The Buccaneers won their first preseason game on Saturday afternoon, knocking off the Buffalo Bills thanks to a dominant first half of starters versus starters. That dominance between the first teams for Buffalo and Tampa Bay is reflected in the game grades for this week.
Pro Football Focus has released their grades and statistics for this week, and there are plenty of things to be encouraged by for the Bucs. Here are some of the highlights.
Hey guys, I have something to tell you. Gerald McCoy is good at football.
The Buccaneers' superstar defensive tackle posted a 5.0 grade on Saturday, putting him on pace to break every record and standard PFF knows and holds dear.
Gerald McCoy's preseason grade over 67 snaps is now an utterly absurd +16.5. Over an 800-snap season that would be +197.0— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 24, 2014
Geno Atkins posted an absurd 73.6 in 2012, and that's the highest season grade for a defensive tackle since PFF's data began in 2007. McCoy only needs to play half as well as he has this preseason to smash that record.
But we already know how good McCoy is, and these grades are only helping to inform the remaining doubters and those who don't follow the Bucs. But what about the other Tampa Bay defenders?
Mason Foster posted a 2.9 grade, as did Clinton McDonald, to earn the duo split-honors as second-best defensive starter on the afternoon. Foster's four "stops" (PFF's measure of tackles leading to an offensive failure) led the team, while McDonald got most of his positive points from his disruptions in the run game.
Quinton Pointer earned a 3.2 grade for the day, as he was targeted five times but allowed no catches, and had one pass defended.
Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn both graded out "in the green" as well, giving the Bucs a defensive line clean sweep for positive performances.
On the negative side of things, Deveron Carr was the worst Buccaneer defender, earning a -3.8 grade and allowing catches on the two passes thrown at him. Ka'Lial Glaud and Akeem Spence were among the other poor performers on defense for the day.
Defensive end Larry English, who did get two sacks, still got a negative grade on the day. That likely reflects the ease with which he got his sacks, and the lack of production on his other snaps.
And while his grade wasn't very telling (-0.3), Alterraun Verner logged 17 snaps, a good sign that he's closer to being ready for opening day.
Things weren't so positive on the offensive side, as two key players earned very poor grades on the day. Guard Oniel Cousins earned the worst grade on the day with a -4.2, finding his marks in the red for both run and pass blocking. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a bad day, as well, grading out very poorly for both run and pass blocking.
In fact, all four of the Bucs' tight ends wound up in the negatives, as blocking was an issue for all of them.
Patrick Omameh earned a slightly less offensive -3.2 (when compared to Cousins), but still struggled for the most part. Anthony Collins had an interesting day, earning a strong grade as a pass blocker, but a negative grade as a run blocker.
The quarterback grades tell the story of a competition that has long been over. Josh McCown earned a 2.1 grade to lead all offensive players, while Mike Glennon's -2.7 was fourth-worst on the team. In their "refocused" article for the game, PFF explained that while McCown did make a pair of early "mistakes," his deep passing and accuracy from then on earned him his encouraging final score.
Demar Dotson had a very solid day against a talented Buffalo defensive line, earning a 2.0 grade. Cameron Brate was the only tight end to post a positive grade, earning good run blocking numbers in limited snaps. He is still likely headed to the practice squad.