It was a day of Yes.
Yes, it was preseason. But did the Bucs look like a better football team? Yes.
Yes we know it didnt count, but did Greg Schiano and the Bucs offense show resolve by going for it on 4th down and scoring an opening drive touchdown? Yes.
Not everyone will look at last nights Bucs 20-7 win the same, but here are some of my observations after now watching my 33rd preseason opener…
The offense looks Crisp-
Josh Freeman looks sharp with his throws, and perhaps the Bucs have the perfect back-up QB. Not one who will elicit a QB controversy, but not a QB who doesn’t bring up a stir because he couldnt start an NFL game to begin with. Orlovski has already been through his baptism by fire with the winless Detroit Lions. Remember the ‘running out of the end zone’ play? He’s been to hell and back, and he has veteran presence to take over the reigns for a short time if need be.
LeGarrette Blount- Wide Receiver. Come on you knew that was coming! And yet he caught the ball effortlessly and dont be surprised if that doesnt happen during the year more. Clearly Blount is the kind of guy who will get away with whatever you let him. But it just may be that Schiano is exactly the kind of coach Blount needs.
Doug Martin makes me think of how the Bucs ran the ball in 1997 with the emergence of Warrick Dunn. And for you old timers like me, when the Bucs brought in Jerry Eckwood to run with Ricky Bell, and that produced an NFC championship appearance too. You need a change of pace runner, one that can go the distance when he hits a crease.
Luke Stocker looked every bit the big tight end with good hands. And Tiquan Underwood met expectations that I laid on him calling him a sleeper earlier in the week.
Preston Parker needs to watch out, because Michael Smith looks like a serious returner, and he fits the mold for a guy who can return a kickoff for a touchdown. His name ends with an S! Michael Spurlock, Clifton Smith, and Sammie Stroughter have all returned Kick Offs in 2007, 08 and 09 respectively. You get the feeling were not starting a new 1700 kickoff countdown again!
Defense had its moments.
Gerald McCoy made good penetration.
DBs look far improved from last year.
And finally, YES, the most dominating performance came from the offensive line. Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph at Guards are going to be amazing with Zuttah at Center. The only question will be Penn’s weight issues, and Trueblood’s maturity. If those two come through, you could be looking at a formidable offensive line.
In the NFC south where passing reigns, a good solid running team that can impose its will and play some decent pass Defense, can win a division with a 10-6 record.