Football is back, ladies and gents! Pigskins are flying, hits will be delivered and your Tampa Bay Buccaneers are taking the field against their cross-state rivals, the Miami Dolphins. Here are a few things to watch out for in tonight’s pre-season opener.
The Bucs are banged up even before they play their first game. One of my favorite sayings in football is “You can’t make the club in the tub.” Will young guys like RB Shaun Wilson overcome injuries to be able to play tonight? Who will be available to play on the offensive line against the Dolphins Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn?
Will Jameis start, play with the 2’s and should the Bucs risk him to get him some extra reps in the pre-season since he’ll be out for the first three weeks? How much can they risk Fitz?
It will be fascinating to see how Bucs coach Dirk Koetter will handle the substitutions tonight.
Are the Bucs Finally Defensive?
Can your Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally field a defense that won’t make their fans physically ill? We get our first glimpse of JPP, Curry, Beau Allen, Unrein and the young corners. How much better is this defense?
Red Zone Woes
Last pre-season, the Bucs struggled to score in the red zone. We all said, “Hey, it’s only pre-season.” Well, it carried over into the regular season and it killed the Bucs in games. Can Tampa Bay get points in the money zones? They have to if they hope to challenge in the NFC South this year.
It hasn’t been good in camp, either, but is that a product of the Bucs’ defense improving or, like Todd Monken said of last year’s performance, the Bucs electing to continue to suck.
Ronald Jones II is a crucial piece to the Bucs reclamation puzzle. Can he be a difference maker at running back? Can he catch and block? Can he be a three-down back?
Chandler Catanzaro, please make all your kicks tonight. Please. For the love of God, please.