Well, tonight I will be heading back to 1 Buc with Captain Bones to look at the remaining receivers and try to gauge how the Bucs will rebound from the injury bug that has bitten us early.
Fact is, I would rather have it hit early. I like the decision to get Antonio’s surgery out of the way. I WISH it had happened in the offseason, but it didn’t and we must move forward. There has been serious lamentation about guys like Maurice Stovall not getting their reps or a chance to show what they can do at the WR spot. Now is the time. Here are some of the specific things I will be looking at tonight:
Special Teams stand out with physical talent galore. Has made a huge splash in the last two camps, but rarely sniffed the field as a wide out. When he did hit the field, he had trouble getting off the line and into his routes. This is shocking given how effective he is as a gunner on Special Teams.
With Mo’s size and athletic ability, he should be a mismatch on almost every play. Add him to a red zone package that has K2 and Jerramy Stevens and you have some impressive targets (Yes. I know someone has to throw the ball, but I am not in the camp that believes all of our quarterbacks suck. I know that will disappoint some people out there, but while we do not have marquee value, we have talented enough QB’s to win in this league.)
I mention Mo here because he is on the bubble. We have a few draft picks that are hovering there as well like Dexter Jackson and Sammie Stroughter. We will have to see full contact before we know where they shake out. Brian Clark has already solidified his position at least mentally as the #3 guy. He and Campbell are both more quick then fast but both have more of a body of work to review than the two youngsters.
Second Team Offensive Line
This previously strong suit of the team is looking very suspect now. With Sears out and Zuttah a starter combined with Faine nursing a groin injury, the quality and flexible backups we had are now depleted. In practice, when the 2nd/3rd unit offensive lines hit the field, it is not even a struggle for the defense (regardless of who is in there) to blow up the play.
Sean Mahan is getting a ton of time at center despite being, IMO, a better guard. This experience is good, but if Faine cannot go, we will be very thin.
The offensive line is the key to everything (Captain Obvious!). If it is firing on all cylinders, the running game should be formidable. With a strong running game, even a weak passing game is bolstered. If that line is dinged up or inefficient, the wheels fall off the wagon quickly. Look for the coaching staff to drill the 2’s and 3’s hard to determine what they have to work with and where they need to find new pieces. That work could lead to a significant amount of pressure in the preseason games for the QB’s behind those horses and tough sledding for our running backs.
Secondary (Corners and Safeties)
You have heard and/or read us talking about the big plays coming out of camp. They have come from each QB (Most often Leftwich). The only 100% consistent thing is that they are coming against our defense. This means either they (the secondary) is blowing assignments or they are just not very good. Either way, they need tighten it up.
Aqib Talib and Elbert Mack have been impressive and Ronde has shown some life as well. The communication between the corners and the safeties appears to be the problem. It will be interesting to see how that unit grades out.
News as of today at 1:11 PM is that Ronde has taken a few steps back after being beaten on back to back plays for TD’s in the morning practice session. These things happen, but with Ronde coming off a challenging season and having a bunch of years on those legs, there is fair and reasonable doubt that he can be a starting CB in this defense.
What are you looking for?
Are you going out to camp? What are you trying to see while watching practice? What areas are you most impressed with? Which are you least impressed with? We are interested in your opinions. Feel free to comment on any post here or participate in the show to whatever extent you are comfortable.
I will be calling into 1010 AM tomorrow morning to review what I see on The Morning Show with Mike Pepper. Tune in and check out the best morning show in the Tampa Bay Area.