Opening personnel by the numbers
It's hard to decipher much from the Bucs' preseason opener at the Eagles, in part because Tampa Bay rotated in 84 players, matching the most of any team in preseason so far.
But in looking at participation logs, you can get the first taste of how the Bucs will line up in 2016 — what formations are more likely than others, again based on a small and hardly normal sample from Thursday night. Read as much or as little into this as you'd like:
• On defense, it will be a misnomer again to call Tampa Bay's three-linebacker look the "base defense." The team will be in a nickel package with five defensive backs and two linebackers much more often — on Thursday, it was in nickel more than twice as often. The top two strongside linebackers — who come off the field in nickel — saw Daryl Smith with 13 snaps and Devante Bond with 16; by comparison, the top two nickel defensive backs were Jude Adjei-Barimah with 35 snaps and Vernon Hargreaves with 30, though some of those were as outside corners. The league's "lineup detail" data shows 43 snaps in nickel and 20 in base, though it also shows three snaps with five defensive linemen.
• On offense, the primary formation is three receivers and one tight end — 47 of 70 plays Thursday, or about 67 percent. The next most common look is two receivers and two tight ends — 19 times, or about 27 percent — and the team went with three tight ends and one receiver on four downs, including a fourth-and-1 play where it was dropped for a loss. Receivers logged 199 snaps, while tight ends logged 105.
• The starters, across the board, saw fewer than 20 plays Thursday. Offensive starters got a max of 18, with WRs Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson getting 14 and RB Doug Martin 13. On defense, the starting secondary got 19, and the only starting defensive lineman to get more than 19 was Jacquies Smith, who got 25, likely to offset the absence of Will Gholston, who was excused.
Monday, 8:45-10:50 a.m.; Aug. 24, 9:45-11:50 a.m., practice with Browns
Saturdayat Jaguars, 7:30, Ch. 38
Aug. 26Browns, 8, Ch. 10
Sept. 1Redskins, 7:30, Ch. 8
Greg Auman, Times staff writer