— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) August 21, 2022
The Bucs have serious problems on the offensive line, they lose to the Titans
NASHVILLE — Maybe Tom Brady should take another week off. No need to rush back to work. Stay away for your personal safety.
The Bucs have already lost starting center Ryan Jensen to a major and potentially season-ending knee injury. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs came out with a taut oblique. There is now a revolving door at the left guard.
Heading into the Bucs’ final preseason game, we learned this: The offensive line isn’t just a need. Right now it’s a disaster area.
In Saturday night’s 13-3 loss to the Titans, rookie Luke Goedeke got his first NFL start at left guard vacated by retired Ali Marpet. Central Michigan’s second-round draft pick waived a waiting penalty. Then another waiting penalty. Then, for good measure, a bag.
To make matters worse, guard Aaron Stinnie suffered a serious left knee injury late in the third quarter when running back Ke’shawn Vaughn was thrown to him by the Titans’ Adrian Colbert after a 1-yard gain. Stinnie, who started three playoff games for the Bucs including Super Bowl 55, was ejected from the field.
“Stinnie has a knee (injury). We won’t know (to what extent) until we get x-rays,” coach Todd Bowles said. “Goedeke, I have to see the tape, and it looked like we couldn’t move the ball at all, no matter who was there. We’ll watch the tape. My concern isn’t as big right now.
Quarterback Kyle Trask didn’t have time to interfere with his shots. After a promising preseason debut the previous week against Miami, Trask struggled to complete 11 of 24 passes for 105 yards with an interception. He was fired four times.
“You can’t say he took a step back,” Bowles said. “Sometimes it was the pressure. Sometimes they had the route covered. (Trask) was sitting there. You have to watch the tape to tell if it played effectively.
“Nobody played effectively on offense. We had three points. You can’t just put it on the quarterback.
On a pass attempt for receiver Jaelon Darden in the second quarter, Trask’s arm was hit on the fly and the ball was intercepted by former Bucs linebacker Joe Jones, who passed it 38 yards out. on the Tampa Bay 19-yard line.
A few plays later, Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chig Okonkwo.
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“It’s football. A lot of things are out of our hands, and all you can do is keep playing no matter what,” Trask said. “Whether it’s clean or not, all you can do is keep playing.”
How bad was the Bucs attack in the first half? Running back Leonard Fournette snatched a 10-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. The Bucs gained just 85 total yards before halftime.
In the third quarter, Bucs right tackle Brandon Walton was beaten on the outside by linebacker Ola Adeniyi, who knocked the ball out of Trask’s hand. The former Gators quarterback recovered his fumble, but not before taking a hard blow to the back from Adeniyi.
“It was good,” Trask said, despite complaining to officials. “I just had the wind take my breath away and I got up and kept playing.”
Goedeke said it was difficult to switch to left guard.
“I feel like with more and more reps, that will come with time,” he said. “A lot to learn. Mistakes were made. I just have to improve every week and keep improving at left guard.
Stinnie thought he was the Bucs’ best option until his knee injury.
“Any time you have a brother that goes down like that, it’s just heartbreaking to see that happen,” Goedeke said.
Brady left training camp Aug. 11 for what the team said were personal reasons. Bowles said he knew when Brady would return. The Bucs are absent today but could train on Monday.
The Bucs have 21 days until they open the regular season in Dallas. Guard Nick Leverett said he was looking forward to Brady’s return. After Saturday’s performance, you wonder if the feeling is mutual.
“I’m extremely looking forward to it, just so I can get this show on the road,” Leverett said. “I miss Tom.”
Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected]. Follow @NFLSTROUD.
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