Through two preseason games the Bucs have been disappointing. In fact, they’ve looked nothing short of bad. The Buccaneers have scored just 17 points through two games and are fresh off of a 31-point beat down at the hands of the Tennessee Titans.
While this is certainly not the start anyone was hoping for, much of the preseason doesn’t matter. A vast majority of the snaps have gone to depth players and guys who won’t make the team. So in the grand scheme of things, how much should we really care about these two games?
In short, not much. But there are things that can actually be taken away from these scrimmages. Here’s what I believe actually matters.
Linebacker depth is still a question
Everybody knows how good star linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White are. They play an overwhelming majority of snaps for good reason. However, if there were an injury at this position it could pose a legitimate problem.
The depth at linebacker all seems to fit the same mold. Physical guys who make an impact between the tackles. This is where Kevin Minter, K.J. Britt and Grant Stuard are at their best. Unfortunately, they are all limited as space players. Once things get outside the tackle box this group just doesn’t seem to have the speed or agility to keep up.
Should any of these players see meaningful playing time, it will leave the Bucs vulnerable to outside runs as well as in pass coverage. If they can find a more agile linebacker on the waiver wire then it might be an addition worth considering for this roster.
Young offensive backfield struggling
There might be a problem in Tampa Bay if the future of the Bucs offense rests on the shoulders of guys like Kyle Trask and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. The Buccaneers’ young backfield has struggled this preseason, even as fourth-string players going against fourth-string competition. Granted, this means their surrounding teammates who help make them look good are also fourth-string and unlikely to make the team. With that said, they have done nothing to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Considering the Buccaneers spent a 2020 third round pick on Vaughn and a 2021 second round pick on Trask, this is a concern. For them to look as bad as they do means they likely won’t see any playing time this year, even if there are injuries to their positions. It also means their long term projection is questionable in Tampa.
To be blunt, it is unlikely either of these two would make the Buccaneers roster if the team hadn’t invested a reasonably high draft pick in them. There is still time for them to improve, particularly for Trask as a rookie. However, these two have had an abysmal start to their NFL career on the field.
Defensive trench depth is a strength
We have seen very little of the Buccaneers starting defensive line this preseason. Despite that, the Buccaneers continue to look like one of the NFL’s top run defenses. Guys like Khalil Davis, Pat O’Connor, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches have all looked very good and look like they will make a nice rotation this year.
Then there is rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. The Buccaneers most recent first-round pick has looked excellent so far in preseason. He has gotten to the quarterback in each of the first two games and has been consistently disruptive. Tryon-Shoyinka is the biggest addition to the roster this year and should see consistent playing time.
Overall, this is probably the Buccaneers strongest unit and they continue to look better and better.
What have you learned from the Bucs’ first two preseason games? Let us know via the comment section below!