Notes: English jumps at opportunity with two sacks
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Former first-round pick Larry English, a defensive end trying to grab one of the last spots on the Bucs' 53-man roster after joining the team last week, made a strong case in Saturday's win at Buffalo, getting two sacks off the bench.
"We've noticed him," coach Lovie Smith said after the game. "Last week in practice, we thought he took steps each day. We have good competition with a few players for some of those last positions on our team."
English, released by the Chargers after five seasons, dropped Bills QB E.J. Manuel for a 5-yard loss on third down in the second quarter, then added another sack in the third quarter.
"I'm just coming to work every day with the same mentality of getting better," English said. "I'm getting my body primed and ready for the regular season to be able to make a difference in whatever the team needs me. ... Whenever you can get in early in a game, get some key snaps against the 1s, that's always a key."
MISSING: The Bucs played without starting strongside LB Jonathan Casillas, who didn't travel with the team due to an unspecified rules violation. Danny Lansanah started in his place and played well, finishing with five tackles, including one for a loss. Smith said Casillas will be back with the team Sunday. "That kind of tells you how we feel about it," he said.
Bucs S Mark Barron sat out the first series due to a separate violation of team rules, but returned on the second series and finished with two tackles. Bradley McDougald, who started in his place, left the game early with a knee injury, and the Bucs didn't elaborate on the severity of his injury.
Several key players didn't dress due to lingering injuries, including S Major Wright, CBs Mike Jenkins, Danny Gorrer and Rashaan Melvin, DEs Da'Quan Bowers and Will Gholston and RB Mike James.
APOLOGY: Bucs rookie WR Mike Evans, who got his first touchdown on a 26-yard grab, addressed a video released by TMZ.com on Friday, showing him in a brawl outside a South Beach nightclub in March. No arrests were made and Evans said it's in the past.
"I put it behind me," he said. "The situation was unfortunate. I could've handled it better and I plan on handling it better in the future."
CLICKING AGAIN: WR Vincent Jackson laid low the first two preseason games, with only three total passes thrown his way, but he connected well with QB Josh McCown on Saturday, catching a game-high five passes -- all in the first half -- for 43 yards. Those catches including three on third-down conversions in the second quarter, when the Bucs scored 17 points.
"We got a chance to keep some drives going," Jackson said. "Finishing up this preseason for the first-teamers, I don't know how much we'll play in this last game, it's good to get that good rhythm and some confidence."
THIS AND THAT: Bucs RB Doug Martin rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 27, but his backups struggled for yards. Jeff Demps rushed 11 times for 26 yards and Bobby Rainey had 14 yards on his 13 carries. ... Corner Alterraun Verner made his first appearance of the preseason, testing his hamstring on the first few drives and feeling good about his progress. ... The Bucs' 27 points are the second-most in the team's last 25 preseason games. They scored 30 against the Patriots in 2012. ... Guard Rishaw Johnson, acquired in a trade from the Chiefs on Thursday, didn't get to play on the offensive line but got in on the field-goal unit. "It's a blessing to come here and get a fresh start," he said. "I'm going to try to just be me: be physical, try to help get the run game going, help in pass pro, do what they need me to do."