As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin their preseason against the Dolphins, take a look at the key units for Thursday’s contest.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to start the 2018 campaign Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins. While we won’t be seeing the new look Bucs in full, we will still get glimpses of what’s to come in Week 1.
Even though this game won’t count towards the Bucs record, it will count when it comes down to position battles and players who are trying to make the team.
The Bucs have a few players and battles to watch for as they head to Miami.
At running back, Peyton Barber will finally get his chance to be the number one option on the ground. He may not see the field much as Tampa will try to avoid injury.
Behind Barber is where questions start to kick in. Veteran Jacquizz Rodgers sits in the number two spot on the Bucs depth chart and second-round pick Ronald Jones comes in at three. Jones is the name everyone will be looking for in the backfield.
Jones showed big-play potential at USC and Bucs fans know how desperate this offense is for a home-run hitter like Jones. He should get a good look during the preseason as the Bucs will try to get him familiar with the system.
Charles Sims, on the other hand, is vying to just make the team. After occasionally flashing potential as a receiving back, he has been consistent enough to earn meaningful snaps. Undrafted rookie Shaun Wilson will be in tight competition with Sims as they fight for one last spot at running back.
The Offensive line should also be under the microscope. Injuries have piled up in the trenches as right tackle Demar Dotson isn’t expected to play as he continues recovery from knee surgery.
Tackles Leonard Wester and Cole Gardner have also been banged up. If one, or neither of them can go, Cole Boozer and Brad Seaton will be the Tampa Bay bookends for the second and third teams.
Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart, and Jordan Whitehead Oh my! well it might not be as scary as “Lions, Tigers and Bears” just yet, but it might have a ring to it.
Bucs fans are well aware of the struggles the secondary went through last season. Hopefully, the aforementioned trio of rookies can bring forth a new era of success along the back end of the defense.
Both Davis and Stewart are going to have the chance to play their ways into the starting lineup. Brent Grimes is locked in at the starting cornerback position but there is an opening at the other outside corner position. As Vernon Hargreaves moves into the nickel back role, Davis or Stewart can lock down a starting job this preseason.
On the bright side, Whitehead should get plenty of reps throughout the preseason. The Tampa Bay coaching staff will get a great look at Whitehead throughout August.