The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their second preseason game on Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans. To put it bluntly, the Bucs looked bad. More specifically, the offense looked very bad.
Bad Buccaneers’ Offense
This might be expected in a game where the offense only scored three total points. But that is only part of the story. Watching the game, it felt much worse. I would even go as far as to say that there were no real bright spots for the offense….except for one.
Robert Hainsey played for about a quarter and a half. In that time, he looked good. This is important considering that the Titans played their starting nose tackle for a majority of that time.
This was a matchup I was focused on going into this game. Hainsey looked decent last week vs the Miami Dolphins. In that game he went head to head with RaeKwon Davis who is one of the better young nose tackles in the game.
This week was a different story. Teair Tart is a guy who worked his way up from the practice squad to earn a roster spot last year. His backup, Naquan Jones, is very much a similar story. In short, this wasn’t a great pair of defensive tackles.
In theory, this was a matchup we expected Hainsey to win. These were low level starters, so how he performed would be a good indicator of how good Hainsey might be. I’m relieved to report that this was a very promising performance from the Bucs second year player.
Strong Run Blocking
Hainsey looked strong as a run blocker at the point of attack. He used a strong punch to shock his opponents and was able to push them back. Additionally, he did well working down the line on outside runs as well as getting to the second level of the defense.
Solid Pass Blocking
In pass protection, Hainsey looked solid. He handled everyone who lined up in front of him and never allowed any pressure to speak of. He was also able to pass off and pick up stunts and blitzes effectively.
All in all, it was a very good day for Hainsey. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t a few things to keep working on.
There were two plays in particular that stood out to me. Both of which had Hainsey leaning too far over his toes as he went to engage his man, leading him to find up with his face in the dirt. Playing within his frame and rolling his hips could still use a bit of fine tuning.
Room For Improvement
While Hainsey did well in pass protection, there were also signs that he could improve in this area as well. There was a play where he picked up a late blitzer and knocked him down with a strong punch, but was a hair late in getting to him. A fraction of a second later and that could have been a big hit in the backfield.
These were just a handful of plays in a very good night overall, but it does show that he is still polishing his game. With that said, his two performances have left me feeling comfortable with Hainsey as the starting center. I will be looking forward to watching him progress in the weeks to come.
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