TAMPA — Brian Griese was efficient in the Bucs' preseason opener, completing 10 of 14 passes and posting a 103.0 quarterback rating last week against Miami.
Sunday against the Patriots, he will have a chance to further make his case for being the primary backup when he starts in Jeff Garcia's absence.
The decision to start Griese over Luke McCown, who started against the Dolphins, isn't an indication of which way coach Jon Gruden is leaning.
But it will give Griese, entering his 11th season, a chance to be evaluated against the best the defending AFC champions have to offer; or at least for as long as their starting defense plays.
Gruden said recently he intended to shake up the quarterback rotation from week to week in the preseason in order to evaluate his lineup in various situations and against different levels of competition.
But during Garcia's two-week absence due to injury, Griese and McCown have gotten the heavier workloads in practice.
"The one thing we've been able to do is, both Luke McCown and Brian Griese have taken starters reps throughout the whole camp," Gruden said. "We chart the reps they take, and both those guys have taken starters reps, which, in some ways has really helped those guys. Hopefully, it'll pay dividends."
Lynch reunion: Ex-Bucs safety John Lynch, 36, whose one-year deal with the Patriots became official Friday, said he hopes to play Sunday.
"I studied hard on (Thursday) night, and I am picking it up. We will see.
"If they want me out there, I would love to be out there. I would love the opportunity; my old stomping grounds."
WILSON REUNIon: Cornerback Eugene Wilson will be playing against his former team for the first time since leaving the Patriots as a free agent in the offseason.
But there won't be much time for fraternizing as Wilson tries to improve his status in the Bucs' deep rotation of cornerbacks.
"I wouldn't say it's awkward at all. It's still football," Wilson said. "I'm looking forward to seeing them. But I'll see a few of my friends, and then it's time to get down to business and get the game going."
CHECK, PLEASE: The Bucs continued their tradition on Wednesday night, making offensive and defensive rookies pick up the check for dinner for their respective units. The offense racked up a hefty bill, about $8,000.
"It was a lot of fun, bonding with the guys," receiver Dexter Jackson said. "They said, 'Rook, I'm about to order this.' I was like, 'Oh my goodness.' I'm looking at the menu like, 'What is this costing?' "
Cornerback and first-round pick Aqib Talib, the wealthiest of the lot, said the defensive bill didn't approach those in stories he heard about past rookie classes.
"I was ready for it to be pretty bad," he said. "I heard stories. I don't want to say (how much), but it put a smile on my face. Let's put it that way."
INJURY UPDATE: Garcia (calf), defensive tackle Jovan Haye (groin) and receiver Joey Galloway (groin) are out Sunday. Tight end Ben Troupe (foot) hopes to play, Gruden said.