There wasn't much to complain about on defense yesterday in terms of production, but despite that there were some disappointing players on that side of the ball. They were just a little harder to find than the standouts.
S Ahmad Black:
Black got a lot of offseason hype because he was an instinctive player at Florida who was constantly around the ball. Yet somehow, he never showed up for the Bucs against the Chiefs. I'm not even sure the rookie was on the field, though I have yet to go back and re-watch the second half. Whether he was on the field or not, he never showed up, and that's disappointing for a player who has the instincts and short area skills to find a role for himself on defense.
DE Alex Magee:
I like Alex Magee. He looked pretty decent in limited time last season, and has plenty of talent. Unfortunately, he did nothing against the Chiefs. Literally, nothing. The game book lists him as "Did Not Play", and that seems right to me as I never noticed him on the field. . With plenty of defensive ends showing up against the Chiefs, Magee looks like he's out of a roster spot. That's disappointing for a player with his talent, especially so given the fact that the Bucs traded for him last season (giving up an early fifth-rounder, and getting back a late sixth-rounder).
S Cody Grimm:
Cody Grimm was an active run defender who showed up at times in pass defense as well last season, but he didn't do much in this game. Whereas last year he was the man who made the run defense go, flying up to make tackles and filling holes, he failed to do so against the Chiefs. He made two tackles, but both tackles were after solid gains by running backs. Grimm has reportedly been bothered by his leg, which he broke last year. That should heal up, but he needs to show that it has and isn't holding him back at some point this preseason.
DE Da'Quan Bowers:
It's a little disingenuous to list him here, as Bowers looked like a very good run defender. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said of his pass rush ability, which was strangely absent. Bowers led the nation in sacks in 2010, but the rookie didn't show that pass rush ability against the Chiefs. Still, I don't really want to call him a disappointment, but the defenders as a whole played well against the Chiefs, so this is the closest I can get.
DE Michael Bennett:
Yes, I listed him as one of the defensive standouts as well, and as with Bowers, he wasn't a true disappointment. Still, Bennett was listed as the starter at left defensive end going into the game, but showed that he shouldn't be the starter by being a liability in run defense. He was consistently blocked out of the play or out of position in run defense. That's a problem, and it means he can't be the starter. Still, he did look like a terrific pass rusher, which means I don't really see this is as a true disappointment.
Yes, I'm reaching with these last two players. That should tell you something about the quality of play on defense, or at least players' abilities to not stand out negatively.