Bucs still need answers after preseason defeat

by Gary Shelton on September 1, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Fitzpatrick avoids a sack against Redskins./CARMEN MANDATO

Fitzpatrick avoids a sack against Redskins./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

Maybe the choice isn't who the Tampa Bay Bucs should cut.

Maybe the choice is who they should keep.

Poor Tampa Bay. In Thursday night's final argument game, a 13-10 loss to Washington, in the last call preseason action, the Bucs seemed no closer to making any of their uncoming arguments than they had been going into the game. Those who didn't dress out? They made it. Those who did? Their futures are still up in the air.

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Wilson had an apparent 62-yard score called back./CARMEN MANDATO

Wilson had an apparent 62-yard score called back./CARMEN MANDATO

All of which leaves coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht trying to dress up the disappointment.

It was obvious that the Bucs – like most teams — were going to sit most of their starters. But the hope was that someone at one of the key positions would make a compelling argument with his play.

Unless you are a linebacker or Bobo Wilson, not so much.

Okay, okay. It was just practice, and an bottom-of-the-roster practice at it. No one will

Reedy scored the Bucs' only touchdown./CARMEN MANDATO

Reedy scored the Bucs' only touchdown./CARMEN MANDATO

remember the result for very long. It's just one of those patience-trying preseasons, right? Still,  you would have liked for a few players to emerge, wouldn't you? You would have liked to have been surprised.

As it was, there were just more questions.

The quarterbacks? Ryan Fitzpatrick hit two of seven for six yards. Ouch. Rookie Sefo Liufau hit two of his first four for minus two yards. Double ouch. Oh Liufau settled down and hit 16 of 28 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. He also had an interception returned for a score.

“We're fine with Ryan,” Koetter said. “He has 116 starts in this league. I know what kind of guy he is. There are about 10 teams that don't like their starter. We have a backup who has 116 starts.”

The wide receivers: Only one spot is open. Bernard Reedy seemed to be in the lead because of his return ability, but Bobo Wilson worked his way into the discussion with three catches for 58 yards.

The defensive backs: There wasn't enough playmaking by the Bucs. Redskins'

Liufau ended up with 170 yards passing./CARMEN MANDATO

Liufau ended up with 170 yards passing./CARMEN MANDATO

quarterback Nate Sudfield hit 22 of 33 passes for 228 yards against the secondary.

The linebackers: Kendall Beckwith, Adarius Glanton and Cameron Lynch all played well, combining for 21 tackles.

The defensive line: The Bucs had only one sack. For the game, the Redskins had 360 yards.

The running backs: Peyton Barber started out strong, but rookie Jeremy McNichols continued to struggle. He averaged only 3.6 yards per rush.

Asked about McNichols, Koetter said “I probably better look at the tape.”

It boils down to this: Koetter was asked what he is most looking forward to on Sept. 10 in Miami.

“To see what kind of team we're really going to have,” Koetter said. “It's easy for all of

Dye makes a reception for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDO

Dye makes a reception for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDO

us to speculate as to what kind of team we're going to have based on the preseason. None of us really know how we're going to play this season. How this group of 53 guys is going to come together. There's been a lot of talking. But talking time is done. It's time for us to earn it.”

The Bucs didn't show much to match its hype during the preseason, but Koetter wasn't bothered.

“No one cares about that,” Koetter said. “You can look that up. Ther are a million stats about (preseason translating into regular season wins). Preseason records … no one will give two craps about that. It doesn't matter. We're 0-0 is what we are.”

Next week, it starts to count for real.

And no one will care about the rehearsals.

Cameron Lynch and the linebackers played well./CARMEN MANDATO

Cameron Lynch and the linebackers played well./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill MYERS September 1, 2017 at 8:39 am

Who cares what the win loss record is in the preseason. Maybe you can just call it a good preseason for the Bucs when no one gets injured or suspended! I am so over fake football! The NFL should dump theses practice games. I know, I know….they are a revenue source and that’s all that counts.

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Gary Shelton September 1, 2017 at 9:32 pm

True. True.

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