The defense was the unit that really stood out on Saturday. The Bucs stifled the Dolphins' running game and got to the quarterback five times, a far cry from last year's regular season production. The defensive line looked very, very strong while the linebackers played fast and hard. The secondary needs a little work in coverage, although they did miss Aqib Talib. But overall, the defense had a very promising performance. So which invididuals stood out?
LB Geno Hayes
Geno Hayes looked fast and physical against the Miami Dolphins. Most importantly he was also consistent and didn't give up any big plays, which was a problem for him the past two years. Geno Hayes finished with a team-leading five total tackles, including one for a loss. He also added a quarterback hit on a blitz were he came in clean. The linebacking unit looked very strong overall, but Hayes looked like the best of the lot.
DE Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett continues to impress and seems to have locked down the starting left defensive end position. Bennett has consistently pressured the quarterback, and has played the run well these past two games. The former undrafted free agent has really improved his play since entering the league in 2009, and has seemingly turned into a competent starter. With three tackles for loss, a sack and a quarterback hit Bennett had another productive game against the Dolphins.
DE Da'Quan Bowers
Bowers isn't there yet, and his pass rush still needs work, but he continues to look better every week. With a sack, a tackle for loss and a third-down stop, Bowers had his most productive game yet. He looked more explosive and stronger than he has looked so far. If he simply continues to progress, the Bucs should have a very strong rotation of defensive ends during the season.
S Cody Grimm
Cody Grimm was very active on Saturday, and looked back to being his old self. He was flying around, ending the game with four total tackles. An active and healthy Cody Grimm really boosts this team's run defense, and that's exactly what he did against the Dolphins. It looks like Cody Grimm is now completely back, and that's great news for the defense.
DE Tim Crowder
Another defensive end who looked good. Crowder was largely invisible during the previous two games, but he looked explosive and strong against the Miami Dolphins. He got three tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and a quarterback hit on Saturday. While Crowder won't be a starter, a performance like that should guarantee him a roster spot and will add more quality to the rotation of defensive ends the Bucs have going. Wit Kyle Moore and George Johnson impressing throughout the preseason as well, someone's going to be left out.