August 10, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) runs the ball through the tackle of Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick (98) during the first quarter of the game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Each week, BucsNation will go to the game film (or TV broadcast if the game film is unavailable) to give you more insight on what transpired in this week's game.
It's important not to take too much out of the first pre-season game. After all, the Bucs destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs in week one of the pre-season last year, 25-0.
Still, there are some tendencies you can see in the first game that if they carry over, can be a concern or exciting improvement.
Here's some of things you might have missed while rooting on the Bucs to victory on Friday Night.
- Demar Dotson had a terrific game against Miami pass rusher Cameron Wake. While the Bucs didn't pass that often in the opener, Wake never even sniffed the Buccaneer quarterbacks. Dotson also buried Wake and some linebackers during a few off-tackle runs. Donald Penn better work himself into shape soon.
- While Blount had a solid game behind the number one line, it could have been much better. Several times there were wide open lanes that Blount just did not see - as he ducked his head and buried into the back of the offensive line.
- Freeman looked calm and delivered most of his passes accurately and in a spot where his receiver could turn and do something with it. Everything wasn't perfect though. On his first completion of the game to tight end Zac Pianalto, LeGarrette Blount was wide open in the flat without anyone within 10 yards covering him. Freeman never looked in his direction.
- On another curious play, Freeman took a quick three step drop and fired toward Mike Williams. Williams was double covered and the pass was batted away. It looked as if the play was designed to go to Williams and only Williams as Vincent Jackson and the tight ends immediately started blocking downfield. One thing that wasn't expected was the defensive lineman dropping back into coverage which flubbed up the play.
- Doug Martin had a highlight worthy run and a nice catch out of the backfield - but what really stood out was his pass blocking. On one particular play, Martin cut a charging defensive lineman who immediately went to the ground, enabling Freeman an extra few seconds to complete a 3rd down pass.
- This is no grand observation but Preston Parker had a horrible game. Not only did he get a personal foul that lost field position for his team and fumbled a punt return, he also ran a few routes incorrectly, congesting passing lanes.
- The offensive line looked simply beastly in the running game, blowing Miami off the ball several times. Again, Blount needs to have better vision because the running lanes were there.
- On the Bucs first drive, they had a 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line. Carl Nicks and Zuttah blew the center of the Miami defense back into their own end zone but instead of hitting the hole, Blount did a little two step, hesitating for just a second, allowing Miami to overcome and converge for a stop.
- There is a significant drop off from the first team offensive line to the second and third team. While the first team was dominant in imposing their will on the Dolphins defense, the second team struggled to make any headway. Running lanes were clogged and there was very little room for Doug Martin, Moises Madu and Michael Smith to run. In one play, the Bucs were trying reserve guard Desmond Wynn in the center of the line, he whiffed on a block and nearly got his quarterback killed.
- While Michael Smith looks to be the real deal as a returner, he seems to lack vision in the running game. In his defense, the Bucs third string line was being manhandled so there wasn't much to see.
- On his big 18 yard reception on the opening drive, Mike Williams made a sick move on the DB and turned an 8 yard gain into an 18 yard gain. Williams had that look again, folks...
- There wasn't a pass attempted for Vincent Jackson but the Bucs' star receiver was active. He has some outstanding blocking skills for a wideout - making a key block on Blount's 16 yard run.
- Probably the biggest concern of the night on defense was little to no pressure from the front four all night, despite the Dolphins attempting 50 passes. Michael Bennett had a couple decent pressures and Roy Miller put heat up the middle on one play - but there wasn't much happening from Adrian Clayborn or Gerald McCoy. The second and third units weren't any better. The Bucs are going to have to do a lot of blitzing to move the quarterback off his mark.
- McCoy had a so-so game. While he didn't do much on passing plays, he would routinely penetrate into the backfield on runs but ran himself out of position and began reaching for tackles again. This is the same technique that saw him tear biceps each of the past two seasons. He did make one nice stop in the backfield on Daniel Thomas.
- Miller and Bennett were actually the stars of the run defense, each penetrating and making some good stops.
- With Clayborn running a stunt and Foster blitzing, the duo met Daniel Thomas in the hole and obliterated him for what was by far the hit of the night. If ESPN still had the segment, it would have been a "You got JACKED up" hit.
- Quincy Black...oh Quincy Black. Several times completely lost in coverage or simply beaten. He had a run blitz where he was in perfect position to make a tackle for loss but Bush ran through his tackle. Black would have been the weakest link on the defense if not for...
- Cody Grimm was simply awful. Several times, Reggie Bush made him whiff with a little cut and poor technique. In the passing game, Grimm was late getting over to cover a receiver and then whiffed on the tackle.
- Myron Lewis was the talk of camp but when the lights came on, he struggled once again. He was beaten badly inside on a third down pass to Nanee and got lost in coverage a couple other times.
- Anthony Gaitor on the other hand was glued to his assignment most of the game and in this game was the secondary's surest tackler.
- I don't know how Lavonte David only ended up with 2 tackles. The rookie was simply all over the field and seemed to have his hat on or near the ball on every single play. David is deadly recognizing run, several times knifing into the backfield and changing the direction of the ball carrier. I don't want to put too much pressure on this kid but for the first time in awhile, I'm very excited about a Bucs defensive draft pick.
- Mason Foster looks like he's getting comfortable in the middle, recognizing plays faster and getting to his marks. There were a couple times he got lost in pass coverage but for most of the night he was decent.
- Eric Wright got beat a few times lined up inside but had a nice pass breakup on a blitz. On that play, either Black or Ronde Barber was late covering the wide out that was left open by Wright's blitz (I think it was Black, who was in no man's land covering ghosts) and had Wright not tipped the pass it could have gone for a decent gain.
- On Reggie Bush's big run of the night, he ran through a Gerald McCoy arm tackle, spun away from Quincy Black, made Cody Grimm whiff and then juked Ronde Barber before Anthony Gaitor came all the way across the field to put him down. It was visions of 2011 on that play, folks.
- There was one running play where Adrian Clayborn was blown off the ball and driven five yards downfield.
- It's a good thing Michael Koenen routinely puts the ball through the back of the end zone as the Bucs kick coverage unit looks average at best. Miami return men average nearly 30 yards a return, including one that went for 45 yds.
- Punt coverage wasn't great either, allowing Miami an average of 8.7 yards a return (with a long of 12).
- The special teams hit of the night came courtesy of Lavonte David, who raced down the field on punt coverage and buried the return man.
In summary, lots to be excited about on offense but defense and special teams....yeah...lets hope week two shows some improvement.