Five Observations From Week Two of Buccaneers Preseason

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Photo R. Matamba

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up their first home win of any sort since 2013 last night as they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-11 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Below are five things worth noting as the preseason rolls on into week three for the Bucs.

1. Offense improving
Offensively, things clicked from the get-go this week as quarterback Jameis Winston carried the Tampa Bay offense 80 yards in eight plays on the opening drive, finishing the series with a 2-yard touchdown run. The rookie out of Florida State completed 8 of 13 passes on the night for 90 yards, looking even more poised than last week. Winston got some help from the run game, with Doug Martin rushing for 59 yards on just six carries. If offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter can continue to get a consistent balance out of his offense, it could be very effective in 2015.
2. Pass rush
One of the biggest questions heading into this season regarding the Bucs is whether or not they will be able to get enough of a pass rush from their defensive ends. The interior defensive line is a strength of this team with the likes of Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Henry Melton and the newly acquired Tony McDaniel. Tampa Bay is relying heavily on unproven players such as Jacquies Smith and George Johnson to provide pressure on the outside. Although Smith missed last night’s game, the performance from the defensive line was very encouraging. The push from the interior was solid as usual, but Johnson collected 1.5 sacks, showing part of the reason why he was brought in this offseason.

3. Turnovers 
Head coach Lovie Smith has stressed the importance of forcing turnovers to the point where it has gotten annoying. The defense gave reason for him to be happy last night as they forced three turnovers and collected a safety. Cornerback Alterraun Verner returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown while another interception from safety Bradley McDougald set up a Tampa Bay scoring drive. An improved pass rush always helps, so for Smith, it had to be a welcome sight to see his defense have a big night.
4. Penalties 
The only real negative from week two of the preseason for Tampa Bay was a lack of discipline. They were flagged 14 times for 153 yards, with 11 of those penalties coming in the first half. Penalties are to be expected in the preseason, but not at the rate they occurred against Cincinnati. Although they picked up the win last night, the Bucs will not be able to regularly get away with that and expect to win.
5. Mike Glennon
Though Mike Glennon has been relegated to backup duty this year after performing fairly admirably in his first two NFL seasons, his attitude hasn’t changed. Throughout the first two preseason games, he has gone about his business as usual. In last week’s preseason game in Minnesota, he completed 10 of 18 passes for 106 yards before finishing 10 of 15 for 121 yards and a touchdown last night. Glennon might be one of the top backup quarterbacks in the league, so the Tampa Bay coaching staff should feel comfortable knowing that they have a capable guy ready to step in if needed.

Tampa Bay will host the Cleveland Browns this Saturday at Raymond James Stadium in week three of the preseason. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.