Bucs close out preseason with win

by Gary Shelton on August 27, 2023

in general

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Baker Mayfield left you hopeful.

The Bucs’ secondary filled you with fear.

Rachaad White made you feel oddly confident.

Chris Godwin made you feel bold.

Kyle Trask made you ask for a recount.

And so it went. The Bucs’ 26-20 preseason win over the Baltimore Ravens (kind of) left you with all sorts of feelings.

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There were enough familiar faces to leave a Bucs’ fan feeling optimistic. There were enough unfamiliar faces playing for the Ravens to make those same fans feel nervous.

The next time the Bucs play, it will be in the Sept. 10 season-opener against Minnesota. And who knows quite what to expect?

Oh, Mayfield was efficient. He played just two series, and he hit all six of his passes. In two games, he’s hit 14 of 15, and while he nibbled a little more than a fan would like, it makes sense that he would go into the season with first-ups.

And White was very good.  He averaged 5.6 yards per carry, and looked very much like a guy who should lead the Bucs’ running attack.

Godwin? He caught four passes from Mayfield, including a touchdown pass.

Ah, but the secondary played a lot of chase. Backup Josh Johnson hit his first four passes against the Bucs, and for the night, the Ravens’ quarterbacks (not including Lamar Jackson, who watched) graded out at 100.1. That doesn’t include a dropped touchdown pass. It does count a late 47-yard pass that put the final outcome in jeopardy before the Bucs held.

Overall, there were reasons to believe the Bucs might be competitive, and reasons to doubt it.

Trask had another good night, throwing for 192 yards on 19 of 31 throwing. He did throw deep more often than Mayfield, which is sure to fuel his defenders.

Receiver Mike Evans didn’t play, which didn’t concern head coach Todd Bowles.

Mike [Evans] will definitely be ready – he was healthy – we wanted to see some younger guys,” Bowles said. “He was coming off a groin earlier this week, but he had full practices. We wanted to hold him out. He’ll be ready. [Antoine] Winfield [Jr.], Calijah [Kancey] and SirVocea [Dennis] – hopefully they make progress by the end of the week. We’ll see how they go going into the game week right now, but we’re hopeful they can be ready.”

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