DLT’s Doubloons: Bucs Get Some Answers in Preseason Opener

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Hey there, folks! Just when you thought you got rid of me, I somehow convinced the amazing staff here at Bucs Report to allow me to disperse my pearls of nonsense to you, the krewe of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for yet another season.

Our beloved Buccaroonies clanked against the goal post known as the Miami Dolphins in their surprisingly highly entertaining pre-season opener by the count of 26-24.

What were ole DLT’s thoughts on week one of fake football? I’m so glad you asked (even if you didn’t).

What I Liked

Even the Bucs’ depth has talent. It’s such a difference isn’t it, Bucs fans? I remember the days when we all were hoping WR Kenny Bell was going to be the steal of 2015 NFL draft and future Buccaneer superstar. Bell, if you were wondering, is now a coaching assistant with the Arizona Cardinals. Tampa Bay has an embarrassment of riches all over the football field, especially on offense.

I don’t know what happened to Tyler Johnson last year. It’s hard to say he’s back on track after one pre-season game and some solid camp practices, but it sure was an encouraging sign to see Johnson shine brightly in the first half against Miami.

I loved seeing linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi, a UDFA out of Rutgers, flashing all over the football field. Way to take advantage of your opportunities, young man.

The Bucs’ run defense is stellar no matter who is in the game. The Dolphins gained 49 yds on 14 rushes. 41 of those yards came in two plays (a 21 yd scramble by QB Skyler Thompson and a 20 yd bust by Miles Gaskin). The rest? 8 yds on 12 carries. I’m no math major, but that’s pretty darn good.

We didn’t hear Robert Hainsey name the entire game. That’s a really good thing. Hainsey looked solid from what I was able to see from the broadcast. I think we’ll be okay, folks.

What I Didn’t

The end of the first half 2-minute drill. You’re leading 14-6, looking to add some more points before the half, but then turn it over not once, but twice, leading to two quick touchdowns by the opposition within 29 seconds? Not good. Not good at all.

While many of the Bucs’ plethora of wide receivers were making a case for themselves, Scotty Miller had one target (which he dropped) on 26 offensive snaps.

I know the Bucs really like o-lineman Brandon Walton, but his whiff block on Miami defender Darius Hodge led to Trask being blindsided and fumbling as he attempted to throw.

The 3rd/4th string secondary for the Bucs was…not good. Dee Delaney was getting regularly roasted while rookie Zyon McCollum got his welcome to the NFL moment.

Combined, the Buccaneers and Dolphins sat over 40 starters and key contributors. Why are these games charged to fans at full price? I’ll never understand it. Well, I mean, I suppose I do understand it. It’s the Gordon Gekko proverb, Greed is good. It’s just such a disservice to fans.

Toss Some Coins to Your Pirate

1. I won’t be doing a full pieces-of-eight section until the regular season starts. There’s only so much you can opine about from glorified scrimmages. With that said, I’ll start with Tom Brady. Yes, folks, I’m a little concerned.

Look, I’m not going to pretend to know what Tom’s off doing or having to deal with. It’s unfair to him to speculate on the cause. It could be something completely innocent, or something he most definitely needs to deal with in his personal life. Who knows?

What I do know, is Tom Brady doesn’t take a vacation from training camp. Blow off OTAs? Sure. Take a veteran rest day, absolutely. Take a 10-day sabbatical in the middle of training camp? For me, that’s a concerning warning sign.

I hope in about a week from now, we’re hearing Tom’s on his way back and will be ready to hit the practice field and begin prep for the Cowboys. Until that happens, I’ll be honest, I’m going to be a little nervous.

2. With that said, we know Tom Brady isn’t going to be here long-term. This is most likely the last ride for the G.O.A.T., and the Bucs need to figure out whose next. Is it Kyle Trask? I will tell you this, I feel a lot better about that today than I did yesterday.

Despite the two turnovers, I thought Trask played a very solid game. He showed command of the offense and terrific touch on the football.

While the first turnover was definitely a case of him trying to do too much (I call that Jameis-itis), it was still a flukey unfortunate result with the football version of the magic bullet ping-ponging around rookie RB Rachaad White‘s legs, then Miami defender Elijah Campbell’s legs and finally resting in Campbell’s belly for an unlikely interception.

With the second one, the Bucs’ o-line got their backside handed to them and Trask had no chance. I’ve seen some say he held on to the ball too long on that one but honestly, the Bucs were beaten so badly off the line that Tom Brady couldn’t have gotten that pass off.

So yes, those two plays, plus an ill-advised sack in the fourth quarter where he held on to the ball way too long blemished what would have otherwise been a very encouraging outing for Trask.

Trask’s moxie in the final drive of the ball game, staring down 4th-and-12 and executing as if it was a first down throw showed me something. The touch pass touchdown to Jerreth Sterns was a thing of absolute beauty. The Bucs finished the game a solid 6-of-13 49% on third down and Trask led the Bucs to 17 of their 24 points and in range for a game-winning field goal. He finished the ball game 25 of 33 for 258 yds, 1 TD, 1 fumble, and 1 flukey pick.

In totality, I feel a lot better about the Bucs’ future at quarterback.

3. What an opportunity for Jose Borregales to really make it a competition with Ryan Succop for the Bucs’ placekicking duties. Borregales had already shown his impressive booming leg with a 55-yd bomb in the third quarter and had drilled the practice try when Miami called time out to ice the kicker. Yet, when it all mattered, Borregales clanked the potential game winner off the upright and the Bucs were handed the L. Had Borregales made the kick, the Bucs may have had a much harder decision.

4. It really was encouraging to see the young guys taking advantage of their opportunities. Jaelon Darden, Tyler Johnson, Kaylon Geiger, Jerreth Sterns, and Deven Thompkins all flashed and Rachaad White, despite the fluke turnover, showed his patience, vision, and make-you-miss ability. We saw young linebackers filling holes, and even still young vets like Pat O’Connor and Anthony Nelson making big plays on third down. We saw a young guy like DB Don Gardner making a tip-toe interception that just barely was out. Not all these kids will make the final 53. We all understand that. Yet some will make it to the practice squad and could play meaningful minutes for the Bucs in 2022 when the inevitable injury pops up.

5. Did new head coach Todd Bowles make a poor decision at the end of the ballgame and not try to get the football a little closer for Borregales’ field goal attempt? I don’t know. Personally, I think they wanted to see if Borregales could make a pressure cooker kick like that with it all on the line. We have to remember that pre-season isn’t necessarily about winning the football game – it’s about evaluation. The Bucs know that Borregales had the big leg, what he’s lacked is consistency. It was a perfect chance to see him in a high pressure situation and let’s face it, it was well within his range.

Tweet of the Game

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