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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs notes: Penn not worried about early preseason play

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Published:   |   Updated: August 20, 2013 at 11:31 PM

TAMPA — With Josh Freeman at quarterback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense has been on the field for 21 plays this preseason.On those plays, the Bucs gained 55 yards, made four first downs and produced three points. Freeman also was sacked four times in 14 drop-backs, including three times in six pass plays at New England on Friday, while completing six of 10 passes for 42 yards overall.
 
The first-team numbers are not terribly impressive and have become cause for concern among some, but LT Donald Penn isn’t one of them.

“No, I’m not worried,’’ Penn said. “We have a lot of talent, and we haven’t played up to our expectations yet, but it’s hard to do that when you’re only getting 10 plays or so.

“At the same time, we have to make the best of our opportunities, no matter how many plays we have. We haven’t done a good job of that, so this week is going to be a true test for us.’’

The Bucs travel to Miami on Saturday for their third preseason game, the one in which projected starters usually play the most, sometimes more than a half.

The projected starters on the Bucs’ offense are looking forward to the chance to play a little longer than a series or two, Penn said, and have a specific goal in mind.

“We have to start faster,’’ Penn said. “We haven’t done that the last two weeks. So we’re looking to come out faster, and if we don’t, at least we’ll have a chance to make up for it. Not having that chance is tough.”

Comeback kid

It’s been a pretty tough preseason for DE Da’Quan Bowers. He came to camp out of shape and physically unprepared for the full-time role the Bucs envisioned him playing, and his time with the first team has diminished as a result.Slowly but surely, though, Bowers appears to be making a comeback.During last week’s 25-21 loss to New England, Bowers played much better and did more of the things the Bucs expected from him, according to coach Greg Schiano. Suddenly, Bowers feels like a different player.

“There’s a huge difference between how I felt on July 25 and now,’’ Bowers said. “The coaches see it, my teammates see it and I see it. With the help of coach Schiano, I’ve come a long way.’’Whether Bowers has come far enough to be the Bucs’ every-down left end remains to be seen.

He is sharing snaps at that spot with Adrian Clayborn and Daniel Te’O-Nesheim, but Bowers believes he can still win a full-time job.

“The games have been key for me,’’ said Bowers, who played about 30 snaps in each preseason game to get into playing shape. “And now I have another chance this week against Miami to show a little more flash of what I’m capable of doing.’’

Just for kicks

The Bucs have been pretty happy with rookie PK Derek Dimke, who is 5-for-5 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points this preseason.

The Bucs, though, are all about competition. And with veteran Lawrence Tynes unable to provide any because of an ingrown toenail, the team plans to bring in someone to challenge Dimke.

Former Bills kicker Rian Lindell, former Cowboy David Buehler and former Dolphin Dan Carpenter are expected to work out for the Bucs in the coming days.The team is looking for someone to not only push Dimke, but also give him a break. With Tynes out, Dimke’s workload has grown to a point where it’s creating a problem for him.

“We’ve had one one kicker in camp for basically the entire camp, so (Dimke) has been doing all the kicking,’’ Schiano said. “So, now his leg is getting tired, as well.”

Extra points

The Bucs added a veteran pass rusher on Tuesday, signing five-year pro Trevor Scott. In 72 NFL games, including 18 starts, Scott has 16.5 career sacks. … RG Davin Joseph (knee) and CB Darrelle Revis (knee) were both full-go for a second straight day of practice Tuesday. … Schiano is not sure whether RB Jeff Demps will be joining the team. Demps, an Olympic sprinter who came to the Bucs in the trade that sent RB LeGarrette Blount to New England, finished the track season on Sunday at the IAAF World Championships.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RcummingsTBO

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