The Tampa Bay Buccaneers concluded their preseason Saturday night with a 27-10 loss to Indianapolis Colts. This was the third and most important game where we got to see more of the starters compared to previous weeks. Despite the lopsided score, there was a lot of good to take away for the Bucs.
Many key starters played one drive. They looked good overall, then gave way to depth players. This gave a lot of opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate the roster. Here were some of my big takeaways from the night.
It was out of the frying pan and into the fire for Luke Goedeke. After struggling last week against a watered down Titans defensive line, he got the full experience against the Colts. This included multi time pro bowler DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart (who is very good in his own right).
Goedeke played surprisingly well. There were a few times where Stewart absolutely pushed him around, specifically on the second drive of the game. However, Goedeke essentially held Buckner in check the whole game.
The rookie also showed off his ability to get to the second level. He helped spring a few big runs by being able to block linebackers in space. This included the opening 13 yard run by Leonard Fournette.
All in all, this was a very positive game for Goedeke. There should be no doubt that he’s secured the starting left guard job for now.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before; the Buccaneers suffered some injuries on their offensive line. Starting center Robert Hainsey suffered an ankle injury and backup center Nick Leverett hurt his shoulder. Neither would return to the game.
At this point there hasn’t been anything official on how bad the injuries were. It is worth noting that Hainsey returned to the sidelines and looked no worse for wear. We should know more about their status in the coming days.
It has been a competitive camp for this group of wide receivers. There are two or three jobs up for grabs and no one wants to be the odd man out. This includes guys like Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden and others.
If this was a defining night in this battle, it’s probably left us with more questions than answers. Miller had a drop. Johnson had a drop and a penalty. Most were targeted very little.
If I had to guess at this point, it will be Johnson, Miller and Darden making the team. However, no one should feel particularly safe. I expect guys like Deven Thompkins and Jerreth Sterns to make the practice squad and see time with the Bucs at some point this year.
Rookie Tight Ends
The Bucs pair of rookie tight ends had a nice night. Cade Otton and Ko Kieft both impressed in their own ways. At this point, both look safe to make the roster.
Otton made a splash play with a 30 yard reception in the game. The rookie out of Washington has looked good in all aspects and looks to be a well rounded tight end of the future. I have begun to call him “Cade of all trades” due to his well rounded nature.
Kieft isn’t good at everything, but is excellent as a blocker. He was the lead blocker on the touchdown run and won his battles all night. His versatile and outstanding blocking ability is truly a tone setter for everyone around him.
As you would expect from a guy who’s been doing it as long as he has, Tom Brady didn’t miss a beat. Despite missing more than a week of practice and scrimmages, the greatest of all time went 6 of 8 for 44 yards, which included a drop. The starting offense moved down the field and kicked a field goal in their only drive.
So much has been written about Brady’s absence. Wild speculation had taken the country about where he was and what it meant for the future. In the end, it was all much to do about nothing. Brady looked sharp and ready for another Super Bowl run.
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