Hey look at that, the Bucs win another practice game, huzzah! As I always say, if you end up with the dub at the end of the night, it doesn’t matter if it’s pre-season, regular season or tiddly-winks. Just win, baby and the Bucs have so far this pre-season. While it gives you a warm fuzzy, truth is, the final score matters little, it’s all about how it got there, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this week’s Doubloons.
Pieces of Eight
1) Ah Jameis, how we love you. You dazzle us with spectacular plays and then drive us absolutely insane with confounding decision making. Winston’s prayer on his first touchdown pass of the night was one of those “No, no no, yes, yes, yes!” type of plays that Dirk Koetter is going to hate, even though it resulted in six points. But other than that, Winston was simply awesome all night. Yes, the Titans had some backup players in and they were playing against the majority of Tampa Bay’s ones, but you still have to execute and Winston certainly did that, finishing the night 13 of 18 for 226 yds and 2 touchdowns, good for a 151.4 QB rating. Winston looks better than ever, it’s such a shame he won’t be available the first three weeks of the season but should give Bucs fans hope for the rest of the year.
(One last note: How much haterade is out there for Winston? Titans TV put out a graphic that he’s thrown 70 ints in 3 seasons in Tampa Bay. He’s thrown 44. Fake News, Titans. Fake news.)
— Lee Sanders (@GingerRoyalty) August 19, 2018
2) This was more of the defense I expected to see. Pass rush getting hits on the quarterback and making him rush decisions, the run defense being a stone wall, forcing key turnovers to kill drives and getting off on third down. That’s what you want to see. Yes, the Titans found success on screen plays, but I’m hopeful that is just a product of being in camp and not on your keys and not an Achilles’ heel for the defense.
3) One aspect of the Buccaneers that is a grave concern and something that could prevent success in the 2018 season is the running game. For two weeks, Tampa Bay has been dreadful running the football. The Bucs have just 126 yds on 52 attempts, a dismal 2.6 yds a carry in two games. Only starting RB Peyton Barber and rookie UDFA Shaun Wilson showed anything against Tennessee (and Wilson’s work was against Titan backups). 2nd round pick Ronald Jones still hasn’t had that game that shows you why he was drafted so high. In fact, if it wasn’t for his draft status, you’d wonder if he was a lock for the 53 man roster. Of course, the Bucs are still mesmerized by what he could become, but he’s nowhere near that player right now. Charles Sims has a knee injury, so we’ll need to see if it’s going to be a long-term issue. The other guys are JAGs (Just a guy) at this point.
4) As bad as the running game has been, the passing game has been essentially unstoppable. Through the pre-season, Tampa Bay has the number 1 passing attack, number 2 overall offense and the #4 scoring offense in the league. Calm yo teets, those you scrambling to tell me it’s only pre-season. I’m well aware and not making much of this, other than to say, while yes, it’s pre-season and you should definitely take the results with a grain of salt because teams aren’t really game planning, et al, it’s still your guys against my guys and let the best guys win and at least offensively through two games, the only thing to stop the Bucs offense are themselves.
5) Okay, I’ve been on him since he missed his first extra point and I have to admit, I’m really nervous in typing this because I’m fearful I’ll anger the football gods and they’ll throw down a bitchsmite, but it appears Chandler Catanzaro has settled down and is delivering as a reliable kicker for the Bucs. (Ducks for cover).
6) Winston to Jackson. Oh my, is that going to be something to see in 2018. One thing you have to love about Jameis, he works his backside off on his deficiencies. You can see a vast improvement in his deep ball passing and while Jackson did have to slow down just a hair, the pass was at least catchable and in front of the speedy veteran WR. That can break for bigger plays and that will help open the Bucs offense up and hopefully help the running game get out of neutral. Both Fitz and Winston have shown the ability to get the football to Jackson. That’s crucial for the Bucs offense in 2018.
7) How good is Chris Godwin? If not for a penalty, the second year receiver would have had two touchdown grabs against Tennessee. Godwin saved Jameis’ bacon in the end zone, skying for a jump ball pass and coming down with it. Folks, this kid is really, really special. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for Dirk Koetter to figure out how to get the football to all of these weapons. Evans, Jackson, Godwin, OJ Howard, and Brate can all devastate a defense – but there’s only so many plays in a game.
Add to that, how would you like to be the one making that final choice for who is at the bottom half of the roster at WR? Sergio Bailey? Bobo Wilson? Justin Watson? Hell, even the Lampman guy has shown flashes. Then there are the holdovers Freddie Martino and Benard Reedy. You can’t keep them all.
8) Demar Dotson got his first real playing time with the ones since surgery. Folks, he was wrecking dudes out there. Dot looked as much like the old Demar Dotson that we’ve loved to see. Hopefully the older veteran can stay healthy and continue to dominate the guy across from him.
DLT’s LiveTweet of the Week
— 👽JC De La Torre☠️ (@jcdelatorre) August 19, 2018