TAMPA — Here's my Two Cents from the Bucs' soggy 33-30 loss to the Lions Friday:
Dome, sweet dome
For all the griping people do about domed stadiums, especially the Trop, the Bucs sure could have used one Friday. Heavy rain and nasty lightning pushed the kickoff back nearly an hour, to 8:59 p.m. Meantime, the Rays went on as scheduled at the Trop. Which begs the question: How come only the Rays get a dome around here?
Seriously, why don't the Bucs have one? Well, I know why: money. I suppose we're lucky to even have Raymond James Stadium, which is very nice. But when you consider how uncomfortably hot it is in Florida in September and even October, as well as the near-daily thunderstorms we continue to get after football season starts, you wish the Bucs did have a dome.
Plenty of other NFL cities have stadiums with a roof, either permanent or retractable, including Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Houston, Arizona and Minneapolis. Tampa Bay should have one.
Maybe someday. Then again, I supposed we should worry about getting a Rays stadium built before we start looking ahead to a new Bucs stadium.
It has become clear that Peyton Barber is going to be the Bucs' starting running back when the season opens. That's a mild surprise. After the Bucs drafted Ronald Jones in the second round in April, I would have bet that Jones would be the Week 1 starter.
But barring something unforeseen, it's going to end up being Barber for a couple of reasons. One: Jones has gotten off to a bit of a slow start as he adjusts to life in the NFL. Another: Give Barber credit. The veteran has shown he never had any intention of giving up his starting job. He showed off again Friday night with a nifty 14-yard touchdown run to cap an eight-play, 66-yard scoring drive in the first quarter. Barber accounted for 34 of those yards on five carries.
Now, to be fair, Jones looked solid Friday night, especially on a 37-yard reception on the Bucs' second drive. And to also be fair, Jones deserves more than three preseason games before we determine what kind of player he will end up and what his contributions will be.
Perhaps Jones will be the starter eventually, but right now it's Barber.
Best play ever
This isn't hyperbole. I saw the greatest play I've ever seen Friday night. Well, in a preseason game, that is. The Bucs' Adam Humphries returned a failed 62-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the first half for an incredible 109-yard touchdown.
A kick-six, bringing back memories of the famous kick-six that Auburn used to beat Alabama in the 2013 Iron Bowl. Oh, by the way, Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (Alabama) and running back Peyton Barber (Auburn) were in that game.
Anyway, on the last play of the first half, Humphries collected Matt Prater's 62-yard field-goal attempt underneath the goal post and zigzagged 109 yards for arguably the most exciting single play the Bucs have ever pulled off. Yes, it was in the preseason, but because a kick-six is so rare, it's a play that will go down in Bucs lore.
Three things that popped into my head
- The preseason is too long. Four games is simply too many, and you’ll agree when you watch the Bucs’ really meaningless preseason finale Thursday. Two games is more than enough to get players ready for the season, but no way the NFL is going give up the money it steals from fans for preseason games.
- If you’re a Bucs fan, not too many things are more distressing to see than wide receiver Mike Evans lying on the field in pain. That happened in the first quarter, though he got up and walked off on his own. That’s good for Tampa Bay. There isn’t a better pound-for-pound player on this team.
- I suppose they have to get in work, but man, if I were the Bucs, there’s no way defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul would have played. Those guys are too important to risk injury. Besides, they’re veterans. They know what to do. Should they really be out there on a wet night in a game that means nothing?
Contact Tom Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tomwjones