Starters not starting (or playing)
Not every starter will stay on the bench to protect against injuries, but you can bet the biggest names will have the night off.
"A lot of thinking goes into it," coach Greg Schiano said. "There's definitely a concern with exposure. But then by the same token, we're going out there to play, so we'll handle that individually."
That doesn't mean the game is meaningless. Several position battles need to be settled, and quarterback Mike Glennon, in his first start, gets to show what he has absorbed.
"Very important," Glennon said of the game.
Added rookie Johnthan Banks, who is battling for a starting cornerback spot: "These preseason games, they count for me."
With left guard Carl Nicks out indefinitely because of a MRSA infection that began with a blister on his left foot, the offensive line is unsettled.
Gabe Carimi, normally a tackle, did a nice job last week against Miami and will get another long look against Washington. Schiano said center Jeremy Zuttah could be moved in a pinch.
Throw in Ted Larsen and Mike Remmers, and Schiano has a decision to make.
With three sacks in his first game last week, defensive end Trevor Scott has set quite a bar for himself.
At least with the position lacking clarity — Schiano on Tuesday would not commit to Adrian Clayborn and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim as starters — the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder put himself into the mix.
"At my position, I need to make plays every time I'm on the field," Scott said. "You don't have much leeway to mess up your job.
"I'd really like to stick around with this organization. I think they're going to go far."
Toe to toe
In one of the more interesting competitions, Derek Dimke and Rian Lindell have a last chance to win the kicking job.
It seems fairly even. Dimke is 3-for-3 on extra points and 5-for-5 on field goals. Lindell, signed last week after he was cut by the Bills, has a field goal and extra point for the Bucs without a miss.
That said, Dimke is 23 and has never played in a regular-season game. Lindell, 36, has made 81.3 percent of his field goals (283-for-348) in a 13-year career. It might be difficult to pass on that experience.
Josh Freeman is the opening game starter. But come on, you have to be curious about how Glennon, the third-round pick out of N.C. State whom Schiano said will play a lot tonight, handles the spotlight.
"He's thrown the ball well," Schiano said. "I think he's shown that he can make all the throws."
Encouraging, but even Glennon admitted his 48.1 completion percentage is not good enough.
"To get this last game in and see a lot of playing time and start the game off, all that is really important in the development in myself," he said.