There are few things more tedious in the game of football than the fourth and final game of the preseason. It’s a game often ignored even by the most fervent of fans, and the Bucs preseason finale was one worth ignoring.
At the end, it was the Jaguars besting the Bucs 25-10 in a game that will sadly decide the fate of a good number of the players who were on the field giving it their all on Thursday.
With that in mind, here are a few observations regarding the immediate future of a few of the players who, right or wrong, may have played their last NFL game in this one.
It was another rough night for rookie running back Ronald Jones. After running 18 times for just 18 yards in the first three preseason games combined, Jones ran 10 times for just 4 yards against Jacksonville.
Truth be told, however, Jones had nowhere to run. The line in front of him did a horrible job of creating running room and so Jones finished up a disappointing preseason never really showing what he’s capable of.
If he wasn’t a second-round draft pick, Jones might be in danger of losing a roster spot, but the Bucs aren’t all that deep at running back and remain confident Jones will eventually prove worthy of his draft position.
The Bucs will more than likely chalk up Jones’ struggles to the play of the offensive line, but Shaun Wilson and Dare Ogunbowale ran behind the same line as Jones on Thursday and did a much better job of gaining ground.
Wilson ran eight times for 45 yards while Ogunbowale ran five times for 29 yards. Throw in the fact that Wilson continued to show well as a return man and there’s a chance he will at least earn a practice squad spot.
I found it interesting that DE Noah Spence was still playing in the fourth quarter. I found it equally interesting that even against third- and fourth stringers he was unable to make much of an impact.
It’s hard to believe Spence is on the bubble. The Bucs were probably just trying to get him some playing time. After all, he’s missed a lot of time because of injury the past two years. Still, this was a bit curious.
Justin Watson has done what Ronald Jones hasn’t this preseason. He’s earned a roster spot. The fourth-round out of Penn went into Thursday’s game leading the Bucs in receiving with 10 catches for 119 yards and tacked on two more catches for 11 yards and a TD against Jacksonville.
Largely because of where he played, Watson was a bit of a sleeper coming out of college. At 6-foot-3 215 pounds, however, he’s got NFL size to go along with good hands and good route-running skills. The Bucs are deep at the wide receiver position and Watson only makes them deeper.
One of the biggest decisions the Bucs have to make based on Thursday’s game is who to keep as their long snapper. Drew Ferris appeared to have that job wrapped up, but the Bucs re-signed Garrison Sanborn after Ferris botched a snap last week and gave him all the work on Thursday.
This is just a guess, but I think Sanborn gets the job. If the Bucs had that much faith in Ferris they never would have brought Sanborn in.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.