Monday Night Reflections

Here are some of my impressions on individual performances in the Buccaneers loss against the Rams Monday night.

Running back Thomas Jones continues to impress averaging over five yards a carry on his nine rushes. His hard running and quick feet mean that rookie Earnest Graham and Travis Stevens are long shots at best to make the team. Travis didn't show any burst of speed and was hardly illusive like Thomas has shown to be on his six carries.

Although Fabian Davis scored a touchdown, he also dropped a pass that would have given the Bucs a first down. Unfortunately for Davis, he's simply too new for coaches to forget the bad and remember the good. On a roster filled with great depth at the wide receiver position, Davis would have had to be near perfect to make the team and he wasn't. Add into the equation that Charles Lee is playing excellent football right now and you have Davis getting a practice squad invitation. Speaking of Lee, he's getting open and making the most of his opportunities in making a strong bid for the fourth wide receiver position. Jacquez Green also didn't do much to help his cause. He only averaged 20 yards on his three kickoff returns and didn't contribute any big plays in the passing game. Another team will likely pick him up, but he simply hasn't been the same player in the NFL that he once was when he attended the University of Florida.

Chris Simms continues to improve. He completed 10-of-13 passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns. But what is even more telling about his performance is the fact that two of his first three plays in the game he was sacked. He displayed poise and resiliency to keep his cool and execute the offense after a tumultuous start. The Buccaneers will only keep three quarterbacks and because of the development of Simms, Jim Miller will likely be the odd man out.

Veteran Punter Tom Tupa was excellent booming punts of 60 and 58 yards. His punts seemed to carry like a baseball would in the wind except there was no wind indoors in St. Louis. His net average was just under 50 yards. His performance means that rookie punter Andy Groom will be cut, but again will likely find another spot on a different team.

These are a few of my thoughts after the Bucs third pre-season game. Although there are two games left before the regular season begins, the starters will continue to progress into at least the second half, limiting the opportunities for the young players to leave positive impressions on the coaching staff.

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