The Bucs starters started the same way they left off against the Patriots on Saturday night with a three and out series. The offense did not move the ball against a stout Jags defense and they were forced to punt, but pinned the Jags at the 1 yard line. The Bucs starting defense continued where it left off and was physical and flying around to the ball. The Bucs got the ball back after three plays and when the offense got on the field something started to click. Jeff Garcia made things happen with his legs, arm, and his head. The Bucs did not run the ball well, but they had some nice passes to Michael Pittman out of the backfield and also to the wide outs. Garcia led the team down and threw a touchdown to David Boston on a scrambling play inside the Jags 20.
After the Jags got the ball back the Bucs defense did not let up and kept after Leftwich and the
rest of the offense. Kevin Carter was a beast on the defensive line and gave the Bucs a great performance at under tackle and end. The rest of the Bucs defenders played just as well and flew around the ball.
While the starting offense and defense looked great in their action, the backups and younger players struggled. After looking good against New England, the young guys seemed to take a step back against the Jaguars. The struggles were across the board and included offense and defensive players.
Gaines Adams again had a couple of good plays, but that was overshadowed by the fact that he got man handled on all the other plays. Adams still has a lot to learn and really needs to get bigger and be more physical. You can see the talent is there, but he is just not using it all yet. Until Adams gets bigger or learns to be more physical he will struggle, especially against physical lineman. For now Adams will rotate in on obvious passing downs.
The Bucs let Matt Lehr start at center and the result was not too good. The Bucs had multiple problems with the quarterback and center exchange. Two miscues happened in the shotgun situation and Jon Gruden made sure to point out that they had the problems in the shotgun. It has always been obvious that Gruden does not want to use the shotgun and if the keep having problems with the exchange he may throw it out and use that as an excuse. While they did have problems with the shotgun, there were also a couple of miscues under the center. Lehr just did not look comfortable out there and expect John Wade to be the opening day center.
The Rays had trouble holding onto the ball all evening. Maurice Stovall fumbled the ball as he fought for yards after the catch as the Bucs were going into score. Ken Darby, who looked great against the Patriots, also had a fumble when the Bucs were trying to go into score. The Bucs had several drives that were destroyed or disrupted by not holding onto the ball. The Bucs simply cannot make these kinds of mistakes and hope to win the games.
The offensive line, which looked so good against the Patriots struggled at times, especially when the back ups came in the game. The holes were simply not there for the running backs and Jeff Garcia was running for his life a couple times and simply made plays on his own. Aaron Sears continued to look good and get a great push, and Luke Petigout played well in his limited action as well, but on the whole the line took a small step backwards.
The Bucs starters had some good drives, but when they came out the backups just could not get it done. The backups on offense could not run the ball and just did not seem to do much the Jags defense. On Defense the backups could not tackle anyone and seemed to get gashed every play. The Bucs will need more out of there young guys to get going this year, so while the starters were encouraging the backups step back was concerning.