Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5 things to watch in Bucs-Dolphins game

More offense

Left tackle Donald Penn believes the offense has had a great training camp. It has looked good in practice, making some big plays, and is primed to be a force.

But in the first two preseason games, the first-team offense was missing in action. Quarterback Josh Freeman played just four series, going 6-for-10 and getting sacked four times. Receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson have one touchdown between them. Their snaps have been limited but so have their first downs.

That's why Penn is so excited for tonight's game against the Dolphins. The starters are expected to get their most extensive action to date in a dress rehearsal of sorts for the regular season.

"We've been doing good, but practice doesn't count," Penn said. "We've got to do it in games, and that's why it's very important and I'm excited about (tonight). We'll get our opportunity to go out there and really, really show you guys what we've been working on."

Just for kicks

The team signed veteran kicker Rian Lindell this week partly to take some of the load off rookie Derek Dimke, who has been the primary kicker with veteran Lawrence Tynes (toe) sidelined by a serious staph infection. Lindell, 36, is likely to make his Bucs debut tonight. "We've seen Derek kick quite a bit, and we've seen (Lindell) over the years kick quite a bit," coach Greg Schiano said. "I'd like to see (Lindell) in a Bucs uniform do it." Lindell believes he still has a lot left in the tank and is excited for the chance. "At this point in my career, I just want to hit a good ball," he said. "And I'm fortunate the Buccaneers gave me an opportunity."

Changing of the guard

Left guard Carl Nicks (left foot) also is out indefinitely because of a staph infection. Right guard Davin Joseph, recovering from a torn patellar tendon that kept him out last season, will likely be limited, if he plays at all tonight. So it will be interesting to watch who plays guard in a potential audition in case either isn't ready for Week 1.

Jeremy Zuttah is versatile, but it appears the team would like to keep him at center. Ted Larsen is an option, as is Mike Remmers, who started at guard in New England. Tackle Gabe Carimi has gotten reps at guard in practice, so keep an eye on him, as well as Cody Wallace and Jamon Meredith.

"We have a lot of guys that can step up," left tackle Donald Penn said. "I think we have some of the best depth in the NFL on the offensive line."

Keeping stock

With Luke Stocker limited early in camp due to a calf injury, it has hurt his ability to take charge in what has been his best opportunity to become the starting tight end. Coach Greg Schiano said that with Stocker not getting to show enough, the team might have to go to a committee approach. Stocker said he is healthy now but needs to "get the rust off" with plays in pads, especially for blocking, making tonight a "really big game for me. … Obviously I haven't gotten a lot of reps in training camp. … So this is going to be my evaluation. I'm approaching it like it's a real game, like it counts."

In passing

The Bucs had one sack in their first two preseason games, and coach Greg Schiano would like to see more out of their pass rush against the Dolphins. "I think we've gotten better as camp has gone on," he said. "These guys are getting a better understanding and feel, not only for what we're asking them to do but for each other. You call some things in the pass rush, and you also have a lot of things that happen naturally. And it's a sense of feeling the other defender."

BUCS AT DOLPHINS

5 things to watch in Bucs-Dolphins game 08/23/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 10:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations

    Bucs

    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.

    2008

    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Yankees, in a pretty big series

    Blogs

    The Rays open a challenging road trip tonight in New York, the first of four games against the wild-card leading Yankees.

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  4. Bucs' O.J. Howard says in NFL, 'it's an SEC game every day'

    Blogs

    Bucs rookie O.J. Howard hasn't played in an NFL game yet, but he already appreciates the grind of an NFL season -- every week can be a loss, perhaps more so than in college football, where Alabama went 12-0 in nonconference, non-bowl games in his three years there.

    Bucs rookie O.J. Howard, shown playing for Alabama in the national championship game in Tampa in January, says every game in the NFL is an SEC game, with no letdowns.
  5. Bucs' Mike Evans wants his 'A' game in 4th NFL season

    Blogs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has been in the NFL for three seasons, and in two of them, he's had 12 touchdown catches, setting and then matching his own team record. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, but if you ask him to grade those three years, he doesn't see an "A" product just yet.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown during an OTA workout last month, said he wouldn't give himself an "A" for any of his first three NFL seasons, despite going to the Pro Bowl and twice catching 12 touchdown passes in a season.