Bucs and Browns ready to battle at Raymond James
If you listen to Bruce Arians he is almost certain that if he had to pick his 53 man roster he could do it today with his eyes closed.
Tonight one of the most hyped teams in recent memory, the Cleveland Browns will be in Tampa tonight and the Bucs are looking forward to going up against a quality opponent and see how they measure up.
It’s another opportunity for those 5-6 guys on the bubble to try to gain a roster spot.
This is the game that we normally see the starters get extended playing time. But this pre-season it seems every team has deviated from the so called normal and a lot of the starters will not even suit up during the pre-season.
The Browns boast one of the best wide receiver groups in the league led by by Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and is led by quarterback Baker Mayfield who seems to inadvertently stick his foot in his mouth with everything he makes a comment about.
This will be a good test for the Bucs young secondary as they will have the opportunity to go up against a potential future Hall of Famer wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.
The Browns also have a new head coach in Freddie Kitchens who has never been a head coach at the NFL level before, so this bears watching throughout the season as to how he will handle the ups and downs of a regular season.
The Browns defense is improved from a year ago adding Sheldon Richardson to the line to join Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon.
This Browns defensive line will provide a good test for the Bucs offensive line who have played ok this pre-season but really haven’t played nearly long enough together as a unit to develop the kind of chemistry that you will need on your offensive line during the regular season.
Jameis Winston has thrown just ten passes in the pre-season and played two series. One was very good, the other not so good.
Does Winston need more work to get ready for the regular season? Bruce Arians said earlier in the week, that the starters would play at least one series possibly more depending on how the offense looks.
This will be the last game that the starters will play in the pre-season as the majority of the starters will sit out the final pre-season game next week.
Wide receiver Mike Evans will miss the game tonight with a leg injury that occurred last Sunday during practice.
Linebackers Lavonte David and Davonte Bond will also be out tonight as will defensive tackle Vita Vea.
The kicking competition is real close with Matt Gay having the lead so far. Cairo Santos will get the first chance on any long field goals tonight.
There are four receivers battling for two roster spots. Justin Watson, Bobo Wilson, Spencer Schnell, and Scotty Miller.
Miller has been hampered by injuries all of training camp will see his first action of the pre-season tonight as he has just two games to really show the coaches what he can do. Look for Miller to possibly get a chance in the return game with Ronald Jones and Bobo Wilson.
Dare Ogunbowale and Bruce Anderson continue their competition for the fourth running back spot behind Barber, Jones and Andre Ellington. Ellington has not been that impressive in the pre-season, but will probably make the team as the third back due to Ellington and Arians working together when both where in Arizona.
With linebackers Lavonte David and Davonte Bond out with injuries, this is a great chance for Mazzi Wilkins from USF and Jack Cichy to separate themselves from the competition and take advantage of a lot of playing time tonight.
Arians said earlier this week that these last four to five roster spots will come down to who can stand out on special teams. It is no longer accepted that you just excel at your position. If your a second or third team guy you have to be able to help out on special teams.