As The Tampa Bay Buccaneers get ready to take on the Detroit Lions on Friday night, the injury bug is starting bite the Buccaneers.
Earlier this week starting RT Donovan Smith had his ankle rolled on at practice and will miss 2-4 weeks of action.
This opens the door for Cole Gardner and Leonard Wester, to earn a roster spots especially if Smith is going to miss the first couple of games of the season. Smith said he is working hard to be ready for opening day.
OL Evan Smith has been hampered by nagging injuries and may miss some time. So, there is plenty of opportunity for these young OL to step and see what they can contribute.
Today the Bucs put RB Charles Sims on IR. Sims who suffered a knee injury on the opening kickoff of the game in Tennessee This injury puts more pressure on the the Bucs running game which has never really gotten going so far this pre-season.
Sims is the best at catching ball out of the backfield and that will be sorely missed. Peyton Barber is the one back on the roster that has the best pass catching ability now that Sims is out and I think Barber will step up to the challenge.
Ronald Jones is still learning how to run the ball at the NFL level, and is not a very formidable threat to catch the ball out of the backfield as he only caught 27 passes in his career at USC.
The Sims injury opens up a spot for Shaun Wilson or Dare Ogunbowale to grab a roster spot.
As training camp officially comes to an end, Vita Vea had a few practices before his leg injury and is not yet back at full strength. His practice time with the Bucs has been limited. Kendall Beckwith Is still rehabbing from his injury in an auto accident over the off-season and it is looking less and less like he will be ready for opening day.
The third pre-season game is upon us and this is the game where you want to see the starters play into the third quarter.
With Sims, Smith, Beckwith out, that is three starters that will not play at all.
Matt Patricia the former DC of the New England Patriots is the new HC of the Lions and his team will have a different look and a different mentality. Reports out of Detroit indicate that is a lot more attention being to the little details, and an overall emphasis on the defensive side of the ball.
Here are three things to watch in tonight’s third pre-season game against the Lions.
1. A better performance out of Ryan Fitzpatrick. 6/13 for 48 yards and a 48.6 passer rating is not going to cut it during the regular season. Fitzpatrick looked good against Miami and and not so good against the Titans.
I look for him to have a better effort against the lions, to manage the game better and to keep the offense in sync when he is on the field.
2. I want to see this revamped DL knock Matt Stanford around a bit. They have been good at collapsing the pocket and getting the opposing QB to move around, but the sacks have not been there. This line need to crank it up a notch to meet expectations.
3. I want to see the young kids step up and take a step to make this roster. Shaun Wilson, Dare Ogunbowale, Leonard Wester, Cole Gardner, this is your chance to nail down a roster spot with some of the injuries on this team.
It is yours for the taking. Who is going to step up and get he job done to earn a roster spot?