Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers returned to the practice field today hoping to make good on some miscues they had from their first home game of the preseason, a game they ultimately lost 20-14 to the Miami Dolphins. Gerald McCoy said there were a few times the had a chance to take away the ball and didn’t. “We have to create opportunities in this league and we have to take the ball away.” And he wasn’t wrong the Buccaneers in two games have only gotten to the quarterback twice and forced one turnover, a fumble picked up by DE Michael Johnson. McCoy made sure to say that pressuring the QB is not the same as a sack “Pressure sounds good but a sack is a sack, We have to get the QB to the ground and get the ball away from him.”
Injured Cornerback Alterraun Verner was optimistic about playing in his first preseason game this coming weekend. “his is the third preseason game were the starters will have the most time together, before the first game so for us this is a big game”. Verner has been nursing a sore hamstring most of camp since tweaking it in the first camp practice of the year. Even though he has been unable to physically get on the field he’s been making sure to know what’s going on “Just watching film and picking the coaches brains, And watching a lot of Bears defense footage to see how Lovie’s defenses have been run in the past”. Michael Jenkins the other free agent cornerback signed in the offseason has yet to return to practice himself, which has given Jonathan Banks, Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer opportunities to get reps with the starting defense in practice.
Saturday night also brought us a glimmer of what first round selection Mike Evans potential could be in this league. Evans took a pass from back up QB Mike Glennon before breaking a tackle and running down the field for 41 yards. That same play also showed the Buccaneers a slight weakness in Evan’s game when as he reached the goaline Brent Grimes was able to strip the ball from Evan’s right arm. Mike has said that “I just don’t feel comfortable carrying the ball in my left arm” Before joking that “I carried it like a loaf of bread, had I held it a little tighter it wouldn’t have gotten knocked out of my arm”. He knows it is something he is going to have to work on leading to the season opener against the Panthers.
Speaking of the Panthers Head Coach Lovie Smith knows who he will face in the first week of the NFL season, but says a team like Buffalo who were second in the NFL last season in sacks is a team they need to face. “It’ll be a big challenge for our offensive line this Saturday”. “They have legitimate rushers in their front four and they can rush the passer without a blitz”. The offensive line is where a few camp battles are being waged this season and Saturday may finally give Lovie his offensive line for the season.
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