clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Postponing the season opener will help these two Bucs

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Training Camp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to postpone their season openere due to hurricane Irma. The game against the Miami Dolphins was originally scheduled to be played last Sunday, in Miami, but had to be moved to November instead.

The hurricane’s effects are devastating, though —that’s much more significant than what happens with the Bucs. Thankfully, recovery efforts are under way.

Still, we do cover the Bucs, so we also have to think of the ways in which this will affect them going forward. Obviously, playing sixteen consecutive games with no real period to rest is suboptimal. It’s also bad news for Doug Martin, who’s suspended for the upcoming three games, which bars him from having contact with the Bucs for over a month now—ever since the end of preseason.

There’s at least two Bucs players who wil benefit from the game having been postponed: defensive end Jacquies Smith, and safety T.J. Ward.

S T.J. Ward

Ward joined the Buccaneers a day after final cuts, as the Denver Broncos got rid of him at the last possible moment, presumably after spending the rest of the offseason trying to find a trade partner.

The Bucs were pretty happy to pick up the former Pro Bowler, as they desperately needed some help at safety. But there’s one downside to picking up a last-minute replacement: he will have had no time to absorb the play book, the defensive scheme or philosophy, nor will he have had any practice time with his new team.

An extra week of study and practice time (though that was obviously cut short by the hurricane, too) can only help Ward adjust quickly and make an early impact.

DE Jacquies Smith

Smith spent all of training camp on PUP after suffering a setback in his rehab from a September 2016 ACL tear. He’s been out for a year now, but got back to practicing as soon as the regular season started.

There’s still a big distance between actually participating in practice and being ready to play, though. Smith will have to get his conditioning up to par, he’ll have to learn to trust his knee again, he has to get a routine back, and he has to get reaquainted with actually playing football.

The extra week will help him make an early impact, or at least an earlier one than he would otherwise make, and the Bucs have to be happy with that project. After all, they didn’t get much of a pass-rush in preseason, and don’t have many alternatives to Smith aside from Noah Spence.