MIAMI – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0)
Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Nat’l TV: N/A
Local TV: WSTP 10
Away TV: WFOR 4 (CBS)
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), Sirius 113, 136 (Nat’l)
Weather: 86°F, Chance for Thunderstorms
Line: Miami by 3
Key Matchup: Bucs new offense vs. Dolphins defense
It’s not like they’re going up against much, but don’t expect Greg Schiano to sit his starters like some teams did in their first preseason game. The Dolphins defense, as bad as it may be, is the first time this offense will be facing a live opposing defense.
Last Game: Buccaneers lost to Falcons 45-24, Dolphins beat Jets 19-17
Last Meeting: November 15, 2009 – Buccaneers 23, Dolphins 25
Series History (Since 2001): Series is tied 1-1
Key Bucs Storyline: Doug Martin and his Buccaneers Debut
Opposing View: Chad Johnson makes his Dolphins debut alongside rookie QB Ryan Tannehill
Last Minute Preview: Obviously all eyes will be on the Bucs new toys. We’ve seen them in camp, we’ve seen them in controlled environments but this is the first live game against another team and that’s huge. This Bucs team is new and improved but we don’t know just how improved it really is.
Sure on paper it’s a better team, but last year they looked pretty good too.
Key players to watch tonight will be not just the new additions in Carl Nicks, Eric Wright and Vincent Jackson, but rather the draft picks and in particular Doug Martin. Everyone knew the Bucs were going defense with their first selection in the draft but the surprise came when thehy traded back into the first to take Martin.
Then the storm started. What does this mean for the offense, how does this effect the play calling and Josh Freeman’s pass game and more importantly, what does this mean for incumbent LeGarrette Blount?
That’s the real matchup to watch tonight. Yeah, it’s going to be nice to see how Freeman does with the new receiving corps, but the story that will steal the show is how well Doug Martin does in his Bucs debut.
We will also get to see how this offense will be run — which is really the overall theme of the night. Last year the offense was all over the place with end-arounds being run and just mass chaos pretty much on every drive. So far in camp and the offseason, Schiano and company have been hush-hush on how the offense will go.
The speculation is that it will be a run heavy offense since the Bucs have two great backs in Blount and Martin and Schiano’s past at Rutgers further suggests this (See: Ray Rice). But the Bucs didn’t throw all that money at Vincent Jackson for no reason. The hope is that with a balanced set of weapons, the offense will be more open as a result of defenses’s having to account for more than just one dimension.
All of this is still a mystery but we will finally get to see what this Bucs team is going to look like September 9th against the Panthers. It might be rough, but hey, it seriously can’t be any worse then last year.