(The Rock Voice) Ffffffinallly, NFL, has come back! In session. Tampa takes the field at Philadelphia for the first game of the preseason after the Hall of Fame game was cancelled. It was awesome to see NFL being played, no matter the level of competition. Granted it didn’t take long before the starters were benched and the position battles began. Too soon to make any major assumptions for this team but there are a few positives and negatives to take away from tonight. Let’s get to those quickly shall we?
Positive: Jameis Winston threw for 97 yards on 7 of 9 pass attempts with a Touchdown but one fumble lost. After the fumble lost when he had his first few drop backs, he looked comfortable throwing the ball. He had a handful of wide receivers that were ready to impress and make a name for themselves. One of which, Russell Shepard, took a high pass then a quick move into the endzone for the nights only Tampa touchdown. He ended the night with 3 receptions for 62 yards and that touchdown. It was a glimmer of depth behind Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson that Tampa was missing last year. No sign of a sophomore slump in this first preseason showing.
Negative: As mentioned before, Jameis Winston had a turnover on a ball that was knocked out of his hands on a drop back. However, he wasn’t the only one to cough up the ball tonight. Kenny Bell, on the first play of the NFL preseason, took the opening kick at the goal line and showed some speed away from the endzone. Then disaster struck and he lost the ball only to have the Eagles recover it. That was the first of five turnovers on a sloppy night for Tampa in that category. Three interceptions and two fumbles are not the way you want to start a season. People who are battling for positions need to hold onto the ball and not make things easier for the coaching staff to leave their names off the roster.
Positive: The players who are making it difficult for coaches decisions are those who are making plays on the field. Tonight, we saw the defensive unit cause some series trouble for the Eagles. Getting countless pressures on the quarterback as well as an interception late in the game. Yes, they allowed two quick touchdowns. However, the offense did not do them any favors with the two quick turnovers and having a super short field to defend. After that, the Tampa defense held their own and caused havoc for opposing offense. The second string showed lots of depth and appeared to give lots of pressure through the game. Defensive line looks like they are again a strength for this defense.
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