After a dramatic week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be wrapping up their road trip to New Jersey with a preseason game against the New York Jets on Saturday night.
The game bookends a week that saw the Bucs lose a starter to a season-ending injury, scuffle with the Jets on a number of different occasions, seemingly take a big step forward, and get bailed on during practice on Thursday.
Thursday’s absence by the Jets was reportedly an excused one, but it’s funnier to imagine Aaron Rodgers and company refusing ot show up after getting cooked as badly as they did on Wednesday. The highlight of the week was rookie reciever Trey Palmer proclaiming that Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner had ‘no face, no name’ when asked about how he felt about going up against him at practice.
Palmer backed that up by torching Gardner, a matchup we’re all very much looking forward to seeing the sequel to on Saturday night.
The low point was the loss of Russell Gage to a season-ending injury. Gage was carted off the field on Wednesday with a ‘severe’ leg injury that has already wiped out his season. It’s a blow to the Bucs wide receiver depth, and a true bummer in that Gage appeared to be in for a huge season of high production.
Now the Bucs need to assess their options and figure out how to replace him. It’s yet another question the team would like to use Saturday’s preseason game to try and find an answer for.
Who is the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week?
While losing Gage was an unexpected plot twist, the biggest question the Bucs need to answer is one they’ve known about since February. The battle to replace Tom Brady as the starting quarterback is entering what could be a final stretch before a decision is made ahead of Week 1.
Mike Evans has stated that he hopes to get a decision soon, and Baker Mayfield has admited he’d like to get it over with as well. Mayfield struggled to start training camp but has since corrected course and appears to have taken a sizable lead in the competition.
The battle isn’t over yet, though, and Kyle Trask is going to get make a case for himself in a big way on Saturday.
Unlike the first preseason game, Trask will be get first crack as the starting quarterback. Mayfield will get some action as well, but he’ll come in later rather staring things off like he did against the Steelers. It was his performance last Friday that seemed to establish him as the leader, something Trask is hoping to emulate and make the decision Todd Bowles needs to make a hard one.
What channel is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on tonight? (August 19th)
Outside of the quarterback battle, the Bucs and Jets both have a lot to sort out on Saturday night. The Jets offensive line was battered to hell by the Bucs during practice, something that is causing a familiar bit of anxiety that Bucs fans know all too well from how things went last season.
Dalvin Cook was signed in the middle of the week and there’s anticipation that he’ll be present for the game, although it’s unlikley he’ll play. Cody Mauch took a step forward in practice this week and it will be interesting to see if he can build on an okay-ish debut and continue to build the lore of Tampa’s Toothless King.
Here’s everything you need to know to catch Saturday's preseason game between the Bucs and Jets:
- Date: Saturday, August 19th
- Time: 7:30 pm ET
- Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
- Opponent: New York Jets
- TV Channel: WFLA | NFL Network (select markets)
- Live Stream: NFL+ | ESPN+ | Hulu (Regional)
Last time the Buccaneers were at MetLife Stadium the world witnessed the infamous Antonio Brown incident. There won’t be those sorts of fireworks — hopefully — but there will be more than a few interesting things to keep an eye on. The Baker-Trask quarterback battle is the headline, but guys like Trey Palmer and Rakim Jarrett could use the opportunity to further make the case for themselves.