TAMPA — You could argue that they’ve earned it, you could also chalk it up to being the last game before it gets real. Whatever the reason, the Buccaneers will not play their defensive starters in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Washington Redskins.
Perhaps the main reason the Defensive starters will take a seat is because their jobs are safe. This final game is for the guys still trying to prove they have what it takes to be on the Bucs opening day roster.
“You’ve got to be respectful for the guys playing in the game,” said center Jeff Faine. “There’s a lot at stake for those guys. This is their last audition before the last cut and for us. We’re starting to prepare for Detroit and get ready for the regular season and making sure our condition is in shape and taking steps forward to get us ready.”
Raheem Morris hasn’t said whether or not he plans to use the same strategy on offense, but being that it’s the final preseason game don’t be surprised if it happens. LaGarrette Blount is in extreme favor of playing as a starter no matter what; not to be selfish, but rather to do what he’s paid to do.
“I definitely want to play, I always want to play – just the fact I love the game. But I understand that they want to rest a lot of players and I understand they want to look at a lot of players and get a lot of players that haven’t played this preseason a chance to showcase what they can do before they decide who they’re going to keep and who they’re not going to keep. I understand what’s going on, so I’m not going to be upset about it.”
One of the storylines going into Thursday nights capper is Ahmed Black, the safety out of Florida who is trying to make the team. After suffering a high ankle sprain in the opener and having tough competion bewtween Cory Lynch and Larry Asante, Black was sweating the roster cuts Tampa had to make earlier this week.
Much to his relief and to the relief of his fans he made the cut. But the fight isn’t over yet. More cuts will be made before week one, and many hard decisions are in store for Raheem Morris and company.
“I hope he can be out there,” said Morris of Black. “I know he’s going to try to give it a go this week. It’ll be hard for him to get out there and do some things, especially with the way (Larry) Asante is playing, Corey Lynch is playing. Those guys played their butts off this preseason, not to mention our starters. It’ll be tough. You’d like to see him out there.”