The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were looking to build some positive momentum but the football gods were not on their side. As kickoff approached, South Florida was hit with a mid summer down pour. That lasted all of about five minutes, but turned the field at Sunlife Stadium into a muddy mess. The Buccaneers starting offensive and defensive units looked sharp in there debut as the team came up on the losing end.
DE Michael Bennett – Bennett who has gotten rave reviews thus far in camp had a solid outing rushing the passer as he recorded the Bucs lone sack and two of the Bucs three quarterback hits along with 1 tackle for loss. Bennett almost got a second sack as he burst through the line to drag Thigpen down as he was releasing the ball.
CB E.J. Biggers – Biggers got the starting nod with Aqib Talib out and made a huge case for the nickel cornerback spot. Biggers was aggressive and held his own against one of the games premiere receivers. Biggers lead the team with four tackles and a fumble recovery but made some timely stops in key third down situations to go along with some good open field tackling.
QB Josh Freeman – Freeman showed poise in the pocket, elusiveness and touch during his two series of work. He connected on a beautifully thrown 30 yard strike to rookie Mike Williams. Later in the drive inside the redzone Freeman was able to buy some time by sliding to his left and connected with second year receiver Sammie Stroughter on a 13-yard touchdown. He finished his night of work going 4 for 4 for 53 yards and 1 touchdown.
RB Kareem Huggins – Huggins did not disappoint as he showed a second gear in the open field. A quick first step and good body lean and vision when cutting. In a three plays two runs and a screen pass Huggins picked up 66 yards and three first downs. He finished the game with 8 carries for 55 yards and 2 catches for 16 yards. After seeing what Ward did, it would not surprise this fanatic to see Huggins seriously contender for the number two spot behind Cadillac Williams.
QB Josh Johnson – Any positive momentum after the Bucs scored first was given back to the Dolphins as Johnson launched an interception on a poorly thrown deep ball to Reggie Brown who had a couple steps on the Dolphins Sean Smith. Johnson had to be bailed out on numerous occasions by his receivers who made some tremendous crabs to keep drives alive. Johnson also had a costly fumble. Overall through the first pre-season game the growth that many had hoped to see from Johnson just was not there.
RB Derrick Ward – Ward looked slow, lethargic and incapable of breaking any long runs. Compounded by a case of the fumbles Ward was indecisive and lacked instincts as he continually ran up the backs of his offensive lineman.
Field Conditions – They were deplorable to say the least! The Dolphins as an organization should be embarrassed with the conditions of the field, after only raining for five minutes. Luckily for both clubs no one sustained any serious injuries. It was damn near impossible for players to get any type of footing on either the infield or the rest of the field for that matter. Players were stumbling and sliding the entire night.