Despite dropping their first preseason game of the year 26-16, and even with a ton of sloppy play, there were a few bright spots for the Buccaneers on Saturday night. PewterReport.com takes a look at the Tampa Bay players who were impressive in the snaps they received against the Minnesota Vikings.
DT Lawrence Sidbury
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come into the 2015 preseason with a goal of finding better results at the defensive end position than what they were able to achieve in 2014. While Jacquies Smith and George Johnson have gotten the first team reps – and the majority of press through training camp – there are other players on the roster who are pushing for playing time. On Saturday night Sidbury only recorded one official tackle but also added a QB pressure, a forced fumble, in addition to a fumble recovery after William Gholston stripped a Vikings running back in the second half. The Bucs forced three Minnesota turnovers on the evening, and despite still losing, it will still be something pleasing to the defensive coaching staff as the review the game film on the charter flight back to Tampa Bay in the early Sunday morning hours.
WR Louis Murphy
After missing the first week and a half of training camp, and giving up valuable reps to rookies Rannell Hall, Kenny Bell and others, veteran receiver Louis Murphy showed up on Saturday night, looking like he never missed a day of action. Murphy led the Buccaneers with four receptions for 54 yards. Many fans, and and some in the media, have already given his job away to one of the rookies, but on Saturday night Murphy showed the rookies how an old man does it.
LB Lavonte David
Not many, if any, expect Lavonte David to be a take-the-money and get lazy player. The former Husker star loves the game too much and has too much pride to take the easy route. On Saturday, six days after signing a $50.25 million extension, David came out on the first two series and showed why the Buccaneers made him the highest paid 4-3 linebacker in the NFL. David was flying all over the place, and finished his select playing time with three tackles and one for loss. If the Bucs defense is going to make a significant jump in 2015, David will be a big part of it.
LB Khaseem Greene
Former Rutgers standout (and Greg Schiano pupil) Khaseem Greene has been somewhat of a forgotten man this training camp but on Saturday he clearly set out to prove he belongs on the Buccaneers 53-man roster. Greene tied for the team lead in tackles with five, and also added a forced fumble in the second half that prevented a Vikings touchdowns and resulted in a touchback.
DT Henry Melton
The Buccaneers are still trying to determine where their pass rush is going to come from in 2015, but on Saturday night Henry Melton showed it doesn’t have to always come from the edge. Other than Gerald McCoy, Melton is the easily the team’s most proven pass rusher and at some point this season you can expect the duo to be lined up next to each other on passing downs. Melton finished with the Bucs only sack on Saturday night.
Honorable Mentions: DE William Gholston, CB Alterraun Verner, WR Robert Herron, DT George Uko
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com