The first live contest for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is upon us, and though it may only be the preseason, it’s still football. With the preseason comes sloppy play, yet there is also a lot of other stuff away from the ball to focus on. When it comes to watching these games, you can’t just focus on the ball, instead, take a look at how the linemen are handling their men, or how the receivers are running in-and-out of their routes. The little stuff is what counts in these games, and for many of these players, this is their first opportunity to prove themselves to the coaching staff.
Tonight’s game marks the 25th time the two Florida based teams have met in the preseason, with Miami leading the series 15-9. So what should you be watching for in tonight’s game featuring the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
- Gerald McCoy: The first round pick of Tampa will be roaming up front, looking to wreck havoc in the Miami backfield. But his job isn’t just to get to the quarterback, he also has the responsibility of applying enough of a push up front to create gaps for the Tampa blitzers to burst through, and even give the defensive ends a chance to swing in from the sides on one-on-one situations. It may be boring just to watch a defensive tackle push his way through the line, but it will be an amazing site if he can continually create openings for the Tampa defense to exploit.
- The receivers: It seems that this has been the main topic as of late, but it is such a vital part to the Tampa team. We suspect that rookie Mike Williams will lock up the #1 spot, but after that is a mystery. Former Philadelphia Eagles’ draft pick Reggie Brown is the most likely candidate for the other starting spot, but if Arrelious Benn can show he has big play potential on the outside, rather then in the slot, there will be a tough choice as to who gets put on the outside along Williams. Then there’s Michael Clayton. The curious case of the former first round pick has been mind-boggling. He appears to be on his way out of Tampa, but if he can somehow put together a successful preseason, he may just be able to earn himself a spot on the final roster.
- Kareem Huggins: Since Clifton Smith will be held out of the game for medical reasons, the battle for the third string running back spot is in the hands of Huggins… for now. Since Cadillac Williams will be out of the game early, and seeing that Derrick Ward will most likely handle the brunt of the carries through the second quarter, and possibly into the third, Huggins will have a lot of touches in the second half all to himself. So far he’s been a star in training camp, but can he continue that success into a real game situation?
Out: DT Brian Price (hamstring), TE Kellen Winslow (knee), CB Aqib Talib (personal), CB Myron Lewis (hamstring), RB Clifton Smith (hamstring), De’von Hall (undisclosed injury).