Preseason Week 3 offers good regular-season tuneup for Bucs
The release of the NFL's preseason schedules on Wednesday wasn't met by much fanfare, nor should it have been.
But there's something worth expounding on after a closer look at the Bucs' 4-game slate of exhibition games. You should note that their third preseason game -- the one considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season -- comes against the Patriots at Raymond James Stadium.
That means Tampa Bay's starters are likely to play at least a half and, perhaps, even three quarters against the defending AFC champions. That's never a bad thing when you're trying to assess the preparedness of your players for the regular season. This game potentially will give us a chance to see some interesting matchups, like the Bucs' young defensive line against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And how about Carl Nicks and the other interior offensive linemen against New England's stout nose tackle, Vince Wilfork?
It's likely this game will tell us a good bit about where the Bucs are at that point in time. And there's one other effect of the Bucs' preseason meeting with New England:
It means season-ticket holders who often don't have the motivation to use their preseason tickets might just have reason to show up.