The Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiled their new white uniforms in front of the home crowd tonight in a 20-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins. But the final score wasn’t the most important thing in this pre-season matchup. Seeing improvement from last week’s unsightly offensive line woes was.
As was the case last week, the Bucs’ defense was very impressive. They held the Dolphins to -5 yards rushing in the first half. Gerald McCoy was the star of the night, getting 3 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble that was recovered by new Buc Michael Johnson. That lead to the Bucs’ first half touchdown on a bullet from Josh McCown to two-time pro bowler Vincent Jackson.
Mike Evans even joined in on the touchdown fun in the second quarter, or so we thought. After catching a pass from quarterback Mike Glennon, Evans broke a tackle and showed off his speed running 42-yards to the end zone. However, Miami cornerback Brent Grimes chased him down and managed to knock the ball out of his hand inches from the goal line and the ball bounced out of the end zone for a touchback. Evans was carrying the ball in his right hand, instead of his left which was by the sideline, making it easy pickings for the veteran Grimes. This was a simple mistake that Bucs fans should be thankful happened in pre-season and is sure to not happen again for the rookie. Evans will likely have it drilled into his head all week which side to carry the ball on so this type of game changing blunder doesn’t happen in a meaningful game.
Quarterback Mike Glennon looked very poor in his second outing of the year. He was consistently overthrowing receivers, missing open targets, and fumbled the ball after hitting his hand on his own lineman. He did himself no favors tonight trying to show he should be the opening day starter. The offensive line, though still struggling, looked much better than last week against Jacksonville. Both McCown and Glennon were rushed to get rid of the ball a few times, but not like they were last week. The Buccaneers still have an uphill battle to solidify that line, but they seem to be making improvements week to week.
Solomon Patton, a rookie receiver out of the University of Florida, was the special teams standout of the night. He’s currently building a solid case to be a member of the team in three weeks for opening weekend.
The Buccaneers had quite a few injuries tonight. Though the extent of them are not yet known, it’s worth noting that most of them looked minor. Safety Major Wright left the game with a back injury, DE William Gholston left with a shoulder injury, RB Mike James left with a shoulder injury, and LB Brandon Magee left with what appeared to be the most serious of the injuries, hurting his right ankle. Again, it’s uncertain the severity of any of the injuries and if any playing time will be missed until the Bucs medical staff evaluates the players. Starting cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Alterraun Verner did not play in the game, nor did defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. All are still nursing injuries and there was no need to force them into tonight’s game.