TAMPA — Seeking redemption after a subpar effort at Jacksonville last week, the Buccaneers’ starting offensive line had its moments Saturday night.
One man in particular.
Facing one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers, Bucs RT Demar Dotson stood tall, all 6-foot-9 of him, against Dolphins DE Cameron Wake.
Dotson received little help in neutralizing Wake, a three-time Pro Bowler who has averaged 11.5 sacks in the past four seasons, adding eight forced fumbles.
With Dotson routinely muscling him to the outside, Wake seldom found himself within the vicinity of QBs Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.
Dotson, who played basketball at Southern Miss, also displayed his athleticism late in the opening quarter when he ran downfield to spearhead the blocking for FB Javorskie Lane, who rumbled 14 yards down the right sideline with a screen pass from McCown.
DE Olivier Vernon, coming off the right side, registered a second-quarter sack for the Dolphins, who also had a sack nullified by a defensive holding penalty later in the quarter.
Brent Grimes experienced dejection and elation within a six-minute span of the second quarter as Miami’s veteran cornerback was involved in two key plays.
Grimes was victimized by WR Vincent Jackson after a fumble recovery by Tampa Bay DE Michael Johnson at the Miami 25.
Four plays later, Jackson planted his right foot in the ground and cut inside Grimes on a slant for a 7-yard touchdown that gave the Bucs their first lead of the preseason at 7-3.
“Josh did a great job sitting in the pocket, holding on to the ball as long as he could and letting me work in the back of the end zone,’’ Jackson said. “He delivered a great ball.’’
On Tampa Bay’s next possession, it was Grimes who hustled across the field to knock the ball loose from Mike Evans at the Dolphins’ 1-yard line for a touchback after Tampa Bay’s first-round draft choice shrugged off a hit by S Jimmy Wilson en route to a 41-yard gain.
Dennis Hickey hardly needed directions to the press box at Raymond James Stadium.
The new general manager of the Dolphins spent 18 years in the Bucs organization, including the previous three seasons as director of player personnel.
“I had a lot of experience and I thought I was well trained for the job,’’ Hickey said. “But there are always surprises. I found myself a lot more involved in non-football issues that needed to be addressed, but it’s been great. Everyone in the organization has been great to work with.’’
CBs Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins were inactive for the Bucs, along with rookie RB Charles Sims, OT J.B. Shugarts and DL Da’Quan Bowers and Steven Means. ... The Bucs said Sims underwent successful surgery Saturday to repair a sheath around a tendon in his right ankle. The third-round pick out of West Virginia is expected to be sidelined three months. ... Rashaan Melvin started at corner opposite Johnthan Banks in Tampa Bay’s depleted secondary. ... Melvin (ankle) was one of several Bucs hurt during the game, along with DE William Gholston (shoulder), S Major Wright (back), RB Mike James (shoulder) and LB Brandon Magee (ankle). ... The Dolphins attempted only nine carries in 38 first-half snaps, gaining minus-5 yards. ... Jefferson High student-athlete Ernest Mills, who overcame severe burns suffered in a house fire when he was 2 years old, served as Tampa Bay’s honorary captain. ... Before the game, the Bucs honored retired Private First Class William H. Wilson, a Bay-area U.S. Army World War II veteran who was injured in battle as a paratrooper.