The Buccaneers took their first loss of the year on Monday night [url=http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-lavonte-david-jersey]Lavonte David Jersey[/url] , falling to the Steelers by a score of 30-27. Through three games, it appears that the newcomers in the secondary are going to be the crown jewels of Tampa Bay’s 2018 rookie class. It’s time for this week’s rookie recap.CBs M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, S Jordan WhiteheadAs stated above, the Bucs have to like what they’re seeing from the rookies in the back half of the defense. M.J. Stewart finished as the team’s leading tackler in Monday night’s loss, picking up nine (all solo) and one pass defended. He did that in just 43 snaps (65 percent of the overall snaps). His role on the defense is growing as a result of Vernon Hargreaves’ injury, but he has handled it extremely well. Tampa Bay’s pass defense is struggling, sure, but there’s so much youth back there. It’s clear that the rookies are progressing. Stewart has impressed, but he isn’t the only one coming into his own.Carlton Davis had another tough matchup this week, getting some time against Antonio Brown. “AB” is the best receiver in the NFL, but Davis pretty much locked him down whenever the two were matched up. Brown caught six passes for 50 yards and a touchdown, but 27 of those came on a touchdown he scored on Brent Grimes. Davis was in on 63 snaps (95 percent). Him getting as much time as he is, this early in his career, is doing wonders for his development. By the end of this year, he very well could be the team’s top corner for the foreseeable future.At the safety position, Jordan Whitehead is developing as well. Chris Conte reportedly started Monday’s game with a torn PCL. It was quickly made clear that him playing was a horrible idea, as Vance McDonald stiff-armed him into 2019 on a 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter. After that, Conte left the game and was later placed on injured reserve. With the veteran out, Whitehead stepped in and played well. He took 55 snaps (83 percent) and racked up four solo tackles. He and Justin Evans are the team’s future at the safety position. Getting a jump on that this early in Whitehead’s career is only going to help the future of the defense as a whole.Head coach Dirk Koetter was clearly impressed with the performance of his rookie defensive backs. Here’s what he had to say about the three guys on Tuesday:RB/KR Shaun WilsonUndrafted free agent Shaun Wilson was active again on Monday, but didn’t have as much of an impact this time around. He only got three snaps (four percent) on offense and took five kicks back for a total of 68 yards (just 13.6 yards per return). He is valuable on special teams, so he will surely continue to get his chances on Sundays. He caught two passes for nine yards in the loss, but didn’t get a carry. With the team struggling to run the ball, could he get some looks in the coming weeks? Possibly, but there’s also another rookie on the outside looking in at a struggling backfield...Inactives: DT Vita Vea, RB Ronald Jones II, OL Alex Cappa, WR Justin WatsonNo. 12 overall pick Vita Vea came back to practice last week, but was still inactive on gameday. He is still listed as a limited participant this week, so his status for Sunday’s game in Chicago still isn’t promising. He may not be back until after the bye week [url=http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-chris-conte-jersey]Authentic Chris Conte Jersey[/url] , but the team needs to get him fully healthy before he debuts. Still, it was hard to not wonder about Vea while watching James Conner run right up the middle repeatedly on Pittsburgh’s game-sealing drive.Second-rounder Ronald Jones was still inactive this week. No, he’s still not a bust. Is the current situation frustrating? Sure it is. If you’re thinking about what it would’ve been like had the Bucs selected Derrius Guice or someone else instead, you’re certainly not alone. But if Jones comes in and plays well, this will be forgotten. With the ground game lacking right now for Tampa Bay, he could get his call soon. After next week’s bye week may be a good bet.Alex Cappa and Justin Watson both found themselves inactive again. Without injuries to the guys ahead of them, both rookies may be waiting a while for their NFL debuts. The best of the restSixth-rounder Jack Cichy got 15 snaps on special teams, but didn’t register a tackle.Preseason - Lions at Bucs: Film Review Thoughts As before, I will focus mainly on the starters and backups that are likely to make the team, so there won’t be anything from the second half in this review. Also, there are a lot of gifs so I don’t recommend watching it on a phone.The Bucs got the ball first, and opened with some runs. Barber is running really well. The starting OL (L to R) was Michael Liedtke, Adam Gettis, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, and Demar Dotson. So in my opinion they were down three starters. Not ideal.I want to point out the value of O.J. Howard, and how his athleticism is a positive matchup for the Bucs:Here Howard lines up to the boundary on Dotson’s outside shoulder and runs up the seam, right past his man in coverage. Too fast for linebackers, too big for corners and safeties. Even with a linebacker dropping back, Fitzpatrick does a good job to get the ball over him. Howard doesn’t have great length/catch radius but he makes a really good catch here. The Bucs must make better use of Howard this year; last year he blocked 70% of the time, and I’d like to see it be more 50/50.The Bucs ended their first drive with a touchdown. We actually got to see a great angle of the blocking and I want to highlight it. Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis is good and shoots the A gap here. Barber takes a step or two toward the LOS, setting up Davis’ angle, and then Barber’s jump cut makes it an arm tackle. Barber isn’t super athletic but he’s strong, and a smart runner. Pay particular attention to Dotson and tight end Antony Auclair because they’re the ones who made this play happen. They combo block linebacker Devon Kennard, and then Auclair peels off and does a great job turning out cornerback Nevin Lawson. Dotson pancakes Kennard, and its six points. Cappa really struggled with both his run and pass assignments in this game, and if he earns the starting job I would be really concerned with the RG spot. I also want to quickly point out the miscommunication the Bucs’ defense had on the Lions’ first offensive drive. Safety Chris Conte is often maligned by fans, but on this play I don’t think this is his fault; I think it is rookie Carlton Davis III’s. First, it’s a well designed play [url=http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-adam-humphries-jersey]Youth Adam Humphries Jersey[/url] , with receiver Kenny Golladay running a wheel route off of a rub. Now, we don’t really know what the play call was - all we can do is guess, even when we have access to coaches film. But if it’s Cover 4/Quarters like the Bucs like to play (meaning the field is divided into four equal vertical zones down the field), someone would be responsible for any vertical route down that sideline. The corner who lined up outside at the LOS at the start of the play was Davis, with Grimes inside.Here Davis is lined up over Golden Tate, with Grimes lined up over Golladay in the slot. The two receivers switch, with Golladay going around on his wheel route. Davis plays this like it’s man coverage and follows Tate. Grimes takes the flat, Lavonte David has the hook/curl zone, with Conte playing the middle of the field shaded to the right. Conte does appear to get caught peeking in the backfield, as he often does, but Davis looks like the only person playing man coverage. And with Davis in the same area as David and Conte, and him being a rookie, my best guess is Davis was supposed to switch and follow Golladay. Such are the trials and tribulations of a rookie. Also, this is exactly what this play is designed to do, and why communication among defensive backs is so important. But it may have just been a mental error by Davis.The Bucs need Davis to win the job, and he probably will, but he’s still a rookie and these plays are going to happen. Truth to be told, in my opinion the Bucs have had miscommunication issues on switch calls for years now. But this is what the preseason is for - making mistakes so you can fix them. After this, the defense did a good job holding the offense to a field goal.On the Bucs’ second drive, they lined up rookie running back Ronald Jones out wide to the field side (the bottom of the screen), which is just awesome. The Lions decided to cover him with the talented linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and while Reeves-Maybin is a freak athlete, he’s still not fast enough to cover Jones on this fly route. (I would like to point out that Reeves-Maybin weighs twenty pounds more than Jones and still tackled him.) But this is an excellent example of matchup football and putting players in position to succeed. And of course, Jones caught it! After this, the offensive line gave up a sack, and Fitzpatrick connected with Evans on a back-shoulder fade route, but Evans was correctly called for offensive pass interference. Punter Bryan Anger did a great job putting the ball inside the five and the special teams unit did a great job downing it. Oh, and I want to point out that running backs can have bad box score games and not actually play bad. That still seems to be the case to me with Ronald Jones. On the Lions’ next possession, the Bucs couldn’t capitalize on some Lions errors like dropped passes [url=http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ali-marpet-jersey]http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ali-marpet-jersey[/url] , and couldn’t get off the field on third and long. Not good. Also, that was definitely pass interference on rookie safety Jordan Whitehead; he made contact before the ball arrived. It was unfortunate to see the Bucs basically give up a 90 yard drive, but they did stiffen again in the red zone. And it was nice to see Vernon Hargreaves III get a pass break-up. Shaun Wilson did a great job returning kicks in this game.With 10:23 left in the half Jameis Winston came in. The blocking of the OL (Liedtke, Gettis, Jensen, Cappa, and Dotson) got noticeably worse the longer the backups were in. On the sack of Winston, Liedtke, Gettis, and Cappa all got beat, badly. But they got bailed out by a holding call. Shortly after that, this happened:This is a great play call. Adam Humphries is more of a short-yardage receiver because he’s quicker than he is fast, but he’s also more than a willing blocker, and I’ve seen him de-cleat 260 pound defensive ends when he chip blocks. So it’s a great move to have him be the rub here that gets DeSean Jackson open, and Winston has been dialed in this preseason. The Bucs need more of these plays; they get an easy read and throw to an explosive receiver who is open with running room, and they have the players to make it happen. Winston has done a better job of taking checkdowns when he’s scrambling. I also love the call of going for it on 4th and inches because it’s the right call, and Winston did a great job running and then stumbling for the first down.I want to point out one last play. I recently wrote that the math shows that if you’re gonna run the fade, then do it back-shoulder or don’t do it at all. The Bucs tried it first to Evans, and then this to Godwin:That is unstoppable.On the Lions’ next drive, McCoy was unstoppable and got the 3rd down sack. I like Jackson running back punts, but not in the preseason. On the Bucs’ next possession, they went into their two-minute drill. Winston was dialed-in. The offensive pass interference call on O.J. Howard was a really bad call, and it was a great throw by Winston but an even better run by Howard. That, and the depth at offensive tackle stalled this drive. Dotson had been subbed out for Brad Seaton, who gave up pressure way too easily to Kennard, who hit Winston as he threw. There’s an argument to be made that the staff should have pulled Winston here. It’s his fault he’s gone for the first three games, but you don’t want it to be your fault you lost him for the rest of the season. Regardless, on third and fourteen Freddie Martino dropped what would have been the first down.
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