Injuries – The most important thing a team can do during a preseason game is stay injury free and that is exactly what the Bucs did against Tennessee. While some players did limp away from the game, none of the injuries to players such as Dexter Jackson (ankle), Will Allen (shoulder) and Torrie Cox (wrist) appear to be serious.
Stylez G. White – The MVP of Saturday’s game was without a doubt the defensive end formerly known as Greg White. His most impressive play came in the second quarter when QB Kerry Collins attempted to throw a screen pass to RB Chris Johnson. The ball never made it there thanks to White, who deflected the ball at the line of scrimmage and then held on to the pass for the interception. White also sacked Collins for a 10-yard loss in the second quarter.
Brian Clark – Clark had a rough start to Saturday’s game after appearing to fumble in the first quarter, but the play was ruled an incomplete pass after Raheem Morris made his first official challenge as a head coach. In the second quarter, Clark’s second reception of the game for 24 yards was the lone receiving touchdown on the day. On the ensuing drive, Tennessee was forced to punt from its own end zone, but a strong rush by Clark on the outside forced a Titans lineman to hold, which resulted in a safety.
Byron Leftwich – The leader of the quarterback competition appears to be Leftwich after the first game of the preseason. For the game, Leftwich completed 6-of-14 passes for 61 yards and one touchdown, courtesy of a 24-yard reception by Clark.
Josh Johnson – Johnson is trying to making the choice of carrying three quarterbacks into the season a difficult one for Morris. Johnson definitely had the most exciting play of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, Johnson showcased his speed by rolling out of the pocket and breaking free of the pass rush before scampering for a 43-yard score and outrunning the entire Titans defense in the process. As far as throwing the ball, Johnson only attempted five passes but completed three for 15 yards.
Sabby Piscitelli – On the Titans opening drive, Kerry Collins drove the team the length of the field before attempting a throw into the end zone. The result was an interception by a leaping Piscitelli, who added three tackles in the game. This is a good sign for Bucs fans questioning whether Piscitelli will be a reliable choice to replace Jermaine Phillips at strong safety.
Kareem Huggins – The running back with the smallest chance of making the roster made an excellent argument for himself on Saturday. Huggins carried nine times for 43 yards and looked impressive doing so. His longest run of the day was a 19-yard scamper late in the game.
Sammie Stroughter – The seventh-round selection was impressive in his debut on Saturday. He led all of Tampa Bay’s receivers with three catches for 42 yards. His longest reception of the day came courtesy of a 20-yard completion from Josh Freeman. Stroughter also preformed nicely on special teams, averaging 27 yards a return on kickoffs.
Defensive Pass Rush – Sure, the Bucs defense recorded two sacks, but were only able to hit the quarterback on one other play. In the second half, Titans quarterbacks Vince Young and Patrick Ramsey were given all day to throw the ball. During that time, the Bucs watched their 12-6 lead turn into a 20-12 deficit. If the defense is going to be successful, the defensive line needs to make its presence known.
Adam Hayward – While the young linebacker did lead the team in tackles with four solos and two assists, his one crucial mistake resulted in a long Tennessee score. At the end of the third quarter, Titans RB Javon Ringer took a handoff on a sweep to the right, where he was met by Hayward in the backfield. Instead of laying out the former Michigan State back, Hayward whiffed on the tackle and could only watch as Ringer broke loose for a 36-yard rushing score.
Luke McCown –McCown worked with the first team, but struggled and never looked comfortable throwing the ball. He finished the game completing 4-of-8 passes for 19 yards. McCown did make a few plays with his feet, but he just could not establish a rhythm with his receivers.
Josh Freeman – As expected, the rookie first-round pick did struggle in his NFL debut. His biggest mistake came early in the fourth quarter when Freeman attempted a short pass but misread the play. The end result was an interception by Tennessee’s Ryan Moutin, who returned the pick for a 29-yard score. This could be a good lesson for Freeman, who is trying to get accustomed to the difference in game speed between the NFL and college. Freeman did have a nice completion to Stroughter for 20 yards and finished the game completing 5-of-9 passing for 52 yards.
Earnest Graham – A running back fumbling is never a good thing, but when it is Earnest Graham, it is more shocking then anything. The starting tailback was only able to gain one yard on four carries. In five seasons, Graham has only fumbled four times. His fifth came on Saturday after being hit by Tennessee defensive back Cortland Finnegan, which then led to a Titans field goal.