Looking back on the Bucs loss to Pittsburgh

by Gary Shelton on August 11, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston had a hot start./TIM WIRT

5 Observations

1. It was only one drive, which means it was only one step. But if Jameis Winston can be as efficient as he was in Friday night's loss to Pittsburgh, he has a chance, and Bruce Arians would have done his best job of whispering. More evidence, please.

2. The Pittsburgh media made a big deal out of the Devin Bush-Devin White duel. But White barely played. Bush seems like a fine player, but let's wait until the games count before we start measuring impact.

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3. Arians isn't worried, but the Bucs' secondary still reminds me of something out of Stephen King's nightmares.

4. Perhaps Ronald Jones' 18 yards doesn't sound like a lot. But it's the second-highest total in his career, including preseason games. He did have a 29-yard day (10 carries) against Chicago in the regular season last year. Just thinking, but maybe Dirk Koetter could have found a carry here and there a. year ago.

5. The odds are against Ryan Griffin, who is behind starter Winston. Arians knows Blaine Gabbert. But after a 330-yard day, Griffin is making an argument to keep three quarterbacks.

Godwin scored the Bucs' first touchdown./TIM WIRT


(From Bruce Arians day-after game press conference)

(On his overall thoughts): "The film really didn’t show anything different from what I saw last night. I thought we obviously started good (with) an excellent drive. The penalties were the biggest negative about the whole night, in all three phases. The game changer on the interception — the other one was in special teams — but the field position all night was ruined by penalties and that part of it is easily correctable, hopefully. I thought the young pass rush was nonexistent. They’ve been showing some really good stuff, especially Kahzin Daniels – I thought he’d have a better night. Pittsburgh’s got some really good depth in their offensive line, they showed that last night. I think on the positive side, I thought Grif (Ryan Griffin) was outstanding. To play that long the way he did and just directing a bunch of young guys, he did a heck of a job. I thought Schnelly (Spencer Schnell) obviously had a great fourth quarter. Dare (Ogunbowale) I thought looked outstanding, especially in his pass blocking. We had the sack-fumble – Andre (Ellington) got beat by a linebacker. We haven’t done a lot of that in camp because of the concussion protocol stuff, but it showed – I think backs on backers — a little bit in that game. I thought our speed showed up. I thought we looked fast on tape. I thought we looked fast last night, and hopefully we can continue to build on that. Again, two-minute drives by Griff (Ryan Griffin), I think the one before the half was outstanding — the kick obviously was big — and then at the end of the game. Getting that fourth quarter turnover was huge from Mazzi (Wilkins) and that was a great hit, and he continues to show up. He’s making the best of his opportunity."

(On the offensive line's performance): "I thought it was very porous. There were times it was good because their defense got tired, I think more so than our blocking (was effective), which is, when you’re throwing it 56 times, guys are going to get tired on that pass rush. But yeah, it needs to be improved."

(On the backfield): “Well, that’s why I have been high on our backs. Peyton (Barber) is a pounding guy that has a great jump cut that’s getting six (yards), getting five (yards). And then RoJo (Ronald Jones) can hit the home run, but he can also pound it in there. He made some really good cutbacks and his explosiveness showed up. Dare [Ogunbowale] pass protects in nickel back. (Andre) Ellington is a pass receiver, nickel back-type guy. So yeah, I like our room. I really do.”

(On the play of rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting): “Sean was there. I was waiting for the play to happen because he has made so many plays in practice, getting his hands on balls, but he was just there. I asked him after the game, ‘Did you play? You didn’t do anything bad, but you didn’t make that play I was looking for.’ Hopefully we can get (Jamel) Dean back this week and get him in these practices. I don’t know how long Mike Edwards is going to be out.”

(On if there will be times Jones will carry more than Barber): “If he gets the hot hand, we are going to go with the hot hand. They are both going to get their opportunities. If you’ve got a guy that’s got a hot hand, you just keep feeding him. Everybody checks their ego at the door because it’s all about rushing the football, pass protection (and) doing all of those things.

Same thing with the receivers. We had a great (opening) drive – O.J. (Howard), (Cameron) Brate and Mike Evans don’t touch the ball. That’s okay.”

White didn't play very long./TIM WIRT

5 of the Best Takes

"Jeremiah Ledbetter made a couple of impact plays in the running game. In the second quarter, he dropped rookie Benny Snell for a loss of two yards with Pittsburgh backed up deep in their own end. Later in the game, Ledbetter stuffed Snell again for no gain when the Steelers were threatening in the red zone.

"Bucs tight ends Antony Auclair and Tanner Hudson both earned impressive grades in this one. Hudson especially drew the attention of the crowd with his one-handed touchdown grab late in the contest."

