-yard loss. The entire starting O-Line worked for two quarters and one drive and helped RBs Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey average just 1.6 yards per carry (19 attempts for 30 yards). That number at least bumps up to 2.6 by factoring in McCown’s two scrambles for 21 yards.
RB Bobby RaineyThough he did have a Bills defender his path before he could get some runs started, RB Bobby Rainey did not inspire much confidence as a reliable backup to starter Doug Martin on Saturday. The Bucs’ leading rusher by default last season barely picked up more yards that rushes attempted, going for 14 on 13 carries. That’s good for an average of 1.1 yards per tote. His lone reception of the game resulted in negative-1 yard.
TE Brandon MyersIt is hard to tell exactly what the Buccaneers plans are for Myers this year. He is not the best blocker, that goes to Stocker. He doesn’t run the best routes or possess the best speed, that goes to Wright. But obviously the front office saw something in Myers to sign him in free agency last March. As far as a résumé goes however, his is the most accomplished. But on Saturday, the one target Myers had, the former Raiders and Giants tight end slipped on the turf – a problem a number of players had – and the pass was intercepted. Myers brings leadership to the unit and most likely will have a sizeable role this season, but overall in preseason he just hasn’t stood out.
CB Deveron CarrCarr took over in the second half at left cornerback and that was when Bills QB E.J. Manuel went to work, leading the Bills to two touchdowns in the third quarter. And much of the yardage on those two drives was directed to Carr’s side of the field. You can’t pin it all on Carr, as the lack of a pass rush on those drives and some poor safety help allowed the Bills to score 14 points, including a scoring toss to Mike Williams that went between Carr and safety Keith Tandy.
–Eric Horchy and Mark Cook combined on this report
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