Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prove Things Are Never as Good as They Seem

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IAugust 18, 2012

Ahmad Black's pick set up the only Buccaneer TD.
Ahmad Black's pick set up the only Buccaneer TD.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Take a deep breath, please.

Yes, it looked pretty darn bad when you add it up, pretty darn bad when you replay the video over and over. As much as you wanted the Buccaneers to look good Friday night in the second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, well, sorry, they gave you umpteen reasons to Curb Your Enthusiasm after that 30-7 laugher.

If you wanted to look for the telling, early clue, the tell-tale sign of what was about to happen in the home preseason opener at Raymond James, you need look no further than your favorite right tackle—Jeremy Trueblood.

Trueblood was beaten soundly on the game's first play; Josh Freeman had a Tennessee defensive end ready to plant him and his pass went incomplete.

Trueblood set the tone, he really did.

The loss probably has most of you scratching your collective heads, wondering what happened to the Buccaneer offensive line. Just when you thought they were dominating last week in Miami, they were the ones dominated in that ugly demonstration, and "exhibit A" as to why preseason football is, for the most part, unwatchable.

Center Jeremy Zuttah had a lousy night, so did Trueblood, so did Demar Dotson. As bad as they were, the second unit was worse, creating a hostile work environment for backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who was planted four times and fumbled close to the Buccaneer goal line. The guy who looked like Joe Montana last week, looked like Jittery Joe from Kokomo last night.

Freeman didn't fare much better. His only play for the highlight reel was that two-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. Now there's something to wrap your arms around. Yeah, Freeman finally found Vincent Jackson with an early completion after staring at him the entire route. Do that in the regular season and you'll look at a pick-six.

A 21-yard passing performance didn't do much to announce "the new Josh Freeman," did it? Stuff like that happens when the offensive line doesn't perform.

Stuff like that is the way you produce minus-one yard passing for the night. Yuck!

While we're pouring out the dirty oil from the crankcase, the Bucs can count their lucky stars they didn't lose LeGarrette Blount. He went down in the second quarter and you would have sworn it was his left knee. Fortunately (and when is an injury ever fortunate?), it was only his groin.

Blount isn't the only one with a pain in the groin Saturday morning. The small body of fans who bore witness to the beatdown were probably holding theirs when they rolled out of bed.

Greg Schiano got to the point in his postgame press conference:

"We didn't coach well enough, we didn't play well enough."

He also put the best perspective for Buccaneer fans on these two games:

"As I knew last week, it wasn't that great; this wasn't that horrible."

Great point. Miami wasn't as good as it seemed; Tennessee wasn't as bad as it appeared to be.

In that spirit, let's chalk it up as a "teaching moment" and take a look at some positives.

Doug Martin showed why he was a first-rounder. He has what Emmitt Smith had, the move that carried Smith to the Hall of Fame, and that's the cut-back. When there is no hole, Martin has the wonderful ability to cut back quickly against the grain and create yardage. Blount cannot do that.

Keep in mind that Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph made an early exit, which made the offensive line look bad. Good news is, Donald Penn is back at practice Monday.

The defense did manage some nice "three-and-outs" early, although they nullified those with the breakdowns on two really nice touchdown runs by Chris Johnson. He looks like he's back.

Lavonte David had really nice moments and some "teaching moments."

Dekoda Watson showed some nice ability to rush the passer.

Mark Barron got to play, made some tackles.

Gerald McCoy made some plays. So did Adrian Clayborn. Roy Miller didn't have a great game. 

Ahmad Black had a nice pick on Jake Locker and set up the only touchdown, but he later put an illegal hit on a Tennessee receiver that led to the first Titan score.

Michael Smith continues to impress with his kickoff-return ability. He also put some good carries on film, including a 17-yarder. Don't be surprised if he eventually passes Mossis Madu on the depth chart and slides in behind Blount and Martin.

Other than that, by the second half, this game, as we said before, turned unwatchable.

It reinforced the fact that this team has a lot of work to do.

"Overall, just sloppy play," Schiano lamented. "Missed tackles, not attacking the line of scrimmage, just hovering. We're gonna play run defense."

Gotta like the way he said that, and there's some solace you can take out of this.

They're gonna play run defense.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be glad to hear that.


Read more Buccaneer news and views at OneBucSite.com.


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