The Buccaneers closed out the preseason with no major concerns following their 23-16 win over the Houston Texans Saturday night. But while there are no major concerns from the coaching staff, there is some concern with how some of the rookies performed.
Players looking to make the Buccaneers roster only had three games of live action to make the most of the time they got. Those that did not take full advantage of those opportunities heard their head coach Bruce Arians say that they have some hurdles they have to clear before playing. A harsh reality that the Super Bowl winning head coach is known for dishing out.
“Some young players stepped up, others didn’t. And we’ve got some rookies that the game is still a little big for,” Arians said following Saturday’s game. “We’ll continue to coach with them and hopefully we won’t have to play them.”
Saturday night saw the debut of rookie lineman Robert Hainsey who finally hit the field for the Bucs against the Texans. After missing the first two preseason games, Hainsey had a couple of miscues from center with bad snaps before straightening things out. However, one of those miscues resulted in a safety when quarterback Blaine Gabbert had to fall on the ball after a bad snap that wound up in their own end zone.
Wide receiver Jaelon Darden has seen a lot of work in the return game. His speed has shown a just a few occasions, but there hasn’t been much of that breakthrough speed he’s known for. While on offense, the rookie has seen action catching footballs. Against the Texans, however, miscommunication between he and Gabbert where Darden didn’t cut inside on his route resulted in an interception for Houston.
Cornerback Dee Delaney had two interceptions Saturday night. While that may help his case with the staff, Arians noted have the game he was also out of position a couple times.
Guys like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Kyle Trask don’t offer up much concerns for the staff, especially Tryon-Shoyinka who has been in opposing backfields all preseason. Trask is still learning the game, but his 12-for-14 performance against the Texans gave the Buccaneers a sigh of relief. His touchdown throw also provided some validation for a potential future.
Linebacker K.J. Britt is another rookie who has quietly performed well this preseason and will undoubtedly get some playing time throughout the regular season.
Overall, it was a decent performance for some of the young Buccaneers players. But there is much work that needs to get done with plenty of them before they hit the field on a consistent basis as Arians pointed out.