Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who’s Battling For a Roster Spot?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Tennessee Titans in a preseason showdown Saturday night at Nissan Stadium. When you hear Bucs versus Titans, typically Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota come to mind. The two quarterbacks are entering the fourth year of their young career, after being drafted one and two in the 2015 draft. The two quarterback’s careers will forever be marked by comparison.
However, as Mariota looks to sharpen up the nuances with his starters in a new offense, Winston will lead the Bucs second string offense. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will begin the game, and season, as the Buccaneers starting quarterback due to Winston’s suspension.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Receivers versus Titans defensive backs
While quarterbacks always highlight matchups, there are other intriguing matchups to keep an eye on when these two teams collide. The battle between wide receivers, Mike Evans, Desean Jackson and Chris Godwin versus cornerbacks, Malcolm Butler and Adore’ Jackson. During the first day of their joint practices, the Bucs receivers had their way against the Titans defensive backs. On day two, Butler and Jackson held their own. With game day around the corner, who finishes the week strong?
Bucs Front Seven versus Derrick Henry
One of the top goals for the Bucs heading into the 2018 season, is to get tougher against the run. Their reconstructed defensive line will definitely get tested from Titan’s bruising rushing attack. The Titans’ offense thrives on production from the run game which allows them to use play-action. While its only preseason, It will be a big step in the right direction for the Bucs’ defense if they can stop the run.
Former USC star Ronald Jones looks to have a good showing after what Dirk Koetter described as an “average” game, last week. Jones is the big play runningback that the Bucs were in desperate need of. He’s showing improvements every day, but probably will not unseat Peyton Barber as the primary ball carrier by the start of season. However, he will play and earn more opportunities with a strong showing versus the Titans.
The other running back that’s intriguing to watch for, is the rookie undrafted free agent, Shaun Wilson. He missed the Bucs’ preseason opener with a minor injury, but he should be good to go for tomorrow. Wilson may even get some time at kick returner. Head Coach Dirk Koetter has lauded his play in camp. He’s in play to earn a spot on the roster that can eventually unseat veterans Charles Sims or Jacquizz Rodgers.
Who has Camp Momentum in Battles for a Roster Spot?
There is a lot noise coming out Bucs camp regarding the play of their rookie defensive backs. Rookie cornerbacks, Carlton Davis and M.J Stewart have a big opportunity to show play with the first team defense due to a injury to Vernon Hargreaves. Look for Carlton Davis to get plenty of work at outside cornerback, and Stewart to play both outside and in the slot.
After a strong showing in the first preseason game, rookie safety Jordan Whitehead is also eyeing increased playing time. The 5’11 198 pound rookie laid every ounce of his body on the line to deliver punishing tackles. Watch out for Whitehead as he catapults up the ranks at safety, maybe even taking plays away from Chris Conte.
Rod Thurman is a Contributor for full press coverage covering his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow him on Twitter @BucBoy for everything Bucs and anything football.