Bucs Smith warns not to 'overreact' to first preseason game
His quarterback may have been knocked down too many times, but the sky, Bucs coach Lovie Smith says, is not falling.
After watching video of the Bucs' 16-10 loss at Jacksonville in the first preseason game Friday, Smith asked for patience and provided some perspective.
"Don’t overreact is what I would say,'' Smith said Saturday. "You guys don’t lead the charge to start overreacting. Let it play out a little bit through the preseason. Just like when you come out to practice, the first preseason game, don’t start printing up the Super Bowl tickets or cutting everybody on the team. Let things play out a little bit. That’s what preseason games are for.''
Bucs quarterback Josh McCown was under siege from the Jaguars pass rush and completed just 2-of-4 passes for 20 yards. He also was sacked once, fumbled twice, losing one, and had an interception returned 68 yards for a touchdown by Jacksonville safety Winston Guy. Much of the pressure came inside as starting guards Jamon Meredith and Oniel Cousins were beaten. Meredith had a false start penalty and Cousins was flagged for illegal hands to the face, although that penalty was declined.
Smith said he believed right tackle Demar Dotson and center Evan Dietrcih-Smith played well, but there was plenty of blame to go around. Dotson had a holding penalty that negated a 17-yard completion to receiver Chris Owusu. Starting left tackle Anthony Collins yielded a sack to Jags defensive end Chris Clemons.
"I know you want to ask about 30 offensive line questions right now so let’s go into the offensive line right away,'' Smith said. "Demar Dotson played well. I mean he had the penalty that really hurt us. Most of those aren’t normally called. He’s been that way throughout. He’s not the only one. Of course, Evan (Dietrich-Smith) played well. We didn’t play as well at the guard position as we needed to, but we needed to see them in that role.
"It comes down to a one-on-one game. Period. So we didn’t handle those situations. What you want to see in those situations, it’s not like you want to double their best players, you want to put guys on an island to see how we could perform one-on-one and we got beat a few times, especially inside at the guard position. But we got beat on the outside, too by some of our better players. That will just kind of get their attention a little more.''
As a result of all the pressure on McCown, it was difficult to evaluate his performance Friday night. He showed good mobility in scrambling out of the pocket. But his throw under duress to Evans was a poor decision.
“It was tough but we got a chance to evaluate Josh under tough circumstances,'' Smith said. "That’s why he’s a mobile quarterback sometimes. Sometimes you have to move around a little bit. Josh will learn. He took a hit as he scrambled one time. You can’t take that hit. But we’ll have better protection for him and he’ll be able to have more success.
"Anytime you throw a pick it’s bad. There’s a lot of people involved. We looked at the route. Was the split right? Was the receiver where he needed to be? Of course, there was pressure. That’s part of it also. All of that comes into play.''
Smith said he was pleased with the play of the defense, particularly with the first unit and the Bucs Pro Bowl players -- defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David. He also singled out cornerback Johnthan Banks and defensive tackle/end Da'Quan Bowers. The host the Miami Dolphins Aug. 16 at Raymond James Stadium.
“You have to keep in mind what the goal of the preseason is: to get ready for the Carolina Panthers,'' Smith said. "With that, we wanted to put our guys in position to just kind of let them play. We didn’t have an extensive game plan or anything like that.
“With that said, though, there’s some things that we liked from this first preseason game. Some of the players we thought would play a certain way did that. And some of the players we felt would play a little bit better didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked. So that’s kind of where we are right now.''