JACKSONVILLE — RB Bobby Rainey, making his case for playing time in a crowded backfield, showed up all over the field in Tampa Bay's 16-10 preseason-opening loss to the Jaguars on Friday night.
Rainey, who replaced starter Doug Martin after two series, ran the ball well, rushing for a team-high 25 yards on six carries, all in the first half. He kept busy on special teams in a number of roles. He alternated on punt returns with Eric Page, downed a punt at the 2-yard line on the coverage team and served as the "personal protector" up-back on the punt team.
"I thought I played all right for the most part, made a couple good runs, but my main focus was really on special teams," Rainey said. "I wanted to make an impact on special teams. I wanted to make a tackle on the punt team, but I didn't get to do that."
Martin had 6 yards on three carries, and rookie Charles Sims gained 13 yards on six carries and caught three passes for 32 yards. Rainey enters his second season with the Bucs battling for a roster spot with second-year back Mike James and speedy Jeff Demps, who got the first shot on kickoff returns Friday. James fielded a kickoff in the third quarter but made it out to only the 15-yard line.
DEPLETED: The Bucs played without three potential starters in the defensive secondary. Cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins were held out with hamstring injuries, and safety Dashon Goldson was out as he recovers from foot surgery.
The Bucs allowed only 85 passing yards in the first half, however, with Johnthan Banks and Danny Gorrer starting at corner and Mark Barron and Major Wright starting at safety.
The only others held out with injuries were backup DLs Scott Solomon and Jibreel Black.
IN AND OUT: DE Da'Quan Bowers had tackles on back-to-back plays, one for a loss and the next for no gain. He also got a hand on a pass for a third-down stop and continues to get looks at defensive tackle on passing downs. … On one second-quarter play, with the Jaguars facing third and 12, the Bucs lined up with four ends on their defensive line: Steven Means and rookie Chaz Sutton outside, and Bowers and second-year pro Will Gholston inside as tackles. The play resulted in an incomplete pass. The Jaguars went 0-for-7 on third downs in the first half.
THIS AND THAT: Rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn't have a catch in the first half, and he hurt the Bucs with two holding penalties on the opening drive of the second half. He added a 23-yard catch to convert a third down. … It was a good game for the punt coverage team, with two Michael Koenen punts downed inside the Jaguars' 5-yard line and another inside the 20. … Rookie WR Mike Evans made a quiet debut, with no catches and only two passes thrown his way, one a high throw from Josh McCown returned 68 yards by Jaguars S Winston Guy for a touchdown. … EverBank Field debuted video boards in each end zone, a whopping 362 feet wide. The stadium also has a pair of small swimming pools from the upper level of one end zone.
Contact Greg Auman at (813) 226-3346 and [email protected] Follow @gregauman.