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I keep hearing that Austin Seferien jenkins (sp?) is doing good in training camp. Then you have
- Leo Flores, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's not forget that sixth-round pick
What mitigates the concern, in my opinion, is that the Bucs won't necessarily be asking any of those rookies to be the guy at their position. Every one of them could possibly end up in a complimentary role and provide enough in that capacity to pull the offense up from its stagnant state of 2013.
Evans, the first-round pick, would seem most likely to end up in a very prominent role. Most expect the former Texas A&M star to pair with
You can on the other hand, expect that type of output from Jackson; after all, he's averaged a 75-1,304-7.5 line in his two seasons as a Buccaneer and he's not showing any signs of slowing down in this year's training camp. He should get at least as competent quarterback play this season, and probably better, so there's every reason to anticipate getting similar numbers this year. Given that Evans cost the Bucs the seventh-overall pick in the draft – the highest spot at which the franchise has ever taken a receiver – they certainly expect Vincent Jackson-type numbers in the future, but he doesn't necessarily have to produce at that level in 2014 to help the offense quite a bit.
Again, though, the Buccaneers don't need huge numbers from ASJ in order to get better output from the tight ends in 2014. They brought in veteran
As I've said before, I'm not sure how important it is which of these guys is considered the "starter" at tight end once the 53-man roster is set. I think Jeff Tedford is probably devising different packages of plays for various combinations of those three. Since ASJ is also looking quite competent as a blocker, you could conceivably put two-TE sets on the field with Wright joining either Myers or the rookie. Or, of course, you could have Myers and ASJ on the field at the same time and really give opposing offenses something to think about. When your tight ends are good blockers and good pass-catchers, it really adds to the subterfuge regarding what they're going to do when they're on the field.
WR Mike Evans doesn't have to be the Bucs' #1 target in 2014 with WR Vincent Jackson still at the top of his game
As for Sims, not only was he drafted almost specifically to play a complementary role, but that running back depth you alluded to with
I think it's reasonable to hope that at least one of those three rookies – Evans, Seferian-Jenkins and Sims – will prove to be a major weapon right away as a rookie. It's probably greedy to expect all three of them to do so, but that's okay. If they can contribute in complementary roles and the veteran trio of Jackson, Martin and Myers hit some very reasonable expectations then, yes, the offense will be as good as many people are anticipating, Leo.
Can I go with "none of the above?"
Of the three options you gave me, I guess I'd go with "too early to tell." Every preseason is the same – we all go into it knowing that the outcomes of these games mean almost nothing, and then the first game arrives and it's really good or really bad and we read way too much into it. I am most definitely including myself in that "we." It's hard to watch your team in action, see something go poorly and not get a little worried.
I didn't enjoy much of that game on Friday night, but then I took a step back and remembered how little it mattered. Remember those poor Detroit Lions of 2008 who went 0-16? Yeah, they were 4-0 in the preseason that year. In a six-year period from 2005-2010, the Indianapolis Colts went 75-21 during the regular season…and 4-22 in the preseason. It's almost as if there's no correlation between success during the preseason and how a team fares when the games count.
Now, I'm guessing that you're actually talking more about the way that game unfolded than whether the Bucs won or lost. Specifically, the offense never really got off the ground, and certainly not while the starting unit was on the field for the first quarter. That's a more concrete concern but, again, I don't think it really told us very much. As both Lovie Smith and
This is just my opinion, but I only took two things away from that Jacksonville game that I think tell us anything about how the team is doing right now. One was bad and one was good. First, the offensive line is a legitimate concern, at least until the two guard spots are determined. I think the team will end up with at least competent play at those two positions when it's all said and done, and that in turn will give the team a much better offensive line than it had last year, thanks to very good players at LT, RT and C. But I'm not going to bury my head in the sand, either. It's a problem right now and if that problem persists into the regular season then we might have something to worry about.
Second, I thought the defensive line looked deep and dangerous, and I don't think that was a mirage.
You start your question with the phrase "early bucs hype," and that obviously has a negative connotation. Like we all got too excited by the arrivals of Lovie Smith and Jason Licht and
I'd say if you bought into that hype, enjoy it, and don't get too concerned about one game, especially an early-August preseason game. They honestly don't mean much, except as a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of the Carolina Panthers on September 7. Back to your three choices, I would say "reality check" is too strongly negative and "learning curve on the road to glory," sounds like more hype. Give me "too soon to tell" and ask me again in about three weeks.
Honestly, Guillermo, I think we would have seen a little bit of that by now if that was going to be a serious consideration. So far, Pamphile has just taken snaps at tackle.
Think about this: While the Bucs are obviously set and quite strong at the two starting tackle spots,
On game day, the Bucs will keep seven offensive linemen active, including the five starters and one reserve each for the interior line and the edges. That means, on game day, there are only three tackles active. The Bucs absolutely must decide which player they are most comfortable with as that third tackle because he will be one injury away from providing Josh McCown with vital protection.
Pamphile is solidly in that competition. He's listed as the second left tackle on the depth chart while undrafted rookie
Thus, my thinking is that the Buccaneers are seriously considering Pamphile as that reserve swing tackle on game days. If so, than they need to get him as much work there as possible, and not split his time or his focus on two different jobs.
Don't take my word for it, Guillermo. After I read your question, I got a minute alone with Lovie Smith today and asked him about that swing tackle job. I simply asked him about the position without throwing out any specific names. This is what he said:
"We have a couple of options, and of course Kevin Pamphile is one of them. We brought here with the vision that he would play ball for us someday. And we have
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