The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a pretty good game against the Philadelphia Eagles despite losing 17-6. In spite all of the positives, though, the Bucs had a few losers — players and coaches who didn’t come out of this game looking their best. And in a few cases, players who have to fear for their roster spots now. Let’s go through a few.
WR Kenny Bell
Kenny Bell has yet to catch a pass in an NFL uniform — he didn’t have any catches last year, and was held without a catch in this game, too. Making matters worse, he ran out the first kickoff of the game and promptly fumbled the ball, looking positively Dexter Jackson-esque in the process. Bell is a fast guy with decent size and some talent, but he’s not the most physical receiver, and that really stood out in this game. With Russell Shepard and Donteea Dye making a few good plays, Bell is going to have to produce in the last three preseason games to keep his roster spot. He probably won’t have to worry about Jonathan Krause taking that spot, though: he caught just one pass for six yards on five targets.
K Roberto Aguayo
Missing your very first NFL kick isn’t the best way for a kicker to start his career, and yet that’s exactly what the team’s second-round pick did, clunking a 37-yard extra point off the left upright. Aguayo did hit a 38-yard field goal later in the game, and didn’t get any other opportunities to redeem himself. His three kickoffs were nothing special, either, producing one touchback and two big, 35-yard-plus returns. Kickers will miss field goals, and the Bucs may still be toying with what they want out of these kickoffs, so it’s far too early to panic. But it wasn’t exactly a great start for Aguayo.
Special teams coach Nate Kaczor
Speaking of special teams, those units were awful. At the half, Dirk Koetter said that the Bucs put up the worst special teams display he’d ever seen. That’s a bit hyperbolic, but it was pretty bad. A fumbled opening kickoff, a missed field goal, no impressive kick returns, only one decent punt return — this was a pretty poor outing for a unit that was terrible last season. That shouldn’t surprise people, as Kaczor has historically coached some really, really awful units. One interesting development, though: Jacob Schum is still ahead of free agent signing Bryan Anger at punter, with the latter punting just twice and Schum getting most of the work. Anger did outperform Schum on the two punts he got to put out there, though.
QB Mike Glennon
Remember last year, when some people were arguing the Bucs should just start Glennon instead of drafting a quarterback? Good times. Glennon got a chance to remind us once again why he’s not starting: because he doesn’t handle pressure well, and isn’t a particularly impressive quarterback in any other way, either. Glennon completed seven of 14 passes for just 83 yards and one interception, and that wasn’t because his receivers weren’t helping him. The one interception was absolutely terrible, with Glennon lofting a ball blindly downfield under pressure, and he could have been picked off another time on a pretty poor throw to Kenny Bell. Making matters worse was the fact that backup quarterback Ryan Griffin didn’t look half bad. That kind of performance isn’t going to convince anyone to trade for him, nor is it going to earn him the big bucks in free agency next year.
CB Vernon Hargreaves
The Bucs’ first-round pick didn’t necessarily lose this game, but he didn’t do much to stand out and mostly played with the second team. That’s a little disappointing for a player who’s supposed to be the team’s starting nickel cornerback, though it’s in part a result of Jude Adjei-Barimah’s strong showing this offseason and in last night’s game. Hargreaves should be fine in the long run and he’s still the favorite to end up the starting slot cornerback, but he may have to split time with Adjei-Barimah a little more than we initially expected.