1. Josh Freeman is still the real deal.
While I know Coach Rah's heart must have been thumping out of his chest while he watched his star quarterback scrambling for a touchdown in a meaningless pre-season game, one thing we learned is Josh Freeman has picked up where he left off last season.
Josh shook off some early rust and started firing lasers to Dez Briscoe and others while taking advantage of Chiefs' miscues for points.
It would've been nice to see Josh hit that bomb to Mike Williams in the back of the endzone but that will come (not to mention Williams would have probably skied for that ball had it been a Regular Season game).
2. Backup Running Back is still a concern.
I wasn't all too impressed with the work of Kregg Lumpkin or Allen Bradford. Earnest Graham didn't get many opportunities, but the coaching staff knows what he can do. Armando Allen did show some burst and vision. We'll have to keep an eye on him.
3. The Bucs Starting O-line is Nasty (in a good way).
There were times when Josh Freeman could have ordered a pizza and have it delivered in the backfield against the Chiefs, who were 10th in the league at sacking the QB in 2010. The line also made some nice running lanes for LeGarrette Blount and Kregg Lumpkin to roll through and looked powerful in short yardage.
4. New D-line coach Keith Mallard is making an impact.
The Bucs defensive line was disruptive and caused havoc in the Kansas City backfield to the tune of six sacks (4.5 by the front four). Last season, the Bucs'defensive lineman were instructed by former d-line coach Todd Wash to maintain their gap. This year, it's to heck with the gap - go get the football and it certainly showed up against the Chiefs.
5. Adrian Clayborn was all over the football field.
Top draft pick Adrian Clayborn made his presence felt, giving the Chiefs all they could handle. While he didn't register any sacks, Clayborn was routinely seen in the backfield chasing down ball carriers and capping off plays. If Gerald McCoy can get penetration in the middle of the field, Clayborn could be in for a big season.
6. Da'Quan Bowers is slow off the snap.
I'm not sure if it's the knee bothering him, lack of reps because of the resting of the knee or just a rookie trying to adjust to the speed of the NFL but unlike his counterpart Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers looked to react late off the ball and rarely flashed. It's early and Bowers has missed some significant time nursing his injury.
7. Mason Foster wasn't on the field for the Chiefs' two big runs.
The Chiefs only glimmer of hope in last Friday night's contest were two big runs, one by Thomas Jones for 17 yards and the other by Tampa native Dexter McCluster for 8 yds. Foster was actually not in the game for either big run, as the Bucs selected to go with a nickel formation with Black and Geno Hayes manning the LB positions.
With Foster in the game, the Bucs were pretty stout against the run.
8. Ahmad Black is thinking too much and it's going to get him cut.
I was thoroughly excited when the Buccaneers nabbed Ahmad Black in this year's draft. I truly believed he was one of the big steals of the selection meeting. Unfortunately, my Gator loyalty may have blinded me, as Black has struggled. He was barely noticed during the Chiefs game, while fellow safety Larry Asante made a big impact (quite literally).
It appeared that Black is thinking too much, he's not trusting his football instincts and is terrfied to make a mistake. He hasn't shown any of those amazing ball hawk skills that he displayed routinely while he patrolled the secondary in Gainesville. Here's hoping Black can get it turned around.
9. I really like this Anthony Gaitor kid.
We've been hearing good things about Anthony Gaitor during the training camp practices and it certainly bared out in the pre-season opener. Gaitor was solid in coverage throughout and showed a bit of a Ronde Barber-type quality, flying in on a corner blitz to sack the QB.
10. Raheem isn't playing around.
One team looked ready for a practice. The other team treated the pre-season opener as a dress rehersal for the real thing. The result of last Friday night's pre-season game didn't really matter, it was more the manner in which it was dealt.
The Bucs physically dominated a pretty physical team in the Chiefs, completely controlling both lines of scrimmage. Tampa Bay also looked like a polished unit, knowing their formations, motions, blitzes and checks from the starting lineup down to the 90th guy.
After just two weeks of training camp, that's pretty darn impressive. It goes to show you Raheem is close to getting what he wants, a tough physical football team that believes in it's identity.