The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will conduct their pre-season dress rehearsal against the Detroit Lions. Here’s what to watch for as they Bucs play in Raymond James Stadium for the first time this season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were victorious in back to back road games versus the Dolphins and the Titans.
Now its time for the Bucs to find out if they are progressing towards regular season form. The starters will most likely play the first half and early into the third to transition from training camp to regular season mode. They will game plan to take advantage of match-ups and its another opportunity to develop and become more cohesive.
Will the Bucs’ Defense be Ready to Level-Up
The Bucs success starts with how well they’ll perform in the trenches. Keep a close eye on how disruptive the defensive line is to determine if the Bucs’ defense is ready to excel. Gerald MCcoy, Jason Pierre Paul, and the other first team defensive linemen have been very good defending the run. If this stout run defense continue versus the Lions, it can provide more opportunities to rush the passer. The Lions have a few offensive linemen banged up and have had trouble protecting their quaterbacks in their two previous games. Expect the Buccaneers’ defensive line to wreak havoc.
Will The Young Guys Continue To Show Promise?
The strength of the Bucs offense is their wide receiver core. They have made big plays so far during the preseason. On the other hand, the cornerbacks are the strength of the Lion’s defense. Therefore, look for the Bucs to rely on the running backs and tight ends for big plays against the Lions aggressive man defense. The Lion’s linebackers have had issues containing the run. They’ve also stuggled covering running backs and tight ends. O.J. Howard and Ronald Jones will have opportunities to show some promise. Also, can rookie wide receiver Justin Watson continue his stellar play with second unit?
On the defensive side of the ball for the Bucs, look out for play of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and the rookie defensive backs. The Bucs secondary should have plenty of opportunities to make plays due to improved pass rushing defense. This will be a great opportunity for Hargreaves, Carlton Davis, and MJ Stewart to audition for the starting spot opposite of Brent Grimes. With the injury to starting free safety Justin Evans, expect rookie safety Jordan Whitehead to get an extended look to with he first team defense.
Todd Monken’s Effective Play Calling
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken is making the most of his opportunity to call the plays for the offense. The Bucs offense has marched up and down the field and capitalized on redzone opportunities . All three of the quarterbacks have performed well and led their offense’s to putting up fifty-six points in two games. Another great display of offensive production against the Lions’ defense can persuade Coach Koetter in trusting Monken with play calling in the regular season.
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.