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Dolphins - Buccaneers: Four disappointing Bucs on defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense played very well against the Miami Dolphins, with the defensive line standing out in particular. The pass rush was strong, the Dolphins had no room to run the ball and their passing game could not really get started. And despite all those positives, there were some disappointing players on defense. And yes, I'm only listing four Bucs because I'm having trouble thinking of a fifth. 

CB E.J. Biggers

E.J. Biggers showed Bucs fans why Aqib Talib is crucial to this pass defense. Biggers was matched up on Brandon Marshall for most of the game, and he had no shot against the star wide receiver. Biggers gave up a 60-yard touchdown pass on which Brandon Marshall juked out Cody Grimm and made Quincy Black look very silly with a stiff arm. Biggers didn't even look all that bad during the play, though: he had decent coverage on the play, played through the hands of the receiver, but Brandon Marshall made a great play.

Later in the game, Biggers gave up a 21-yard pass interference penalty against Marshall. Biggers did sort of redeem himself with a forced fumble, but he only made that play after allowing the completion and missing a tackle.

Biggers is a solid cornerback who can function well when going up against less-than-stellar receivers, but he has struggled to stop Calvin Johnson and now Brandon Marshall: bigger, physical receivers. Aqib Talib is a much better physical matchup for those receivers, and Myron Lewis could step in in a pinch as well. 

DE Alex Magee

Alex Magee didn't even play against the Miami Dolphins, only one of two players to suit up but not appear on the field, the other being fourth-string quarterback Jonathan Crompton. Magee has done nothing this preseason and has barely even gotten on the field. I thought Alex Magee would make the team pretty comfortably before preseason started, but Magee is almost certain to be cut given his performance so far. 


CB Myron Lewis

Myron Lewis looked basicaly the same way he did last year: very talented, but still very raw. His pass-interference penalty against Brandon Marshall was a perfect example of his play: he was in position to make the play, had good coverage, but then never turned his head to locate the football, instead opting to handfight with Brandon Marshall. This will lead to flags every time, and Lewis needs to learn to turn his head and play the ball. Lewis has a lot of issues like that that should get fixed with experience, but as long as they aren't the Bucs can't fully rely on him. 


Head Coach Raheem Morris

I'm grasping to find some players who really played poorly on defense here, so I'm just going to go with a coach who got a 15-yard penalty for challenging a scoring play. That's just stupid. In addition, the many other penalties the Bucs committed yesterday and have committed all preseason are a real reason for concern. Many of these penalties are easy to avoid, yet the Bucs keep getting flagged. 

That said, I really liked some of the blitzes I saw out of this defense, and they got a couple of free rushers to the quarterback. That was very well schemed, and much better than the blitzes I saw last year.