The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a fairly disappointing outing against the Minnesota Vikings, which means a bunch of players hurt their stock. Who's in danger of losing a starting job, or a roster spot based on their performance on Saturday?
Every defensive end
With the exception of Lawrence Sidbury Jr. who did manage to beat an offensive tackle, once. The Bucs simply couldn't rush the passer yesterday, resulting in a grand total of one sack by Henry Melton and one quarterback hit by Sidbury. That was it. That was the grand total of pressure the Bucs managed to get, and that's simply not good enough. The team is relying on George Johnson and Jacquies Smith to get some kind of edge rush going, but they looked useless -- and no one else managed to step up either. That's a problem that has to get fixed quickly, or this is going to be a long season.
The Buccaneers want Ali Marpet to start at some point this season, but the rookie mostly looked overwhelmed yesterday. He showed flashes of his physical ability, but he may not be ready for this level of competition. That could change with more experience and it may just be rookie jitters, but Marpet did not look better than Garrett Gilkey out there.
Marpet has a looooooong way to go.— Stephen White (@sgw94) August 16, 2015
Granted, Seferian-Jenkins didn't get a lot of opportunities, but he didn't step up when the ball was thrown to him either. The Bucs want him to be a big part of their offense this year, but to do so he's going to have to make the kinds of contested catches that he failed to do yesterday. That has to be his game: he's big, he's strong, he's reasonably fast -- if he can't use his frame to bail out Jameis Winston, what can he do?
Two punt returns, -2 two yards. Two kickoff returns, 36 yards. Clay is going to have to make the roster as a returner, and he did not look capable of doing that on Saturday. As with Marpet, that may simply be rookie jitters -- but he'll have to get over those quickly if he's going to make the roster.
Yes, I'm listing Gilkey on both of these lists. He genuinely did look much better as a guard than he did last year, which is pretty good news. But he also really struggled as a center, both snapping the ball and getting to the necessary blocks after the snap. We saw those issues when he lined up at center last year, and they've surfaced in training camp. Even Lovie Smith acknowledged them today, and he wasn't happy about them. Gilkey may be improving at guard, but he's probably played himself out of a job at center -- and that could come back to bite him down the line, because versatility earns you a job as a backup lineman.