Stars sit, Bucs fall against Cincinnati

by Gary Shelton on August 15, 2021

in general

Kyle Trask saw his first game action./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Yeah, it was practice. Yeah, it doesn't count. Yeah, the stars didn't play.

On the other hand, man, do the Tampa Bay Bucs have some work to do.

Granted, there wasn't much else to take from the Bucs' 19-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Saturday night's preseason opener. The backups got a lot of work, and the rookies took their first steps, but as nights ago, this one was kind of a throwaway.

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Tom Brady threw two passes. Neither Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown or Rob Gronkowski caught a pass. Jason Pierre-Paul, Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett had one tackle each. Leonard Fournette carried the ball twice. Ronald Jones II carried it once. Hey, what did you expect?

Well, this: You expected the Bucs to be better than Cincinnati, a team that was 4-11-1 last year while the Bucs were winning the Super Bowl. Especially when you note that Cincy was playing without quarterback Joe Burrow.

Instead, the game was a message to the Bucs that they have to clean up their penalties. It was a message that they have to be more efficient on offense (one touchdown). It was a message the team has to tackle better. It was a message that the season ahead might not be the stroll in the park that a lot of Bucs' fans seem to expect.

"There was good and bad," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. "A lot of bad, a lot of ugly. The good is we came out healthy. It’s a start.

"Obviously, we had really bad communication on the fake extra point where the kicker didn’t know the rule. You can’t line back up and kick it, you don’t get a point for it. Evidently, it wasn’t communicated well enough to him that he couldn’t do that and that’s on me.

"I called a timeout to get an explanation on Joe Tryon’s sack on a runner, not a quarterback. There’s no such thing as bodyweight. Really wasn’t happy with the explanation.

"Other than that, probably the worst tackling experience I’ve seen in a long time. It was like we had no arms. Everything was shouldered and blocking. Some young guys put some embarrassing stuff on tape. I thought Kyle [Trask] played well. I thought Kyle went in there and made some throws that guys needed to make plays for him. I like his poise and where he’s at. A little disappointed in Griff (Ryan Griffin) with his experience and throwing those balls over the middle. For the turnovers, I liked the turnover defensively early and I hated the offensive turnovers in the third quarter but would have liked to stop them there and get a chance to see Jose [Borregales] kick a game-winner, but it didn’t happen.”

Tbe Bucs did get a taste of rookie quarterback Trask (who was just four of 15 for 35 yards) and rookie outside linebacker Tryon (who had a sack but drew a penalty on it.

The call against Tryon seemed to tick Arians off.

“Yeah, he was a runner," Arians said. "He wasn’t a quarterback. He was running the option. The play’s been in the league for awhile. Hell, you can hit them when they fake it. There’s no such thing as bodyweight. He wasn’t in a passing position. He was a runner. He misread it, obviously. That might be one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in about 10 years.”

Tryon was pleased with his debut, however.

"It’s awesome," Tryon said. "(Todd Bowles) just continues to let me to be the player I am. Getting the coaching from the staff has been awesome. [I’ve] got a lot of great dudes to learn from and it’s been a great experience so far.” 

Trask, too, was positive.

“I would say our practice prepared me for (the speed of the game)," Trask said. "It wasn’t anything that caught me off guard once I got out there. We like to practice at a good pace so we’re very prepared for these situations. I don’t feel like I was ever caught off guard in the moment.”

The Bucs' second preseason game will be at home at Raymond James Stadium Saturday night against Tennessee at 7:30 p.m.

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