The offensive side of the ball was a bit of a mixed bag results wise in the first half of this ball game. The defense struggled to stop the run but did enough to hold the Jaguars to just 3 points in the first half. Some players impressed while others left you wanting and wishing to have seen more. Let’s get into it all with some instant reactions.
Ryan Griffin had some very positive moments in the first half with several streaks of well placed passes including a touchdown pass to Justin Watson. That said, Griffin had two poorly thrown balls that should very well have been intercepted and missed behind and high on a couple other throws as well. Nonetheless, Griffin finished without a turnover and put a cap on a very positive pre-season for the backup to the backup quarterback who could, barring an injury, see his first regular season game action in these first three weeks of the season.
Justin Watson had himself a reserved first half but did score the lone touchdown for the Buccaneers to cap the teams strongest drive of the game. Watson hauled in one other pass in the half to total 2 catches for 11 yards and a touchdown in the game. Bobo Wilson had a flashy half of football for the Buccaneers gaining 34 yards on 4 receptions and adding a nice 21 yard run on an end around. Wilson and Watson both seemed to have separate themselves from the rest of the pack as the 5th and 6th receiving options.
The offensive line as a whole seemed to really struggle creating for the running backs in this game. Ronald Jones namely was the poster child for the offensive lines struggles as he was tackled for a loss three times including a 6 yard loss on a play that saw Alex Cappa miss Dante Fowler Jr. completely as he went unscathed for the tackle for a loss on Jones. Jones did manage to squander a positive 2 yard run despite two defenders getting into the backfield on a particular carry. Jones managed to make both defenders miss as he scrambled to the line and cut back to gain 2. After 10 total carries, Jones managed an abysmal 4 yards.
Shaun Wilson did manage to show some positive plays out of the backfield as he saw a good amount of 3rd down back duty action in the first half. Wilson had 4 carries for 31 yards and added two receptions for 24 yards. Wilson surely helped himself big time with back to back solid performances.
On the defensive side of the ball there were some struggles up front and we’ll start with the teams 2nd round pick from a few years ago, Noah Spence. Spence managed a lone tackle and pressured the quarterback a single time in the first half. Spence played into the 4th quarter and showed little in the ways of pass rush and run stopping ability. On the teams 2nd drive on defense Spence had an opportunity to make a stop on what ended up being a big run play for Jacksonville. Worthy struggled and gave up his gap and Spence was unable to find the ball and separate from his lineman as the back scampered right passed him. Spence may have reason to be sweating heading into these next 48 hours as cuts take place.
Cichy got the start at middle linebacker and was moving about well but didn’t quite flash anything particular to allow him to stand out. Cichy did get immediately into the backfield on the teams 4th series on defense but it appeared that the offensive line was unaware that the ball was snapped.
Chandler Catanzaro nailed his lone field goal attempt along with an extra point in what has been a calm preseason overall from the kicking side of things, a relief to many Buccaneer fans. Catanzaro enters the regular season on a high note having made 7 of 8 field goals and 10 of 12 extra points. While the extra point kicks will be crucial and need to be made at a better clip, the field goal makes are encouraging having watched Catanzaro finish 100% in games 2-4.
There’s a lot to like from this 4th preseason game and just as much to call cause for concern. The offensive line struggled to block consistently and should the team need to lean on the likes of an Alex Cappa there just isn’t much film to give this staff a reason to be confident. Ronald Jones has had to deal with some poor blocking but the fact remains he hasn’t taken full advantage of the times he has received adequate blocking. Ryan Griffin has been a pleasant surprise to watch and despite a few errant throws in this game, continued that notion. It’s time for things to get dicey now as the next 48 hours will bring a lot of movement as the team cuts down the roster. Be sure to stay locked into Bucs Nation as we bring you all of the cuts and moves as they happen. As always, Go Bucs.