-- Pro Football Focus

Devin Bush and Devin White will always be linked. They simply became known as “the Devins” throughout the predraft process because they were easily the top two inside linebackers in the draft.

"Tampa Bay selected White with the No. 5 overall pick and the Steelers traded up 10 spots to take Bush with the No. 10 pick. On Friday night, they made their professional debuts together when the Buccaneers visited the Steelers for the preseason opener at Heinz Field.

"Bush played the first half and finished with a team-leading seven tackles and added three assists. White finished with one tackle.

"So there, the Steelers got the better Devin."

-- Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers offense looked outstanding on the game's opening drive. They marched 81 yards in 12 plays, showing off phenomenal balance and productivity from a number of players. In his opening action with Bruce Arians as coach, Winston ended the drive with a pass to the flats to Chris Godwin for a score. Godwin was one of four players to catch a ball on the march, as Winston looked comfortable and on his game, completing 5-of-6 passes for 40 yards and also scrambling out of a sack, while running backs Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones each got involved with receptions and looked promising carrying the ball. With all eyes on Winston -- and a few on Jones -- to improve quickly, this drive was as impressive as it was important for the Bucs going forward.

-- NFL.com

"He played for less than a quarter, but Jameis Winston looked as comfortable as could be in his first official action under the guidance of new coach Bruce Arians on Friday, leading Tampa Bay on a 12-play, 81-yard touchdown drive to kick off his make-or-break season under center. Winston's performance obviously carries all the caveats of starring in the preseason, but if you're a Bucs fan, you couldn't have asked for a much better, calmer showing, with Jameis finishing 5 of 6 for 40 yards and a TD to Chris Godwin.

Winston's new backup, Blaine Gabbert, nearly put Pittsburgh on the board upon taking over at quarterback, throwing what could've easily been a pick-six by Steelers rookie Devin Bush, but Tampa also flashed some promise on the ground."

-- Cody Benjamin, CBSsports.com

"Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was targeted early and often against the Steelers. The 2019 second-round rookie was responsible for a touchdown in coverage and was hit with a big pass interference call on that a drive that ultimately ended with a touchdown.

Safety Lukas Denis, an undrafted Boston College product, didn’t have a great start to his NFL career. He picked up multiple negative grades in coverage across more than 40 defensive snaps on Friday night."

-- Pro Football Focus

Ryan Griffin had a solid game./JEFFREY S. KING

Game Balls

Offense: Who could it go to besides backup quarterback Ryan Griffin, who threw for 330 yards and led a comeback that fell just short? Griffin was the best of a very good quarterback group,

Defense: Kevin Minter didn't do much last season, playing in five games and not starting any. But he led the Bucs in tackles Friday night with five.

Special teams: Yeah, 55 yards is still a long way. Could Matt Gay be the guy who makes you forget Roberto Aguayo?

Ronald Jones has had a decent night./TIM WIRT


Quarterback: As a group, the Bucs had a rating of 98.6. That's some pretty loud whispering by Arians. Grade: A.

Running back: Again, the Bucs were solid, which is one reason the quarterbacks' grades were so high. There was help. The short-yardage needs work. Grade: B+.

Wide receiver: Mike Evans didn't catch a pass. O.J. Howard didn't catch a pass. And still, the Bucs were solid. Grade: B+.

Offensive line: Not a great performance. It'll have to be better for the Bucs to compete. Grade: D.

Defensive line: Not enough pass rush. Grade: D+.

Secondary: Still too many plays where there isn't a play on the ball: Grade: C.

Kicker: Matt Gay might be a very popular player. Grade: A.

Ryan Griffin had a solid game./JEFFREY S. KING

5 Unsung Heroes

Ryan Griffin: He entered as the project of a former staff. 330 yards later, he's fighting for a spot.

Spencer Schnell, wide receiver: He earned a long look by catching seven balls for 119 yards.

Tanner Hudson, tight end: Hudson could be a training camp surprise. He caught seven balls for 84 yards.

Kevin Minter, linebacker: His six tackles led the Bucs.

Corey Nelson, linebacker: He had five tackles for the Bucs.

5 Preseason Starts

Winston had a quick start./STEVEN MUNCIE

(Jameis Winston's takeoffs)

2015           19         9          131          0      1          48.4

2016             9         7            97        1      0          148.6

2017            13         9           99         0     0           95.5

2018            13        11          102        1      0          99.4

2019              6           5         40         1       0        134.0

Keep an eye on McCoy./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Ex-Bucs to Follow

1. Jon Gruden, Oakland

2. Gerald McCoy, Carolina

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami

4. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia

5. Kwon Alexander, San Francisco

5 for the Ring of Honor

(In honor of Ronde Barber)

1. Hardy Nickerson

2. Batman Wood

3. James Wilder

4. Simeon Rice

5. Gerald McCoy

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