Dropping Some “Expert” Analysis on the Buccaneers Preseason Opener


Get ready for expert analysis and divisive opinions on this Buccaneers team, all based on one preseason game where there were five starters playing (six if you count Kyle Trask as a potential starter).

Just kidding. But, in front of more than 60,000 people at Raymond James Stadium, including plenty of Steeler fans, the Bucs’ quarterbacks were fun to watch, as fans got to watch the two potential starters play right after each other, with Baker Mayfield getting the first reps to start the game that ended in a 27-17 loss for the Bucs.

A few offensive linemen like Luke Goedeke and rookie Cody Mauch got some action in key spots, but Goedeke seemed to struggle to make the transition back to his college position of right tackle in his first preseason game, giving up a lot of pressures when Trask was under center.

New offensive coordinator Dave Canales also got to cut his teeth a little bit with his first NFL game as a play caller.

Plus, some depth guys at receiver like Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins had nice moments, including a gorgeous throw-and-catch from Mayfield to Palmer in the back of the end zone for the first Buccaneers touchdown of the game.

Mayfield led a nice drive that took advantage of some decent field position to put the Buccaneers on the board in the second quarter with that aforementioned TD to Palmer, and looked very comfortable on the move on boots and play actions—something that’s been missing from the Bucs’ offense for the past few seasons (sorry, Tom).

The offense, however, was also a bit ugly to start, with some sloppy procedural penalties and a lack of cohesiveness that was evident through the first half. Luckily, it’s a whole lot of new faces doing some new things in a new environment, so hopefully those will get ironed out.

Trask also disappointed in his own performance, throwing an interception and just looking very out of sync with the rest of the offense. He was running with a lot of bottom of the depth chart guys out there though, but managed to put a positive light on his outing during a serviceable drive in the third quarter. Still, it was an ugly, scoreless start to the Florida Gator’s campaign to be the Buccaneers’ starter, especially in comparison to Mayfield’s solid performance.

There were some valuable snaps for backup EDGE guys like Yaya Diaby, Anthony Nelson, and Jose Ramirez, as well as interior linemen like Logan Hall and Deadrin Senat, who could play key roles depending on how long rookie Calijah Kancey is out with his calf injury.

Zyon McCollum also came down with an acrobatic interception on a pass from Mitchell Trubisky in the second quarter. The rest of the depth corners? They showed little to inspire confidence in the backups, blowing coverages and getting burned on a number of routes by Steelers wideouts.

As much as we all have loved talking about the QB battle and who’s going to be under center for Week 1 vs. Minnesota, there is also a tight kicking battle occurring between two former Colt placekickers “Hot Rod” Rodrigo Blankenship and “All Shots no Chaser” Chase McLaughlin. McLaughlin got both extra points while Blankenship nailed a 35-yarder.

So regardless of how you feel about how silly these preseason games are, there are still some things to gain from it, even if in the long haul they might not be as important as the NFL might try to make it seem.

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This article originally appeared on CLTAMPA.COM and is used with permission.

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