The Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason week two saw many of the starters sit out. In doing so the Titans decimated the Buccaneers’ depth players to the tune of 34-3. In a landslide victory, there are some lessons to learn for sure. So what do the stats tell us? Here are three stat lines to cue in on.
The Buccaneers have what looks to be a stacked tight-end group. Unfortunately for O. J. Howard, he did not do himself any favors to solidify a selection for TE2. Howard had two drop passes. In the first quarter, Blain Gabbert lofted a beautiful pass over the shoulder of Howard as he headed to the sideline. With a defender draped all over him, his size and length should have given him the advantage. The ball bounced in and out of his hands twice before falling incomplete. This was a catchable ball that in previous seasons Howard would have hauled in.
The other was in a similar fashion. Howard was unable to use his body to keep the defender out of the play. Even with those two drops Howard still finished with three catches for 24 yards. Moving the chains each time.
Historically Howard has a drop percentage of 5.6%. The highest being his second season when he had a five-drop season and a 9.4% drop percentage. If he can stay healthy and keep the drops to a minimum he will boost the 2021 offense.
Unlike last week this trended in the wrong direction for the Buccaneers. In particular, Kyle Trask threw two interceptions. But it is not a reason to get up in arms just yet. Both interceptions came off the hands of the receiver and then floated in the air as a preseason gift to the Titans. It should be noted these passes came off the hands of Jaydon Mickens and Cody McElroy. Not the likes of Rob Gronkowski or Mike Evans. Both passes were on target and very catchable.
In my opinion, Trask is doing fine. If he was placed in a situation with the starting talent, you will see a much better player who can win games. Luckily, he can sit and learn a little longer.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is everything he was touted as. His size and athleticism combined with his bursts of speed make him a formidable player to block. He will quickly impact a game and turn the table on the offensive lines. Tryon-Shoyinka finished his short stint in the game with three tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss. Additionally, he also added a quarterback hit and applied pressure on every single snap. He could be a first-round steal at 32 when all is said and done.
It’s still only preseason. Though fans may want to win the games it’s more about evaluating talent and filling out the roster. Inferences can be made about depth when you see a team’s players play against their level of talent but it’s not indicative of the season’s outcome.
For example, the 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns went undefeated in the preseason only to go 0-16 in the regular season.