The Buccaneers won their preseason finale on Thursday night in Dallas. It was a game for the reserves to battle it out for the last few roster spots ahead of cuts on Saturday during which Tampa Bay will have to trim the roster from 90 to 53.
The fourth preseason game is all about individual performances, so there isn’t much to take away schematically, but let’s take a look first at some standout performers from Thursday night.
ILB Jack Cichy
Cichy capped off a great overall preseason performance with four combined tackles in Thursday’s game and his first NFL sack. He came screaming (probably literally, knowing Jack) up the middle and got to quarterback Mike White, taking him down for a loss of 10. Cichy is coming back from an ACL injury suffered in Week 6 last season and has looked totally healthy throughout camp.
TE Tanner Hudson
The star of the preseason as far as Bucs pass-catchers go, Hudson recorded 245 receiving yards through four preseason games, making him the Bucs’ receiving leader during that span. Quarterback Ryan Griffin and Hudson accounted for 175 yards of that on 12 completions with three touchdowns. Hudson has made a strong case for the Bucs’ 53-man roster.
RB Dare Ogunbowale
Another player who has made his case is Ogunbowale. He seems a reliable third-down back who has taken major strides in his pass-catching ability and route running. Ogunbowale started Thursday’s game but didn’t last past the second half, giving up the reins to rookie Bruce Anderson after the coaching staff had presumably seen enough from the third-year player.
DL Pat O’Connor
O’Connor has come on strong this preseason, being used inside as an interior defender after playing defensive end last season in the Bucs’ 4-3 base scheme. He was initially listed as an outside linebacker but has been effective on the interior and Thursday night was no exception. He was in on a sack of White, getting there immediately after Shaq Barrett came off the edge and has had two total sacks this preseason, leading the team.
-First NFL game for Vincent Testaverde
With quarterback Blaine Gabbert unavailable for Thursday’s game and Ryan Griffin already putting in a ton of work this preseason (to the tune of 744 yards passing, the most by a Buccaneer quarterback in the preseason since at least 2000), Tampa Bay signed Vincent Testaverde Jr. earlier this week. Testaverde, son of former Bucs’ QB Vinny Testaverde, had been with the team in the spring as a tryout player and had some familiarity with the offense as a result. He went 4-8 for 41 yards and managed the clock in the second half to seal a Buccaneer victory.
-Bruce Anderson gets his share of work
Part of that clock management in the second half included handing the ball off to Anderson… a lot. Anderson got his most work of the preseason as he ran for 70 yards on 20 rushing attempts, including a 20-yard long and a touchdown. He also caught a 17-yard pass. Anderson has been buried on the Bucs’ depth chart behind what looks to be a pretty deep, and complementary, group of running backs. Thanks to Thursday night though, he’ll have enough tape that if he doesn’t end up on the Bucs practice squad, it might be because another team has picked him up.
The countdown to season kickoff is on! The Bucs are kicking off the NFL’s 100th season with a FREE Tim McGraw pregame concert for all fans with a ticket to the home opener on Sept. 8! Get your tickets today.