The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wrap up the preseason at home versus their instate opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Although the starters for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers probably will not play to prepare for the regular season, there will be a few battles that are worth mentioning. Every player that takes the field Thursday will be given an opportunity to create film to earn potential roster spots. They can also increase their chances of landing on a practice squad.
The Bucs have to cut their roster down from 91 to 53 by Saturday, but General Manager Jason Licht and Head Coach Dirk Koetter already have about a 98 percent idea of what the roster will look like. The other two percent will most likely come from the competition at positions that lack depth. Here are the two most intriguing battles to watch in the Buccaneers final preseason battle.
It’s obvious Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers will make the 53, but the injury to Charles Sims provides a unique opportunity. It puts the competition between rookie underrated free agent Shaun Wilson and Dare Ogunbowale on the forefront. Wilson has been stellar in the return game on special teams and receiving out of the backfield. But if he shows signs of production as a runner between the tackles, then it’s his job to lose.
Ogunbowale has been solid in all areas as a running back and as a returner. A good showing on Thursday night can only make the decision a little tougher for the coaches to make. The good thing about this battle is that, whoever doesn’t make the 53 man roster, will have a great shot to make the practice squad.
Injuries will play a major part in deciding who gets picked for the two spots on the offensive line. The Buccaneers usually carry nine or 10 offensive linemen on the active roster, and at least eight are a lock as of now. Offensive tackles Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson are definitely locks. Interior linemen Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, and Evan Smith are locks. Then add versatile linemen like Caleb Benenoch, Alex Cappa, and Mike Leidtke.
The battle between the tackles Leonard Webster and Cole Boozer will be closely watched. Webster has the upper hand because of his familiarity with the offense. Both guys are coming off injuries and making their preseason debuts, and whoever proves to be healthy and the most effective on Thursday night will most likely make the 53-man roster.
Rod Thurman is a for full press coverage covering his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow him on twitter @BucBoy for everything bucs and anything football.