If the battle for the starting running back job wasn't already the most intriguing of training camp, it certainly became that during Friday's preseason opener at Miami, when LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin impressed.
Blount was quick and decisive (the latter not a word many would use to describe him in past years) on the way to 30 yards on seven carries. Martin, a rookie, added another 21 yards on seven carries. Each scored a touchdown in Tampa Bay's 20-7 win over the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.
With those performances, it could be a while before the depth chart at the position is decided, wrote Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. And Blount didn't shy away from generating a bit of preseason hype, saying the Bucs could have “the best backfield in the league” in this blog from the Tampa Bay Times.
- Underwood could help stretch the field: Among other positive signs for the team's offense, the breakout star of the game was receiver Tiquan Underwood, who did exactly what he used to do for Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano when the two were teamed up in college at Rutgers. Underwood finished with three catches for 76 yards, including a long of 44 yards, all of which he had by halftime. He could be a deep threat to compliment and open things up for top-tier receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.
- Positive early returns for rookie LB David: On the other side of the field, rookie linebacker Lavonte David was the one turning heads. David showed solid coverage skills and a quick reaction time, getting to a ball tipped by defensive lineman Frank Okam for an interception. David showed why Schiano immediately placed him at the top of the depth chart at weakside linebacker, according to Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times.
- A dream debut for Schiano: It's safe to say Bucs fans should have little to complain about after the first game of the Schiano era. First impressions matter, and Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times said Schiano couldn't have had a better opening contest. According to Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune, if the Buccaneers have success this season, they will do it the Schiano way -- with a strong sense of discipline leading the way on the field.
- Offensive line starts strong: Adding to the positive vibes one might expect after a dominant preseason win, the Bucs were seen as especially strong at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The offensive line was particularly dominant, as most run calls were simple rushes between the tackles. None of the team's quarterbacks was sacked. Of all the team's offseason acquisitions, offensive guard Carl Nicks may have been one of the most important, according to this notebook from the team's official web site.
For more from Tampa Bay Bucs blogger Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsNFLTB.