Preseason week three is in the books. The Bucs and Saints both walked away with wins but far more important for them is the learnings they will take before the final spots on the roster are secured during week four.
Bucs Offensive Line Struggling
If this is to be a ‘prove it’ year for Jameis Winston, he’ll be under pressure in more ways than one. The Bucs allowed seven sacks against the Browns, Winston taking five of these. What’s more, the run game averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. Despite big names, the line is struggling and Bruce Arians needs to address it quickly, the veteran QB guru needs a strong line to along his big play passing attack to thrive.
Chris Godwin, Tanner Hudson Continue Form
Even with the threat of sacks, a couple of receivers had strong days hosting Cleveland. Starting receiver Chris Godwin had 52 yards on four receptions, with six targets, while Tanner Hudson continued his great form at Tight End with four catches for 49 yards from seven targets. With Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to add to the mix, Tampa are not short of receiving options.
Jamel Dean, Ryan Smith Lead Defence
Ryan Smith led the way with four solo tackles against the Browns as the backups got a runout. Jamel Dean had the most total tackles with five, though only two were solo tackles as the pair battle to make the roster at cornerback. However, the biggest concern for the Bucs though is that their most productive tacklers were at Corner, showing weakness at Linebacker and the Browns were able to get to the edge.
Dwayne Washington Putting Pressure On Murray
The Saints didn’t have the best day on the ground with 25 carries for 80 yards. However, with Jacquizz Rodgers rushing for negative yardage on two carries and Latavius Murray not seeing the field, it gave Dwayne Washington the time to shine. He was solid, if unspectacular, with 29 yards on eight carries. It’s an opportunity for Washington but he needs to show more to lock down the backup role.
Dan Arnold Stars At TE
By far the best receiver for the Saints against the Jets was D Arnold (Dan, not Sam Darnold of course). Arnold had five receptions from six targets for 83 yards. The performance was the best by 30 yards, with a long of 25 yards, and could put pressure on Josh Hill to perform alongside Jared Cook.
JT Gray Making Plays
Much like the Bucs, it’s concerning that the Saints leading tackler was in the secondary. Third string Strong Safety JT Gray faces a battle to make the roster sitting behind Vonn Bell and rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. However seven tackles, six on his own will make the Saints, and other teams, notice.
Photo: Cliff Welch / PR