TAMPA, Fla. -- Jameis Winston's second preseason start went much better than his first. The Tampa Bay rookie quarterback can thank Doug Martin and an opportunistic defense for that. Martin carried four times for 52 yards, including a 30-yard gain, on an opening touchdown drive and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers forced three first-half turnovers. Here are some quick thoughts on the Bucs’ 25-11 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.
QB depth chart: Winston played the way the Bucs expect him to. He was accurate and efficient, completing 8 of 13 passes for 90 yards before exiting in the second quarter. Backup Mike Glennon threw a nice touchdown pass. But Winston’s hold on the starting job is firm.
Maybe that dude could start: Rookie Kwon Alexander is a fourth-round draft pick who was supposed to be a backup and special-teams player. But Alexander has impressed the coaching staff throughout camp and got the start. He showed he can drop into pass coverage.
Who got hurt: Wide receiver Mike Evans left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. There was no immediate word on how serious the injury is. Nickelback Leonard Johnson also left the game with a left ankle injury.
Surprise performer: Wide receiver Russell Shepard has been not much more than a special-teams player, but he made an impact as a receiver against the Bengals. He had a 22-yard catch from Winston and a 12-yard touchdown catch from Glennon. That should help solidify a roster spot for Shepard.
Rookie watch: In addition to Winston, the Bucs started three other rookies. Donovan Smith started at left tackle and Ali Marpet went at right guard. Alexander started at middle linebacker. All four rookies are expected to be in the starting lineup on opening day.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Bucs looked ...: Like coach Lovie Smith always says they’re supposed to look. They ran the ball well on offense, and the defense put pressure on Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton. If they can carry that formula over to the regular season, they’ll be all right.
One reason to freak out: We’re talking freak out in a good way for the Bucs. Martin, who has been a disappointment the past two seasons, got off to a great start. Martin, who has looked sharp in training camp, showed signs that the Bucs can have the kind of running game Smith talks about.
Aiming for double digits: Defensive end George Johnson has said his goal is to get 10 sacks this season. The preseason doesn’t count, but Johnson showed he can get to the quarterback. He sacked Andy Dalton in the first quarter. Johnson and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy combined for another sack in the first quarter. The Bucs also got first-quarter sack from Larry English.