5 Winners, Losers From Buccaneers Preseason Opener

Dare Ogunbowale

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began their 2019 preseason schedule and the Bruce Arians era Thursday at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It was a long, exciting, sloppy game with plenty to like and plenty more to groan about for Buccaneers fans. Here are my five winners and losers of the night.


Dare Ogunbowale

Both Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber turned in sharp, albeit short, outings, but it was Ogunbowale was who owned the night. The 25-year-old led Tampa Bay in rushing with a 10 carry, 34 yards, and two touchdown performance. Often praised for his receiving prowess this summer, it was his short-yardage game that stood out Thursday night. Paired with a lackluster outing from Andre Ellington, it’s hard not to feel like Ogunbowale has opened up a big lead in the battle for the third-down satellite role.

Tanner Hudson

Another name that has consistently made waves all summer. Hudson spent the better part of the game in Cameron Brate’s move tight end role and boy did he take advantage. He was hit not once but twice on Tamp Bay’s seemingly-signature tight end seam route for big first downs. He held onto a skinny post on fourth-and-11 late in the game despite a flag-inducing hit. Then, his masterpiece:


Hudson finished with seven catches for 84 yards and one touchdown on nine targets. My guess is he’s firmly locked into the fourth tight end spot as Brate’s backup.

Spencer Schnell

A new challenger has appeared for the final wide receiver spot. The 5-foot-8, 178-pound rookie out of Illinois State almost brought the Buccaneers back on his own. Spencer led the team in receiving on the night with seven receptions for 119 yards on nine targets all coming in the fourth quarter. Cannot wait to see him again next week.

Noah Spence

While he may not have appeared much in the box score, Spence played out of his mind tonight. He won multiple times flashing speed off the edge, drew two flags, and even broke out his trademark inside swim. He was the best defender on the field for Tampa Bay tonight. He looked as good as I can remember since his rookie season.

Davante Bond

I was concerned about Bond moving to insider linebacker, but he didn’t look remotely overwhelmed tonight. He was aware and quick to make his reads even shooting the A-gap at one point for a near-shoestring tackle for loss well behind the line. What was a decimated position a mere eight months ago now looks well solidified.


Andre Ellington

While the three aforementioned backs had encouraging performances Ellington looked slow and unremarkable. In fact, a couple times I could’ve sworn I saw Jacquez Rodgers—I may have Bucs’ PTSD. He totaled four carries for a mere nine yards and had a terrible whiff in protection that resulted in a fumble by Ryan Griffin. The 30-year-old veteran may be on the outside looking in.

Sean Murphy-Bunting

It was a rough night for the 2019 second-rounder from Central Michigan. He failed to make any plays on the ball and looked noticeably tentative on multiple plays in the open field. Arians and Todd Bowles are borderline obsessed with physicality. I have a feeling they will be less than thrilled with Murphy-Bunting‘s effort tonight.

Cole Boozer

For anyone wondering why Caleb Benenoch has been backing up Donovan Smith all summer, I’d like to introduce Cole Boozer. It was an ugly night in general for Buccaneer’s reserve linemen, but Boozer was particularly bad. He looked slow out of his stance and even dropped his head while lunging at his man. He looked completely overmatched.

Bobo Wilson

Wilson actually had a solid night receiving—three catches for 35 yards on five targets—but he put the ball in the ground on a kick return. Listed as the first-team kick and punt returner, Wilson really needed to show out there to have a chance at the final wide receiver roster spot. The prospect of which feel far less likely now especially with Schnell’s breakout performance.

The Accountability Board

Arians’ revered, and feared, accountability board is about to be drenched in red ink. There were pass-blocking breakdowns. There were missed tackles galore. And the penalties. SO. MANY. PENALTIES. It was a sloppy, sloppy game. I do not envy anyone in those meeting rooms tomorrow.

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