The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played one week of preseason football. Whose stock is on the rise and who is fading fast?
Every week during the regular season I will be doing a column called Keys to Cannon Fire. The purpose of this column will be to point out a position that will be integral to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers emerging victorious from that weeks game. That would be pointless during the preseason right? Well, I’m going to use the preseason the same way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do, to prepare for the regular season. So, during the preseason, I will do Keys to Cannon Fire with a twist. The article will focus on which camp battles are heating up. With that being said, let’s jump right in.
Throughout their history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have faced almost every problem an NFL team could face. That being said, I think this season presents a new one….
The silver lining to this problem is that its a good one to have, something that has rarely happened to the Buccaneers. Without a doubt this team has the deepest receiving corp in team history. You could make a legitimate argument that they are the deepest in the NFL. Whats the problem? Well, quite simply, the problem is that all these guys can’t make the team. Some tough decisions loom for Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht.
What do we know after the first preseason game?
With one of four games down, we know the same thing we knew at the end of last season. The first four spots at receiver are secure. Barring some unforseen circumstance, none of these four are going anywhere. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers combination of Evans, Jackson, Humphries, and Godwin may very well be the best group of four in the NFL. I think there are big things to come from all of these guys. With improved production from the offensive line and running backs, the Bucs offense could the best yet.
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With roster spots secured by the top four, the remaining seven receivers are left vying for what is most likely one spot. This will be one of the most interesting battles to watch through the remainder of the preseason.
After last Thursdays matchup with the Dolphins it looks the competition for the last receiver spot is wide open. The possibility of six receivers being kept on the roster is intriguing, but so far, Koetter and Licht have only kept five receivers which makes this battle pretty intense. Thursdays game didn’t do anything to paint a clearer picture of who’s going to take the last spot. If anything, the game against the Dolphins made the decision harder. Everybody playing for a roster spot put forth a stellar effort.
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Bobo Wilson was the most impressive among the players fighting for a spot. His numbers were good in limited action and if it wasn’t for a slightly overthrown ball by Jameis Winston, they would have looked even better. If that pass was a few inches lower Bobo would have taken it in for a score. Wilson’s performance on special teams may also give him an edge. He only had one chance at a kickoff return, but he made the most of it with a nice 27 yard return. Justin Watson also flashed some promise. Watson has a very intriguing mix of speed and size. His development through the rest of the preseason will be interesting to watch. Sergio Bailey and Freddie Martino were both impressive as well, but I feel they were a step behind both Wilson and Watson.
And the spot goes to???
The edge goes to Bobo Wilson at this point. Bobo not only has some previous experience in the league which can’t hurt, but don’t discount the fact that he played with Jameis Winston at Florida State. He already has some chemistry established with Winston and I wouldn’t be surprised if Winston is in Dirk’s ear pushing for Bobo to make the team. Look for Justin Watson to start the team on the practice squad. Given time to develop I think he may turn out to be an exceptional NFL player. Unfortunately, that leaves Bailey, Martino and the rest of the gang to finish the preseason unemployed. Keep your eyes on this battle because its going to be a fun one to watch.
Ben Wilson was born and raised in the Tampa area and has been following the Buccaneers for as long as he can remember. He is currently a contributing writer for Full Press Coverage Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow @FPC_Buccaneers on twitter to see more of his work and similar work.