Like nearly every coach who speaks to the media following a preseason game, some good things and some bad things are revealed after watching the film, and that was the case for Bucs head coach Lovie Smith who spoke to the media on Sunday afternoon.
“Game wise, we made progress from last week, that’s what we wanted to see,” Smith said. “We wanted to see progress in all areas. Everyone wants to talk about the offensive line; we’re concerned about it and other positions too. The offensive line got better last night. We had some guys that played better than others.
“Anthony Collins played well, Even Dietrich-Smith [played well too]. Demar [Dotson] didn’t play as well as he did last week. Patrick Omameh did a good job his first time out. That’s what we got from our offensive line. They gave us the opportunity to run the ball a little bit better than we did the previous week also. We had holes, I feel like we left some plays out there on the football field.”
Patrick Omameh and Oniel Cousins got the start at the guard position for the Bucs on Saturday night against the Dolphins and Smith was asked to assess their performance.
“I think he [Omameh] held up, and when I say played well, I’m talking about all the things we asked him to do,” Smith said. “Inside you have to be able to one-on-one blocks versus the run, versus the pass. Our quarterbacks for the most part were able to – we held a couple of balls – but for the most part, protection gave them the time to hit the receiver. Patrick was a part of that. Last week, the guards were at the top of our mind because of that constant quick pressure inside and he really didn’t allow that. And that’s his first time out. If he’s in there this week, we’ll see how he does.”
“[Cousins played] Pretty solid. For Oniel to be in there for two weeks, kind of tells you we think we know what he is for the most part. Played solid ball.”
Smith went on to talk about the guards more.
“Last week I think I had a frown on my face as I was talking, I’m not frowning right now,” Smith said. “I thought the group held their own. We saw improvement. Our plan is to let everybody have an opportunity one way or another as we go through. When you get to the third preseason game, you’re getting ready for the season. The group we put out there right now, they’ve earned that right to get the majority of the plays this week. So it will all be fairly clear on what we’re thinking this week.”
Another big topic of postgame press conferences is the injury situation. Tampa Bay had a number of players go down on Saturday night against Miami.
“[William] Gholston (shoulder), it’s going to be a while for him,” Smith said. “Mike James, probably won’t play this week. [Rashaan] Melvin, don’t know about him. That ankle I don’t think it’s too serious, but he was sore last night. Major Wright, he was sore also. That kick in the back. I don’t know. He’s got a week. These don’t require surgery so I don’t know.”
While some players will sit out next Saturday’s third preseason game at Buffalo, Smith said he is hoping some of the previous injured Bucs will have a chance to see action against the Bills.
“[Alterraun] Verner has a better chance,” Smith said. “He should be out there (Tuesday), he’s making good progress. Steven Means is getting better. Da’Quan [Bowers] is making progress. Lower leg, groin area, they can go either way. They’re getting better. We see them working out a lot on the side, but being game ready is a different thing.”
The third preseason game is normally the one that gives a team a much better of indication of where they stand heading into the season. Smith is eager to see how the Bucs perform with a regular game-like week of preparation.
“I am excited about this week. We will install our game plan and go through the entire week the way we’ll do it during the regular season as we continue to get ready for Carolina.”
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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