Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC South [Print without images]

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Observation Deck: Patriots-Buccaneers

By Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- If LeGarrette Blount continues on Thursday night’s pace, he’ll need the NFL to expand to a 1,000-game schedule in order to have his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season.

I don’t mean to single out Blount, but the running back is as fitting a symbol as any of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their exhibition loss (31-14) against the New England Patriots. He ran for 1 yard on four carries. Heck, on Thursday night’s pace, quarterback Josh Freeman would need almost 100 games to reach 3,000 passing yards.

Freeman completed 5 of 10 passes for 33 yards. And we could go on and on.

Yes, they were playing the mighty New England Patriots and Tom Brady played just about the entire first half. But let’s not give all the credit to New England.

“We had a couple of mistakes out there as well,’’ Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris said at halftime when New England was leading 28-0.

There were missed assignments on both sides of the ball and 10 first-half penalties that cost the Bucs 85 yards. And all this comes less than a week after the Bucs looked like potential Super Bowl contenders in the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Take the Kansas City game for what it’s worth and do the same with the New England game. It all tells you the preseason really doesn’t mean much. It also tells you the Bucs have some more work to accomplish before the start of the regular season.

A few more observations on the Bucs.