LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 29: Sean Baker #33 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers intercepts a pass intended for Brandon Banks #16 of the Washington Redskins as teammate Keith Tandy #37 looks on durign the second haf at FedExField on August 29, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Preseason games are meaningless, and the most meaningless game of them all is the fourth preseason game when teams rest their starters and only backups see the field. That doesn't mean it's fun to watch the Bucs re-enact the last 10 games of the 2010 season during one of those games, but that's exactly what happened last night: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were crushed by the Washington Redskins in a contest of third-string players.
While every single player on the team was dressed, the Bucs decided to rest all of their starters and even most of their backups. Neither Josh Freeman nor backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky took any snaps, as awful third-string QB Brett Ratliff got the opportunity to prove he's not NFL material - as if we needed an extended look to ocme to that conclusion. The Bucs even rested their punter, kicker and longsnapper, giving all foot duties to backup kicker Kai Forbath, while backup tight end Zack Pianalto took care of the longsnapping duties. Yes, it was that kind of night.
Despite giving up a whopping total of 459 yards with an average of 6.6 yards per play, it wasn't all bad for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: at least they scored once, on a Kai Forbath field goal. Plus, a few players actually impressed. The offensive line was absolutely horrible, but Derek Hardman appeared to be the least awful of them all. Ratlliff didn't make it easy on his receivers, but somehow Tiquan Underwood managed 6 receptions for 82 yards, and looked good one kickoff return, which he ran out for 39 yards. He even managed a tackle to save a touchdown on an interception. Meanwhile, Sammie Stroughter had two catches for 15 yards, and that about ends the list of positives on offense. None of the running backs managed any yards, while receptions were sparse, and blocking was awful.
On defense, the Bucs looked pretty uniformly awful as well, but one rookie stood out: safety Sean Baker had two interceptions and a fumble recovery to go along with a solid night. Was that enough to make the roster, though? That remains to be seen. Unfortunately, Baker was one of the very few standouts on defense. Cornerback Myron Lewis had a few good plays, but had a few bad ones as well. Safety Cody Grimm had a few tackles, but still didn't look like his old self.
Overall, this game was awful - and exposed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' lack of depth. This wasn't a real, meaningful game - but that doesn't mean we cant learn anything from the contest. Most notably: the Bucs need to continue to upgrade their depth at numerous positions, because it simply isn't good enough.