Bucs defeat Bengals 25-11
The Buccaneers won their first home game under Head Coach Lovie Smith on Monday Night Football. Both the offense and defense showed marked improvement from the first preseason game. Highlights included a pick-six by cornerback Alterraun Verner and a safety by linebacker Danny Lansanah. Running back Doug Martin also looked sharp, causing many to wonder if he has returned to his rookie form. Quarterback Jameis Winston was supposed to play for the entire first half but was pulled after injuring his ankle. The injury was not serious but the coaching staff pulled Winston as a precaution. He is expected to play in preseason Week 3. Wide receiver Mike Evans injured his hamstring during the game and will miss the remainder of the preseason. Evans told the Tampa Tribune he believes he could play in the next preseason game but it is better for him to sit.
Lovie Smith to call defensive plays
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier confirmed head coach Lovie Smith will be assuming play calling duties this season. Smith reportedly began considering the move after the team went 2-14 last year.
Barth rejoins Buccaneers
Kicker Connor Barth has returned to Tampa. Barth was the most accurate kicker in the franchise’s history when he lost the job to kicker Patrick Murray last season. He spent the last five weeks of the 2014 season with Denver. Barth signed a two-year, $2.75 million deal with the team. Despite the signing, Head Coach Lovie Smith maintains Murray is still the starter and Barth was brought in to add competition to the position.
Team signs third punter
In the spirit of increasing competition, the Buccaneers have signed a third punter. Jason Schum was re-signed by the team, joining Michael Koenen and Karl Schmitz in the competition. Koenen has not met expectations for the past few years and is set to make more than $3 million this season. Schum was a member of the Buccaneers practice squad but was cut at the beginning of the offseason. He was then signed and subsequently cut by the Jets.
LB Bruce Carter moves to outside
Linebacker Bruce Carter has been moved to strong side linebacker, competing with incumbent Danny Lansanah for the starting job. Carter was initially brought in to replace longtime middle linebacker Mason Foster, but was beat out by rookie Kwon Alexander during training camp.
Bucs release LB Orie Lemon, sign specialist
It appears the Buccaneers are attempting to shore up special teams. Linebacker Orie Lemon was cut to make room for a longsnapper. Lemon provided depth at the linebacker position in 2014, recording 23 tackles and 4 stuffs.