A meager ten days remain between now and the regular season opener between Tampa Bay and Tennessee, but there is one last bit of action before we get there. Tonight, the Bucs will take the field in Miami for this year’s last preseason game. While you can expect to see very few starters, there are still players to watch for and battles to watch.
What to Expect: Bucs at Dolphins Preview
Special teams needs to step up. We know there are issues within the special teams unit. More reliable players like Kwon Alexander or even Bobby Rainey as a returner could find their way onto the unit once a game is on the line, but this is how players can earn their moments. If any bubble player is looking to step up as a special teams playmaker in any shape or fashion, tonight is when you’ll see it.
Thar be a kickin’ battle in them waters. Going into training camp, no one expected to have a kicking battle. Two missed field goals, a missed extra point, and a knee injury later and Patrick Murray may not be our man. The battle in Miami will be between recently acquired Kyle Brindza and the nostalgic Connor Barth. Also, watch for Jake Schum, who now has now locked in as the punter, to get plenty of reps tonight.
Defense needs to make a statement, and it starts with defensive tackle. In a game where few starters ever see the light of day, the position that has been raved over for depth needs to make an immediate impact against Miami. Miami is unlikely to be playing their starting offensive line, and this is all the more reason that the defensive line needs to hit hard and fast. While there may not be as much depth, defensive end needs to perform tonight as well. Jobs are won and lost tonight, and I have a feeling the ends are more likely to do the latter.
Receivers need to catch the damn ball. With this final bastion, rookie receivers will need to make an impact. While Winston may see a brief drive, it’ll likely be a little bit of Glennon and a whole lot of Seth Lobato. Offensive line will need to look like they aren’t stuck together with over-chewed gum, and give Lobato a chance to throw. Rookies like Kaelin Clay, Kenny Bell, and even recently impressive receivers like Rannell Hall and Adam Humphries, have the opportunity to prove their worth against Miami.
As preseason games go, the fourth tends to be the furthest from what you’d call “real football.” That said, if you go in with the proper expectations, it’s a perfectly useful and enjoyable game. The score is not really an issue, and you’re unlikely to see too many names you recognize. Watch for anyone who is playing hard, and enjoy a game with little consequence. Take everything with a grain of salt, and rest up for the opener. Right now, it’s time for the youngsters to #SiegeTheDay.