1) The Bucs’ defensive line continues to improve
After a decent showing against the Dolphins, the Bucs were able to get pressure on Marcus Mariota during final 11-on-11 drills. Some major pressure off the edge – it looked to be Jason Pierre-Paul – was the primary takedown, followed by a great blitz up the middle by Kwon Alexander.
There were moments where the defense was too aggressive and undisciplined, which was evidenced by a few offside calls against the Bucs. Those mistakes can be corrected.
The physical play was backed up by a lot of smack talk as well. It was fun watching everyone go at it.
2) Tampa Bay’s wide receivers were dominant
The Titans have an extremely talented defensive backfield that includes Logan Ryan, Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler, and Kevin Byard but that didn’t stop the Bucs’ receivers from balling out.
Tennessee’s cornerbacks didn’t shadow any specific receiver, so each one was able to garner plenty of snaps against the trio of cornerbacks and just about every time a pass was thrown their way, it was hauled in for a completion.
Both Mike Evans and O.J. Howard also drew multiple defensive holding/DPI penalties as well while showing off their insane athleticism.
Mike Evans with a NASTY move on Malcolm Butler pic.twitter.com/UvbheukNN8— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) August 15, 2018
Tampa Bay’s strength in 2018 will be the passing game and today’s showing was awfully encouraging that it will be a major factor.
3) The offensive line is having some trouble
The Bucs had a lot of trouble opening up holes for the running game and allowed a few sacks on the day. A lot of that has to do with injuries and a talented Tennessee front, but if the Bucs want to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick healthy, the offensive line needs to get healthy as whole.
They had quite a bit of trouble getting a good push up front. The quarterbacks had decent pockets to operate out of for the most part, but overall it wasn’t a good performance.
The offense can still move the chains and they did a good job of it today, but it will no doubtedly be different when the lights come on.
4) The intensity was dialed up
I mean it’s the NFL, so every practice is intense, but today was different - and expectedly so.
Even during stretches to open practice, Bucs’ coaches were already cursing and getting the players in the right mindset. This staff is ready for the season to start and they are treating this week as if it were a regular season game.
5) Ryan Smith is a problem
After a very disappointing 2017 campaign, Smith has been given just about every opportunity to show that he can play in this defense, but he just can’t seem to put it all together.
He struggled in the Miami game and did so again today. At one point, he allowed Corey Davis to break free over the middle for a huge gain during the final 11-on-11 drills for the day.
Tampa Bay’s injuries at the cornerback position have been well documented, although none are deemed too serious at the moment. Regardless, if Smith sees the field more often than not, I wouldn’t count on the Bucs’ secondary to improve much in 2018 at all.