MIAMI – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) vs. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Nat’l TV: N/A
Local TV: BLACKOUT
Away TV: WKRN 2 (ABC)
Live Stream: NFL.com Preseason Live
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), 104.5FM (Tennessee)
Weather: 90°F, Scattered Clouds and Thunderstorms
Line: Bucs by 2
Key Matchup: Bucs defensive line vs. Chris Johnson
Last year Johnson shredded the Bucs D-line when the two teams met, and the first step to repairing their self-esteem will be to have a good outing against Johnson, even if it is just a preseason game. Johnson is expected to see a doubled workload tonight and it will be interesting to see how the Schiano defensive line fares in comparison to that of the Rah-Rah Raheem Morris one did.
Last Game: Buccaneers beat Dolphins 20-7, Titans lost to Seahawks 27-17
Last Meeting: November 27, 2011 – Buccaneers 17, Titans 23
Series History (Since 2001): Titans lead series 3-1
Key Bucs Storyline: Blount vs. Martin running back battle continues, Mark Barron set to make Bucs debut.
Opposing View: Chris Johnson is reportedly getting extra carries tonight and is looking to get back on track.
Last Minute Preview: After an overall impressive preseason debut against the Dolphins, the Bucs are looking to hit the mark again against the Titans. Last season when the Titans met the Bucs, it was an ugly affair all the way through, from the general execution by Tampa to the rainy weather.
It’s supposed to rain again tonight, which means for at least one series, we will see the exact two teams going at it again. Only this time around Greg Sciano is in charge and for the first time we will get to see his team play the same team that a Raheem Morris-led team squared off against.
So there’s that to look forward to tonight.
But there’s also the matter of roster spots to fill and fight for. The headline battle is at running back between LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin. Last time around they got the exact same amount of carries and basically performed on the same level, with Blount getting a few more yards.
This time around, Schiano may still continue to give both back the same amount of work to see well they do with the same reps. After all, that’s probably the best way to decide who’s better. Throw the same players out there behind the same line in the same system and see what they do with the exact same workload.
But there are other battles brewing, ones that will end with someone out of a job. Those are happening at wide receiver, safety, corner back and running back among other spots.
Last week Larry Asante and Cody Grimm turned in poor performances in the opener and are battling each other for the same string safety roster spot. In Schiano’s system, the safety positions are not interchangeable, so there’s a lot on the line here. At wide receiver, Sammie Stroughter and Ed Grant are battling it out and at running back Mossis Madu and Michael Smith are fighting for the third spot on the depth chart.
The final roster is far from completed, but as we enter the Bucs final three preseason games, there will be a lot of questions answered, and a few people out of work.