Tonight, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the Philadelphia Eagles in week one of the pre-season. The final score was 17-9 and the Eagles won. Now, I will give you some of my Buccaneer standouts from tonight’s game.
First off, Robert Ayers showed that the Buccaneers picked the right man in free agency. He was nasty and dominant in the pass rushing department, which he did not record a tackle or sack, but his pressure was elite and helped his teammates land the sacks and tackles. His versatility also allowed Noah Spence to be on the first team and to get to the quarterback as well. The Bucs front four is going to be a deadly force this year.
Next, with Kenny Bell hurting his causes on making the team, Donteea Dye took full advantage and ran hard with the football on both kick returns that he took from Bell. Dye was protecting the football and bouncing off defenders, while taking hard shots to the midsection. He recorded two kickoff returns for 24 yards with one coming in at an impressive 25 yard return. Dye also made a great run on a punt coverage by showing off his 4.2 speed and putting a hurt on the Eagles’ returner.
Furthermore, the Buccaneers prized draft pick Vernon Hargreaves III looked good. He almost had an interception and made some nice solid pass breakups. He looks to overtake Jude Adjei-Barimah as the team’s nickelback.
In addition to the list, undrafted rookie middle linebacker Luke Rhodes made some nice plays and he was calling the plays on the second team. He recorded five solid tackles and forced a fumble. The Bucs seem to have found themselves a gem. He could be a valuable piece behind the starting linebackers on the roster.
However, one player that stays after practice working on his receiving skills is Russell Shepard, who is usually a special teams ace, but he will be contributing more on the offensive side entering this season, as he did in tonight’s game. He recorded the Buccaneers first touchdown of the pre-season and catching a total of three passes for 62 yards. His longest catch was 30 yards. Hard work does pay off.
Finally, Jameis Winston looked great as always. He completed seven throws out of nine for 97 yards and recording one touchdown. He lost one fumble, but that was the offensive lines fault for not protecting him better.
Note: The Buccaneers will take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville next week in pre-season week two.