With the Buccaneers’ second preseason game approaching, the game plan should heavily involve the rookies and free agent acquisitions. Taking a look ahead at the team’s second preseason game and what to look for.
The Buccaneers have been in Nashville since Wednesday with joint practices against the Tennessee Titans. The upcoming second preseason game will be another good test for quarterback Kyle Trask, as he is expected to play 75-80 percent of the snaps. Trask is coming off a good performance against Miami, completing 25/33 passes for 258 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Todd Bowles said that since they already know what Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin can do, they need to find out If Kyle Trask is the guy to replace Tom Brady when Brady has moved on. Speaking on Brady, the narrative on his absence keeps changing. Thursday, Bowles said that he now does not have a date for when Tom Brady will return. Bowles says right now it will be sometime after the Tennessee game when Brady returns. If Brady should decide not to come back, Bowles has said that Blaine Gabbert is the next man up.
Buccaneers Wideouts Are A Story To Watch In Game Two
The list is long for the Buccaneers regarding who will not suit up on Saturday night. Wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Russell Gage will get the night off. That means it’s another opportunity for last year’s best college receiver, Jerreth Stearns, to make his case for a roster spot. Tyler Johnson and Kaylon Geiger will also get another to showcase their talents.
I would begin to worry about making this team if I were Scotty Miller, Cyril Grayson, and Jaelon Darden. Miller and Grayson were not targeted much at all in the Miami game. When Trask needed to make a play, he was looking for Johnson, Stearns, and Geiger.
Darden’s most significant contribution will come in the return game. Although he did catch a touchdown pass last week, he was not used in the return game. Instead, the Bucs used Rachaad White, Devin Thompkins, and Kaylon Geiger.
Injuries Are Piling Up For Buccaneers Ahead Of Game Two
The Buccaneers lost a Pro Bowl player and another defensive player in their practices with the Titans this week. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs went down with an oblique injury, as Greg Auman of the Athletic first reported.
There is no indication of how long Wirfs will be out. However, if Wirfs is out long-term, that could be disastrous for the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers are already down center Ryan Jensen who suffered a leg injury early on in training camp and may miss the rest of the season. The team is also dealing with the retirement of right guard Ali Marpet and the loss of left guard Alex Cappa who signed with Cincinnati in the off-season. As a result, Tampa Bay could be looking at four new starters along the offensive line.
The defense will also be without safety Keanu Neal who suffered an undisclosed injury on Wednesday and will miss the rest of the preseason. Bowles also announced that rookie offensive guard Luke Goedeke has moved to the first unit and will see extended playing time in the second preseason game.
Another Buccaneer I will be watching on Saturday will be rookie defensive linemen Logan Hall. Todd Bowles said Hall is coming along nicely and is making a real impact in the pass rush. “He does a good job. He’s still learning the run a little bit and some of the things we like to do technique-wise, but his pass-rushing is outstanding, and we really like that in him. But we’re bringing him along slow.” Hall will be part of a rotation on the defensive line behind starters Akeim Hicks, Vita Vea, and William Gholston.
With so many of the starters sitting out on Saturday, this will be another game where the Bucs rookies and free agents will get another chance under the lights to show that they deserve a roster spot.