Preseason Tidbits: Buccaneers at Vikings

The Buccaneers have played sixty minutes of football, and it wasn’t all good. As always, preseason comes with a lot of asterisks, caveats, etc. Jameis Winston was hit and miss, but it’s not that surprising. Keep in mind that the Vikings defense had already had an entire game of warming up last week, so their cobwebs were gone by kickoff. The same can’t be said for the Bucs.

  • Winston slow to start, shaky overall, and better with a rhythm

In his first time competing in an NFL uniform, Winston completed 9 of 19 passes for 131 yards, oneinterception, and capped it with a rushing touchdown. Not the ideal stat line, but there’s nothing to panic about. Winston had the full spectrum of dynamic throws, dynamic runs, and dynamic mistakes. Nothing to see here as long as he improves next week.

  • O-Line Got Gilkey’d

Look, Garrett Gilkey is easy to pick on. I’m aware of this, but he’s not helping himself. Gilkey didn’t make a huge impact when he was at guard, and he got way too much attention when he went tocenter. If you want to stay employed, botching snaps is not a good start. Jason Licht doesn’t hesitate to drop people. If Gilkey doesn’t turn it around fast, he’s done for.

  • Kwon Alexander shines, and so do the usual suspects

Just as you’d hope, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David both had a solid outing.Defense was struggling to gel and get a significant pass rush, but hopefully that will happen in time. Verner and Banks were impressive in coverage, but could’ve had more interceptions. Melton got a big sack, but the real standout wasrookie Kwon Alexander. Lots of hustle and lots ofpotential. He’s going to be a great asset.

  • Demar Dotson went down with a leg injury

After going down on the field, Dotson appeared to be nursing a leg injury. Initial reports are that Dotson has a sprained left MCL and could have a torn left ACL. Depending on severity, Dotson could recover in as little as six weeks. If it’s more significant, the offensive line could be in serious trouble. Donovan Smith didn’t look ready yet, and losing a veteran would be the opposite of helping.

  • Dirk Koetter is…wait for it…and offensive coordinator

The occasionally unspoken disaster of last season was the Jeff Tedford debacle, and it’s already clear the difference a reliable coordinator makes. With all due respect to Marcus Arroyo, he wasn’t ready. Even in the later parts of the game, Koetter was clearly picking apart the opposing defense at times. The players have to execute, but having a good plan makes a huge difference. It’s all uphill from here for Koetter.

There were lots of ups and down about Tampa Bay’s first crack at the field in 2015. Jameis Winston looked like a rookie, and Kwon Alexander didn’t. Doug Martin looked sharp, but his yardage disagreed. Garrett Gilkey botched snaps, and his performance still wasn’t the worst offensive line news of the night. The only thing to worry about is Demar Dotson’s injury. Everything else can be fixed by opening day, but if his injury is more serious it will be a severe problem. The Buccaneers are back, and while it’s not time to panic, you might want to stock up on heart medication.