In Week 1 of the 2021 NFL Preseason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Brandon Allen led Cincinnati Bengals. Now, if this happened in September or October then the sky would be falling. Since it happened in August, it’s not about the final score, it’s about the scouting and development of young players - oh, and the returning guys getting back in sync after some time off.
So, last week we dove into three players to watch against the Bengals, not for scoring or winning but for development purposes. And we’re back again this week as the Bucs get set to face the Tennessee Titans.
QB, KYLE TRASK
Of course, quarterback is up first. It’s the most important position on the field and perhaps the most important question facing the future of the Buccaneers is what happens after Tom Brady?
The defense looks stacked and set up to carry the team into the next era of Bucs football, but someone has to take snaps. Trask looked good last weekend playing with lesser talented players around him. Granted, he was also playing with Cincinnati’s bottom rung of defenders as well.
With Blaine Gabbert expected to start against the Titans as the starters sit, I’m looking for Trask to get in this game earlier, and with a higher caliber of teammate catching passes.
EDGE, JOE TRYON-SHOYINKA
Not a surprise to see the first-round pick on the list for a second-straight week as well. He played well, and outside of some rookie form on a sack he had his first highlight reel play of his career last weekend.
Now, lets get another one, but make this one stick. I for one was surprised to see Joe Tryon-Shoyinka playing with his hand in the dirt as much as he did, but I wasn’t upset by it at all.
His versatility is going to unlock a lot of potential for the Bucs’ defense in it’s third year under Todd Bowles, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of it against the Titans.
DEFENSIVE BACK, ROSS COCKRELL
Our final player to watch this weekend isn’t a new face, but one hopefully getting a bigger role on the defense.
Last week the secondary didn’t look good. Once the starters left the game things got a little sloppy and there were guys playing without a lot of confidence. After Carlton Davis III, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Jamel Dean, Ross Cockrell is the next guy on the depth chart so the improvement needs to start with him.
Of course, he’s also contributing at safety as well right now, so his importance is expanded because of that.
There are some young guys who need to step up too, but if Cockrell’s game speaks loud enough, those guys should follow suit.