Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

And its members were disappointed.

"We want them to have negative-90 (yards), negative-80. We don't care," DT Gerald McCoy said. "We want to keep it going. This is just one showing. We have to be consistent."

The Jaguars, with top rookie RB Leonard Fournette sidelined by injury, didn't have a run longer than 3 yards in the first half, but the Bucs said they need success against the run as the starting point for their defense.

"We've got to get better on stopping the run," said DT Clinton McDonald, who had one of the Bucs' seven tackles for loss. "Our job is never done. We still have to work on things to improve and be a better defense. It's all about consistency in the NFL. You can't just come out and do it one night and expect to be a great team. We still have a long ways to go. We know where our mark is set now with what we did (Thursday). We have to do that every play."

RELATED: Tom Jones: What the Bucs need in their final preseason games, more or less.

One that got away

WR Mike Evans had an efficient half, with six balls thrown his way and five catches for 57 yards. But the one that got away is what will continue to motivate him.

Up 9-0 in the second quarter, the Bucs had a first down at the Jacksonville 43-yard line when QB Jameis Winston (left) threw a long pass down the left sideline, only to have the ball go through Evans' hands incomplete.

"I had a drop in the end zone. Things I can work on," Evans said after the game. "These preseason games are good practice for us, to get ready for the real thing. I think we did well."

Evans said he can't make excuses for his single miss. The ball was well thrown, and he just couldn't bring it in.

RELATED: Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day.

"I tracked it pretty bad," he said. "It got caught in the lights, but the lights don't get the drop. I do. I can make that. Hopefully we'll be playing a lot of prime-time games (under the lights), so I've got to get ready for that."

Waiting for 'Dot'

RT Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, was scheduled to have an MRI exam on his injured groin today, three weeks before the season opener.

How would the Bucs replace Dotson if he had an extended absence? Second-year pro Caleb Benenoch, potentially the top backup at both tackle spots, filled in Thursday when Dotson was hurt after 11 plays. Koetter said Benenoch's run blocking looked better than his pass protection. Benenoch was flagged for one of four holding penalties against the offense. "But we're really happy with how he's progressing in the run game," Koetter said.

CANNON FODDER PODCAST: The Bucs are in a different place than the Jaguars right now.

If Dotson has a long-term injury, another option would be to shift starting LG Kevin Pamphile, who played tackle at the start of his time with the Bucs, to right tackle, with veteran Evan Smith stepping up at left guard.

"Both those things would be under consideration," Koetter said.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

 
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