The way Thursday night started, it seemed like this was going to be a heavily populated list. But after enduring a couple early turnovers and a missed extra point, Tampa Bay pulled itself together and managed to keep the game tight.
That doesn’t mean the sloppy offenses avoided being called out and here are the players who need to tighten their games up heading into Jacksonville next weekend.
K ROBERTO AGUAYO
It was most likely coming at some point this year, so might as well get it out of the way early.
Bucs rookie Roberto Aguayo clanked his first live-action kick of his professional career off the left upright. It came on a first-quarter extra point and is not at all what fans are expecting out of the former Florida State kicker selected in the second round this spring.
Aguayo can say how he doesn’t feel pressure all he wants, but it’s hard to believe his adrenaline wasn’t pumping like crazy and that it didn’t play a role in yanking the 33-yard point-after to the left. Tampa Bay’s offensive struggle moving the ball most the night resulted in Aguayo not getting another opportunity to split the uprights until the fourth quarter, but he did manage to save a little face by drilling a 38-yarder.
The troubling part about Aguayo’s miss Thursday is that his misses in practices have been wide left. The difference is that those kicks were on 50-plus yard attempts.
Aguayo’s going to be under the microscope all year and there are going to be fans and critics of his selection in the draft who don’t let up no matter what his overall conversion percentage ends up being. That miss, though, means the 22-year-old will have to start dealing with the heat cranking up early.
WR KENNY BELL
Bell hasn’t appeared in an NFL football game since the second week of preseason last year. He may have been as keyed up for it as Aguayo and he has similarly disastrous results.
Awarded with the early opportunity win the job as Tampa Bay’s kick returner, Bell responded by coughing up Thursday’s game-opening kickoff that handed Philadelphia possession inside the 20. Clearly not impressed with the 16-yard return and fumble, coaches didn’t send Bell back deep again the rest of the night. Fellow receivers Donteea Dye (two returns for an average of 24.5 yards) and Bernard Reedy (one for 18 yards) took the others.
Bell was not able to factor into the team’s offensive production, either. He didn’t record a catch after being targeted twice and was whistled for an offensive pass interference penalty in the second quarter two plays after drawing a defensive pass interference flag. One rough night shouldn’t squash all positive expectations for Bell, but he’s in damage-control mode moving forward.
QBs MIKE GLENNON/RYAN GRIFFIN
It wasn’t a great day for Buccaneer backup quarterbacks.
Mike Glennon (7 of 14 for 83 yards) and Ryan Griffin (13 of 23 for 148 yards) were erratic with their throws and combined to toss three interceptions. Griffin was responsible for two of those picks, including one in the end zone with less than a minute remaining as Tampa Bay attempted to tie the game at 17-all.
Both finished Thursday with sub-40 quarterback ratings and Glennon had as many completions (1) as interceptions in his first three drives. Griffin did have some positive moments Thursday and drove the Bucs from their own 24 to the Eagles 7 in the final two minutes before getting picked by C.J. Smith in the end zone.
WR JONATHAN KRAUSE
Krause makes the Most Disappointing list for his inability to take advantage of opportunities. The second-year pro out of Vanderbilt was targeted five times Thursday night and managed to secure only one for a 6-yard gain.
A redeeming moment came late in the fourth quarter when Krause returned a punt 23 yards but had a few yards shaved off because of a holding penalty.
Krause could also be joined here by Bernard Reedy, another young pass catcher trying to make the team as a receiver and return man. Reedy matched Krause with a team-high five targets and caught two, but one did go for a 24-yard pickup that helped set up Aguayo’s 38-yard field goal in the final quarter. Reedy, however, muffed a third-quarter punt return attempt and was saved by Adam Humphries diving on the loose ball.
Krause and Reedy are in a tight battle with a number of other players for the final two or three receiver spots on the roster and must take full advantage when opportunities arise.
I remember when people used to use paragraphs when they wrote.
So far I liked the old format better. Lost my avatar. This must be what Gruden meant when he said “The future is so bright I have to wear shades”
Roberto Aguaryo, proving the critics (me being one of them) right almost immediately. I know, it was just a preseason game. But I think Tampa wasted the 2nd round pick on a kicker and could’ve had so much better instead.
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