The final preseason game is approaching, and many of the22 starters that will line up in the season opener against Dallas have yet to take a snap and see game action.
This preseason game becomes more crucial for the starters to play as they need to start to develop some chemistry especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Tom Brady needs to play with his receivers in a game situation. Although Brady came to Tampa in 2020 with no OTA”s and no preseason games and the Bucs won the Super Bowl. Not playing in an actual game before the season starts is not ideal. But when Tom Brady is your quarterback this may not be as important as it would be for some other teams.
However it is very important for the offensive line. The Buccaneers will have four new starters along the offensive line, Donavan Smith is the only returning starter.
The starting wide receivers have yet to play in a game. Mike Evans has nursed a sore hamstring all camp, while Chris Godwin has been recovering from his offseason surgery.
Russell Gage who was signed in the off-season has been hampered by nagging injuries during camp and has yet to suit up.
That means that Mike Evans and Julio Jones could see their first action of the preseason.
Todd Bowles said on Thursday that everyone who is healthy will play.
That means Tom Brady will see his first action preseason. How Much Brady will play, we don’t know. If the offense looks sharp, it may be a couple of series and the night will be over for Brady.
If the offense struggles, Brady and the offense may play the majority of the first half.
Chris Godwin will not play as he sat out practice on Thursday. Running Back Gio Bernard who was injured in the first preseason game did not practice on Thursday as well. More and more questions are now being raised about Bernards overall health, and the Bucs may be thinking about going with just three running backs instead of four.
I would not expect Tristan Wirfs to play against the Colts as he is nursing an oblique injury.
Defensively, defensive backs Zyon McCollum, Logan Ryan, and Keanu Reaves did not practice Thursday and are not expected to play.
Bowles said they are still some positions up-for grabs and will be looking hard at those positions on Saturday. “Left guard. There’s a ton of guys at the receiver spot. The corner spot has yet to be determined, starting and backing up, and backup inside backers and a few more special teams players. So we’re looking at a lot of that this weekend.”
The Bucs continue to tweak the roster before cutdown day on Tuesday. The team signed linebacker Genard Avery for some depth after losing Cam Gill to the season. Avery started 12 games with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. Avery had a season high 43.5 tackles last season. He has 7.5 sacks in his career.
Bowles likes the value that Avery brings to the team. “He’s a good pass rusher and he’s a good special teams player. So we thought it was value to have him, and rather than look for somebody like that in the middle of the season in case someone gets hurt, we thought there would be value in adding him right now.”
To make room for Avery, the Bucs waived wide receiver Cyril Grayson. Grayson was the hero in the Bucs 28-24 win against the New York jets.
With Grayson out that leaves Scotty Miller, Breshad Perriman, along with rookies Kaylon Geiger, Devin Thompkins, and Jerreth Stearns competing for the final one or two receiver spots.
The Bucs are 0-2 and will be just looking to get through the game with no more injuries as the countdown to the regular season continues.