Buccaneers’ Position Battles Gain Some Clarity


The good news for Kyle Trask fans: he actually had a pretty good game in the Buccaneers’ 13-6 victory over the New York Jets Saturday night. After a rough start where the 25-year-old made some questionable decisions and failed to really push the ball down the field at all, he seemed to settle in and even got his first TD of the preseason.

The bad news: Baker Mayfield didn’t play a single snap, giving many Buccaneers’ fans reason to assume the team has made its decision in regards to the QB starter.

It’s a tough development for the former second-round pick out of the University of Florida, but for the Bucs this is probably the best-case scenario. Baker is likely the guy, for better or for worse, to start the season. No more worries or concerns about who plays better, there’s just the usual final roster spots that are up for grabs for a lot of late-round and undrafted guys.

Speaking of, there were a lot of interesting performances from other guys fighting for positions, including undrafted rookies such as running back Sean Tucker and wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, as well as another acrobatic catch from rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer, who’s establishing his position as a potential Russell Gage replacement for the upcoming season.

Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn had another disappointing performance, as he ended up with -8 rushing yards on four carries, and the running game as a whole continued to struggle, only amassing 72 yards on 32 carries.

On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary guys seemed to be a bit more prepared than in the Week 1 matchup with the Steelers, as defensive back Dee Delaney came up with a pick off a nice deflection by rookie safety Keenan Isaac. Both are fighting for some depth spots in the secondary room.

As far as the pass rush goes, the Buccaneers never got home on any plays, dropping a goose egg in the sack column, but both Jets QBs were incredibly ineffective, with a low yards-per-completion number and no TDs.

Was that due to some stellar secondary play, or nervousness in the pocket due to a bit of pressure? Maybe a bit of both, but regardless it was encouraging to see the depth defensive players submit a much better performance, even if it was against a top-heavy team like the Jets.

We’ll get to see a bit under the hood in this upcoming week’s “Hard Knocks” episode, as the Jets are the featured team this season in the popular HBO show that I shamefully watch (yeah, yeah, I know it’s stupid, but that’s kind of the point).

While it was nice to see the Buccaneers get a victory, even coming in the preseason, the clarity that a lot of these performances and decisions brought was a much more important development, especially in regards to who’s going to be under center come Week 1.

The Bucs finish out the preseason with a matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, who have won 24 of their last 25 preseason games. The results still don’t matter, but hey, it’ll be fun to see some more football in RayJay, especially since the Bucs start the season on the road in Minnesota.

Fire those cannons (although maybe not as enthusiastically as usual; it is the preseason).

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

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