Bucs look sharp in third preseason game

by Gary Shelton on August 27, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Aguayo silenced his critics -- for the moment with three field goals and three extra points./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Aguayo silenced his critics -- for the moment with three field goals and three extra points.

Saturday, 5:45 a.m.

Auguayo's teammates enjoyed seeing him succeed./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Auguayo's teammates enjoyed seeing him succeed.

Say he had a wish list in back pocket. Say he had things he needed to see to keep his own confidence up.

Dirk Koetter would never say it out loud, of course. But like any fan, he had to have his concerns after two preseason games of mixed results. He had to see a night like this.

You know, just to believe.

He had see this Jameis Winston.

He had to see that Roberto Aguayo.

He had to see Mike Evans and Vince Jackson. He had to see Adam Humphries. He had to see a fast start. He had to see a

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (its at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Evans caught five passes for 115 yards against Cleveland./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Evans caught five passes for 115 yards against Cleveland.

fierce pass rush. He had to see his team in control of penalties. He had to see his team lighting up the new replay boards with electric replays.

In other words, Koetter had to see the Bucs play like this.

Perhaps you did, too.

Koetter liked most of what h saw Saturday night.//TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Koetter liked most of what he saw Saturday night.

The Tampa Bay Bucs overwhelmed the Cleveland Browns Saturday night, winning a 30-13 preseason game where everything went right. Yeah, you can suggest that it's only preseason, and you can suggest that that's only the Browns (who won three games last year). But the Bucs are only a year removed from being a two-win team, remember?

The previous week was a win, too. But the play wasn't nearly as satisfying for the Bucs. There was no pass rush. Aguayo was spray-kicking everything. Winston had a slow start. The receivers didn't get into the game. And so on.

Saturday was the third straight solid game by the defense. But the key players on offense were wonderful, too. It was the first time the Bucs have flashed a team that can be significantly better than last year.

Quarterback Jameis Winston played the first half, and he was at his best. Winston hit 16 of 25 passes for 249 yards, and he led the Bucs to points on his first four possessions. Shortly after that, Humphries returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown, and it was 27-3.

McCoy thought the Bucs' run defense could be better./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

McCoy thought the Bucs' run defense could be better.

Winston completed five passes – out of five targets – to Evans for 115 yards. Vincent Jackson had four catches for 78 yards. In other words, it was the first time all year that Winston has used his primary receivers. Humphries, the third receiver, caught two balls for 39 yards.

“We've got a long way to go, but it was there tonight,” Koetter said. “No one has higher expectations for Adam than me and him. He had such a great night.”

And how about Aguayo? After a week in which he was scrutinized, analyzed and criticized, he was perfect. He hit three field goals – including a 48-yarder – and three extra points.

“I've done this my whole live,” Aguayo said. “I just sit back and think that my collegiate career didn't happen on accident. I realized how I got here just doing what I do – not try to overthink it. Sometimes at the professional level you try to overthink things. You just got to go back to the basics and have fun.”

Said Koetter: "We said a while ago, he’s a tough-minded kid. He was definitely in a little bit of a slump there, there’s no question. For three, four, five days, whatever it was, he was in a slump. He actually – the day that you guys all thought that he didn’t kick, even though he did kickoff about 10 times that day against Cleveland – Nate brought all of the specialists over here and they kicked in the stadium. And I think that was good for him to come over here just with a couple of the special teams coaches and the two punters, the two holders, the long snapper, they came over and kicked. He kicked about 25 kicks over here in the stadium and they had the scoreboards on and everything. It was great to see, that’s definitely the guy we drafted. That’s what he’s getting paid to do and he did it.”

It didn't stop there. The pass rush had eight sacks – seven of them by defensive linemen. There were only three penalties for 25 yards. The defense stopped Cleveland twice in the red zone. The offensive line, without either guard, did not give up a sack. Noah Spence had his first sack.

Oh, it wasn't all perfect. The Bucs were one-for-three in the red zone. And Gerald McCoy wasn't happy with the 81 yards the Browns got on the ground.

“Before we can rush the pass, we've got to be able to stop the run,” McCoy said. “I don't think we did that well enough. We have to get better in a short amount of time.”

Again, it isn't the results that matter in the preseason. It's the way a team plays. For the Bucs, there wasn't much to scold for a week. Winston? No problem. Aguayo? Yesterday's news. The pass rush? The secondary? The receivers?

For a week, everything was in harmony.

Hey, maybe that's a reason to worry.

Winston was sharp, throwing for 259 yards in a half./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Winston was sharp, throwing for 259 yards in a half.

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: