Dolphins vs. Buccaneers Review: What We Learned
The inter-Florida battle went down on Friday night, when the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers went to battle, with the Buccaneers running away with a win, 20-7.
Okay, so it wasn’t so much a “battle”, as it was a whooping. Regardless, we found out a lot of good info about some young guys, and even some veterans. Here are the key points we took away from this game:
1. Don’t write off LeGarrette Blount yet
I recently wrote that Doug Martin has been impressing so much in camp that Blount shouldn’t be drafted at all in standard drafts. Wrong. Blount ran extremely well with the first team offense, receiving all of the first team rushes, against the first string Dolphins defense. One thing that was apparent Friday that hasn’t always been the case with Blount= running with hunger. Blount is looking to silence all of the reports this offseason which claimed that he was lazy and not committed.
2. Doug Martin looked smooth, too, though
When Martin came in, he ran well too. The defense he faced when he entered was a mix of starters and second stringers, but he looked smooth. One play that stood out to me was Martin picking up a blitzing Cameron Wake coming off the edge and laying him out. Blount can’t do that, and Tampa Bay needs a back that can provide other skills outside running like blocking, an asset which went missing from Tampa with the departure of Cadillac Williams last offseason.
3. Ryan Tannehill will start Week 1 and he will be a stud in the future
News broke before the game that David Garrard will be out for 2-4 weeks after having to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery with a very mysterious injury. With extra snaps for Tannehill and Matt Moore, Tannehill definitely looked like the better quarterback and he seemed pretty comfortable in the system, going 14-21 with 167 yards and a touchdown on the night. Tannehill throws a very tight accurate ball that also has a nice zip on it. He’s not afraid to squeeze the ball in between defenders, and that ability to thread the needle will be something we’ll see for years. I had good expectations for Tannehill entering Friday, but he still exceeded them.
4. Start to Worry about Vincent Jackson’s Fantasy Value
I know, I’ve been insistent that Jackson will flourish in 2012 despite fantasy gurus knocking him. Friday surely worried me, though, and it’s beyond the fact that Vincent Jackson didn’t have a catch on the night. The Bucs seem very, very committed to the run, especially in the red zone, not once attempting a pass in their several goal line plays. Both Blount and Martin looked sharp, and Schiano has gone on the record to say he wants to run, run, and run some more.
5. Chad Johnson looks like Chad Ochocino of 2011
More of the same with Chad Johnson lately. Johnson was wide open in the first quarter but completely dropped a ball going right for his hands. If he caught it, the Dolphins would have scored on the drive.
6. Lavonte David is a STUD
The Bucs will be a much more physical defense in 2012 and rookie LB Lavonte David will be at the charge of that change. David had an interception and played fast and ferociously all night. Just wait until fellow rookie Mark Barron touches the field (was out with a toe injury): those two rookies will be centerpieces of the Bucs defense for a while and it’s because they’re both physical and play fast. The Bucs only allowed 19 rushing yards in the first half; that’s a huge jump from last year’s rush defense which was embarrassingly porous.
Quotes of the Game:
RB LeGarrette Blount: “It was good. Everything that we’ve practiced is coming to life. We’ve been well-prepared for it and we’ve executed everything to almost perfection. We scored on our first two drives, and that’s what you always plan to do. We came out to put points on the board, and the offense is just clicking.”
OG Carl Nicks: “We’re gonna bang people in the mouth. That’s Tampa Bay football from now on.”
Best (funniest) stat line: Dan Orlovsky – 8-8, 91 yards, 119 QB rating… LOL