On a night where the Bucs were annihilated by the Tennessee Titans, 34-3, there were still quite a few player performances to get excited about. Several Bucs had outstanding nights on defense, while two key offensive backups looked very good. Here are the most impressive players from the team’s second preseason loss.

OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

Man, I’m already ready to say I was too low on Tryon-Shoyinka pre-draft. Granted, he looked like a completely different player at Washington in 2019, where his rawness was super evident on tape. Tryon-Shoyinka looks like he spent the past almost two years focusing almost solely on his body and on developing pass rush moves. It paid off as the game went on against Tennessee.

After being robbed of a sack last week due to a bogus penalty, Tryon-Shoyinka was robbed again when Pat O’Connor beat his guy faster than the Bucs rookie beat his.

The edge defender went to work undeterred, tearing up Titans rookie right tackle Dillon Radunz. Tryon-Shoyinka bounded around the tackle multiple times on the Titans’ two-minute drive before the half, nearly coming up with a pair of sacks. The Washington product finally got to the quarterback by dipping under Radunz at full speed to notch the sack. On the very next play, Tryon-Shoyinka ran Radunz over to flush the pocket. What a performance.

DT Pat O’Connor

Bucs DL Pat O'Connor

Bucs DL Pat O’Connor – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Amazingly, Tryon-Shoyinka might not have been the most impressive player in this game. O’Connor was an absolute force all game long, even on plays where he didn’t show up on the stat sheet. But he showed up plenty there too, picking up a pair of tackles-for-loss, forcing a few others and coming up with a sack. O’Connor was in the backfield all game long, showing a great first step and elite pad level. He even anchored against a few double teams! Just a tremendous night for the inexperienced defensive tackle.

LB Kevin Minter

Really strong performance for Minter, who continues to show that he is far and away the best backup linebacker on the team. On a night where Joe Jones, KJ Britt and Grant Stuard’s limitations were very evident, Minter impressed. He made a great tackle-for-loss in the first half, and found the ball through blockers to stop a third down screen as well. With Jones, Britt and Stuard struggling, Minter is quietly one of the Bucs more important reserves.

CB Antonio Hamilton

I don’t care what Bruce Arians says about Dee Delaney, Antonio Hamilton is the clear cut fifth-best cornerback on the roster. He’s been a nice offseason pickup in the slot for the Bucs, breaking up a pass and getting a tackle-f0r-loss against the Titans. Even when Hamilton has allowed a catch in the preseason, he’s been in excellent coverage. And his run support and hustle have been outstanding. On one receiver screen Hamilton was blitzing, but he stopped, turned around and chased down the receiver after a gain of just seven yards.

QB Blaine Gabbert

Bucs QB Blaine Gabbert

Bucs QB Blaine Gabbert – Photo by: USA Today

In a trio of drives, Gabbert went 3-of-6 for 33 yards. But don’t blame him. All three of Gabbert’s incompletions were drops, and he was sacked on a seventh drop back. Gabbert placed the ball well all night, throwing a touch pass to O.J. Howard that should have been caught on Tampa Bay’s first drive of the game. That was one of three big plays taken off the board by drops, including another deep shot to Howard that would have been a huge gain. Gabbert was completely let down by his teammates, but played much better than the stats indicate.

OT Josh Wells

Not a lot to say, which is a good thing if you’re an offensive lineman. Wells was excellent all night, looking like the best of the Bucs backup offensive lineman. Considering every team wants their No. 3 offensive tackle to be their best backup lineman, that’s great news for the Bucs.

DT Khalil Davis

What a great night for Davis. He picked up a tackle-for-loss and nearly had a sack to show for his dominant performance. But Davis was good even on plays where he didn’t get on the stat sheet. He and O’Connor wreaked havoc on the Titans interior offensive line. If Davis can make an impact for the Bucs this season, it would be huge for their defense.

ILB Grant Stuard

Stuard outplayed fellow rookie K.J. Britt on Saturday night, finishing with a game-high six tackles and a sack. While he wasn’t perfect on special teams or on defense, Arians said after the game that he likely earned a roster spot with his performance. That’s saying something considering Britt has been the front-runner for the fourth linebacker spot on the depth chart – even ahead of veteran Joe Jones.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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5 months ago

Tryon will be a BEAST for us for years to come! Oconnor and Davis were both spending a lot of time in the Tennessee backfield as well.
I was curious where Shoyinka came from though if someone could enlighten me

Reply to  plopes808
5 months ago

Tryon is his mother’s last name. Shoyinka is his father’s.

Reply to  BucHarbour
5 months ago


5 months ago

Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of teams kicking themselves in the ass for passing on Tryon. He’s a star in the making.

5 months ago

Tyron, Vaughn, Hudson, Johnson were my picks. All will help this season in the rotational positions.

Reply to  Horse
5 months ago

oops, I left out Davis.

5 months ago

In preseason games I tend to pay more attention to and focus on individual players rather than so much on the team. On this night I watched Tryon a lot. He has an awful lot of pass rush skills. He can bend and dip or just power over the OT. Once the OT slowed him down by falling down and Joe had to crawl over him. One thing I noticed is that he’s very intent on rushing the passer. He needs to make sure he’s not taking himself out of the play inside. Tanner Hudson continues to catch passes. That… Read more »

Reply to  scubog
5 months ago

Scubog, what I saw on Tyron was he is going to learn a lot this year. He will help this year in the rotation, but having this coming off season to train and gain weight strength, will put him into the top 10 rushers in 2022. I agree about the OL, any starter or any type of injury didn’t play. The main thing I got out of this is Arians now knows what he has for final roster; that’s a good position to be in already.

5 months ago

Ok well Tryon is looking like a high motor terror. I couldn’t quit watching him he beats his guy almost every time even if doesn’t get home. Gabbert has looked great. The dropped passes, and poor tackling are getting annoying. 1 game it’s not an issue. 2 games it is. Even Evans dropped one first game. Anyways lots to work on still for lot of players.

Last edited 5 months ago by fredster
5 months ago

Being a UCF fan I’ve had the opportunity to watch Grant Stuard the last four years. He’s been a thorn in UCF’s side. Right now you’re not seeing his full potential because he’s not yet comfortable in the defense. Once he gets it down, he’ll be playing a lot faster. The kid will be making plays all over the field once he knows what he’s doing out there.

5 months ago

Tryon looked great out there, wasn’t sure about him being picked but he is changing my mind. Not been high on Gabbert either but he looked sharp, would have had a great night if OJ could hang on to the ball!