An impending storm forced the Buccaneers’ preseason finale against Washington from Thursday to Wednesday, but the two teams didn’t escape the bad weather. The Redskins prevailed by a score of 20-13 in what was a difficult game to watch. Here, we have immediate reactions from week four of the preseason.
Article continues below ...
With starters on both sides sitting out the final preseason game, the spotlight was on some of the second and third-team players fighting for their spots on the roster. The Buccaneers took the final step in deciding their position battles, watching competition unfold for the backup spots at running back, wide receiver, defensive tackle and in the secondary.
Observations and Reactions- General
-As expected, the Bucs sat out their starters. The only players that started on Wednesday night that will likely start some games this season were Jacquies Smith, Noah Spence and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
-Penalties weren’t much of an issue this week as Tampa Bay committed just five for a total of 25 yards.
Observations and Reactions- Offense
-The weather conditions were terrible, so of course, the passing game wasn’t pretty. Mike Glennon started under center for the Bucs, completing one of five passes for negative one yard. Ryan Griffin relieved him, finishing 23-of-38 for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
-Tampa Bay came into Wednesday night needing to decide on a third running back, but couldn’t have seen much to make their decision easier. Mike James once again didn’t play, leaving the carries to Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough. Barber rushed 16 times for 44 yards, but fumbled once before a teammate recovered. Hansbrough ran for two yards on five carries.
-2016 fifth-round pick Caleb Benenoch made his NFL debut, starting at right guard.
-The Bucs’ second-team offensive line did itself no favors. The unit didn’t provide much running room and gave up three sacks, which might lead the front office to look for some depth up front when final roster cuts are made.
-Kenny Bell left the game with a concussion. With Donteea Dye out, he may have had a better shot of making the team, but the concussion won’t help his case.
-With Dye and Bell out, Tampa Bay’s options for receiver depth aren’t very plentiful. Freddie Martino made a case for himself on Wednesday, hauling in six passes for 65 yards. Evan Spencer caught three passes for 27 yards, while Bernard Reedy caught the team’s only touchdown (which was one of three catches on the night).
Observations and Reactions- Defense
-Jacquies Smith came up with a sack early in the game, continuing the strong preseason for the Bucs’ pass rush.
–Johnthan Banks made a couple of nice plays, but what Tampa Bay decides to do with the 2012 second-round pick remains to be seen.
–Jude Adjei-Barimah stood out throughout the night, making a solid open-field tackle and providing some pressure in the backfield from the corner position.
-The Bucs’ backup defense had a hard time stopping the run, giving up 245 yards on the ground.
-Linebacker Luke Rhodes, who had a solid preseason, led the team with seven total tackles (four solo).
Observations and Reactions- Special Teams
–Bryan Anger, who officially won the punting job when Jacob Schum was cut last weekend, had a busy night. He punted eight times for an average of 47.6 yards, with his longest punt of the game going 53 yards.
-Bernard Reedy got some looks as the return man on kicks and punts, but he had a tough night with a slippery ball. He fumbled two kicks, but neither were lost. He returned two punts for 17 yards and one kick for 22 yards.
-Roberto Aguayo showed off his strong leg in the third quarter, booting a 50-yard field goal. Late in the fourth, he connected again on a 22-yarder before making his only extra point attempt.
The preseason is finally over. There really wasn’t much to remember about the final preseason game, other than the fact that it was pretty painful to watch. The Bucs struggled on offense all night and failed to stop the run, leading to some big plays for Washington. Aguayo showed more promise on Wednesday, which is a good sign for the Bucs. Tampa Bay will have to cut the roster down to 53 on Saturday before preparation starts for week one of the 2016 regular season.