Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 11 players fighting for a roster spot vs. Dolphins
By David Rumsey
Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Shepard (89) celebrates with teammates as he scores a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play their fourth and final preseason game of 2015 against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night. Lovie Smith has already said we won’t see much of the starters, including rookie QB Jameis Winston.
That means this game’s purpose is mainly toe valuate players fighting for a spot on the back end of the roster. We still aren’t sure who exactly will be starting opening day at several positions (Safety, Defensive End, Offensive Line, Kicker, Nickel CB), but the only one of those battles likely to be decided Thursday night is the kicking battle.
The Bucs and the rest of the NFL had to cut their roster down to 75 players on Tuesday and will have just two days after tomorrow night’s game to make the decision on who will be on the final 53-man roster, which will be announced Saturday.
The final preseason game may not seem like a thriller to watch as it is mostly reserves, but deciding who those backups are can be very important for a team down the road. You never know who is going to get injured, but in the NFL you can be assured that someone important will go down eventually.
A lot of players fighting for roster sports on Thursday night will have to show versatility in order to make the team. Not only will they need to be serviceable backups at their positions, but they will also need to be exceptional special teams players.
There are several positions at which the Bucs will have make tough decisions on who to keep and who to let go. Kicker is an obvious one right now and the Bucs will have to decide how many WRs and LBs they want to keep.
They also have four TEs, which I expect them to go down to three by Saturday. So who exactly are the players on the bubble on what do they have to do on Thursday to stay on the team?