Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Koetter still sees Bucs hurting themselves too much

TAMPA — Given a day to dry off and watch tape of the Bucs' 20-13 loss to the Redskins in Wednesday's soggy preseason finale, coach Dirk Koetter on Thursday still saw too many self-inflicted wounds in Tampa Bay's struggles in a steady rain.

"The one thing that showed up is offensively, again, we just didn't do a good job taking care of the football," said Koetter, whose team had more fumbles — five, all recovered — than it did first downs (two) in the first half.

"I had us with nine dropped passes, and the ball was just on the ground too much. And then, in the run game, it was like every play, we had one guy who totally whiffed. We had some plays that were well blocked and one guy totally whiffed. Then on the defensive side, just how many times we had somebody in the wrong gap and we just missed too many tackles."

Washington finished with 245 rushing yards, not the kind of performance Bucs backups wanted on tape four days before teams make final roster cuts from 75 players to 53. Koetter said that despite the Bucs playing their finale a day earlier than the rest of the league — moved up because of Hurricane Hermine — they'll wait until Saturday's afternoon deadline to announce their cuts.

Asked to identify players on the bubble who helped themselves Wednesday, Koetter declined. "I could, but again, I'm not going to at this time, just because that's all coming in the next (48) hours," he said. "We're just going to follow the protocol of announcing our roster moves (Saturday). You'll figure it out when you see it."

Koetter said that 2016 sixth-round pick Devante Bond, who missed a second straight game with a hamstring injury, has shown enough to secure a spot among the backup linebackers.

SURPRISE: While the Bucs won't announce final cuts until Saturday, Channing Ward, an undrafted rookie defensive lineman from Ole Miss, announced on social media Thursday night that he had made the team. He posted on Instagram: "Hard work (does) pay off. I made the team for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Words can't explain how happy I am right now."

SPARSE: If you were a big enough fan to brave the rain Wednesday, you probably looked around and wondered exactly how many fans were there? The answer, from the Tampa Sports Authority: 9,457, a much different number from the announced attendance of 42,996, based on total tickets distributed, not the turnstile count.

MOVES: The Bucs started Thursday needing to cut 22 players to get to 53, and they took their first steps by releasing veteran DT Cliff Matthews and S Kimario McFadden. The Bucs had waived McFadden on Sunday, then brought him back for Wednesday's game to help their depth.

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