The Buccaneers opened up their preseason competition with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 17-9. The game started off quite ominous with a kickoff return fumble by the inconsistent Kenny Bell. The defense did not show the power front they showed last season in stopping the run, giving up an early three play touchdown drive after the Bell fumble. Once things settled down, and the Bucs defense wasn’t forced to stop another short field touchdown, the defense began to show signs of life. The 1’s on the defensive line were both mentally and physically superior to the Eagles 1’s overall. DT Gerald McCoy was asked about how they composed themselves, and straightened things out.
“The guys are just playing together, McCoy said. “The thing is, when you’ve got a band of guys working together, it’s hard to stop when they’re working in unison. We’ve got a lot of hungry guys who want to prove that we can be who we said we’re supposed to be.”
The front seven, especially the defensive line, showed up big time. It’s been several seasons since we’ve seen this type of aptitude from the front four. One of the biggest standout performers was rookie Noah Spence. Although Spence did not record any sacks, he was disruptive, and forced quarterback movement so his teammates could record 4 sacks and plenty of hurries. We have seen Spence flashing in practice during the Bucs preseason training camp. Now, it has been confirmed that Spence’s jump off the line on the snap hasn’t been a fluke, or overblown in training camp. Spence is a special player indeed.
Once considered to be the potential top pick of the NFL draft, while just a freshman at Ohio State, Spence proved his physicality and tremendous get off at the sound of the snap. The past is the past, and Spence has repeatedly reiterated his learning experiences in his journey to where he is. So now, for Spence, the future could be the future of an explosive Bucs front. With Spence’s flash plays, players such as Clinton McDonald, Jacquies Smith, Howard Jones, and Akeem Spence benefited.
The Twitterverse went crazy after 2nd round pick kicker Roberto Aguayo missed his first extra point in the NFL. Although fans have their right to voice their opinion, overall there are many other issues to worry about. Bucs fans should be more focused on the positive points from the night. For the last few years, have we seen a dominant defensive line, especially in the first preseason game? No, be more concerned with special teams in terms of fumbles. Be concerned with the 5 turnovers in the game. Be concerned about the poor tackling later in the game. Bucs fans should be inspired in Spence who was a ‘questionable’ pick except by this organization. We’ll see if his play continues to take an upward curve as the season progresses.