Another day of joint practice, another step closer to the beginning of the regular season.
Despite the occasional rain, today was a cloudy, overcast day for the most part. The play on the field between the Titans and Bucs however, was not.
Let’s dive into today’s practice.
1) Jameis Winston was up and down
After a very solid outing on Wednesday, Winston wasn’t nearly as sharp in practice today. There were multiple times where he had a good, clean pocket to throw from and he couldn’t make the right throw in order to make a play.
A couple of throws were nearly picked off and the common denominator in both instances was Winston himself. He completely overthrew rookie receiver Justin Watson on one play.
But he didn’t have a terrible day. During the team’s two-minute drill, Winston made several good throws to drive Tampa Bay into field goal range pretty quickly and Chandler Catanzaro nailed the 37-yard attempt.
That was against the Titans’ twos, however, so take that final drive with a grain of salt.
2) Practice was even more intense than yesterday
This is to be expected, but it was still interesting to watch. Both teams were pushing each other around quite a bit today and tempers started to flare later in practice.
A huge hit by safety Chris Conte on Titans’ running back Dion Lewis was the catalyst for back-to-back scuffles between both teams. Coaching staffs on both sides had to get in the middle of everyone in order to break things up.
During the Bucs’ two-minute drill, a somewhat-scary moment occurred when a Titans’ player - it looked to be on purpose, but that is just speculation - fell and landed on Winston while he was on the ground, almost prompting yet another scuffle.
These teams are going to go after each other Saturday night and boy, it will be fun to watch.
3) The offensive line looked better
After an average day, the Bucs’ offensive line routinely offered the quarterbacks clean pockets to operate within. They still had their struggles opening holes for the running game, but their pass protection seems to be on point.
With backup right tackle Leonard Wester still nursing a bad ankle, Brad Seaton has seen his fair share of playing time with the backups. I thought he played well against Miami and also today.
There are still questions at right guard, but the depth at tackle doesn’t seem as big of an issue as it was initially. Of course, it’s still preseason though.
4) A lack of explosive plays, but the offense was still efficient
Throughout camp, we’ve seen a good portion of deep throws from both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Winston, but the past two days were a different story.
Sure, the Bucs attempted to go deep during 11-on-11s, but there wasn’t much success to be had against a very talented Titans secondary.
The closest they got was a near-completion from Fitzpatrick to Evans that missed by literally a couple of inches. A completed pass would’ve netted about a 30-yard gain.
Despite the lack of big plays, Tampa Bay still moved the ball efficiently and were able to routinely find holes in the Titans’ defense.
But the Bucs will need these plays come the regular season and they will need a lot of them. It’ll be interesting to see what they do Saturday night.
5) Ronald Jones II will not be the starter come week one
Jones II just hasn’t been what the Bucs want so far in camp. He’s had issues with both pass protection and fumbles - the latter occurring twice today.
He also struggled in the first preseason game against Miami, but a lot of that can be attributed to the ever-shuffling offensive line.
But at the same time, you expect a high second-round pick to be able to make plays and while Jones II has done that here and there - it definitely hasn’t been as frequent as needed.
Peyton Barber on the other hand, has looked great and will be the starter come week one as long as nothing crazy happens.