Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs vs. Jaguars: Five things to watch

In the Bucs' third preseason game, you're likely to see starters get their most extensive action. It's traditionally the game coaches like to use as their gauge for the regular season and allows top-tier players to rest or play sparingly in the preseason finale. Here, then, are five things to look for tonight:

Can the D keep it up?

The starting defense has been virtually airtight in the first two games and has yet to yield a touchdown. In fact, any points have been hard to come by. Each of the first two opponents (Dolphins and Patriots) have managed just a single field goal in the first halves. Tonight will be a stiffer test as Jacksonville also is likely to play its starters for an extended period. Also, keep an eye on the starting front four, which has yet to record a sack.

The O-line, sans Joseph

This will be the first action since starting right guard Davin Joseph broke his right foot Sunday against New England. So with the starting line expected to play quite some time, that means rookie Jeremy Zuttah will have to take on the best the Jacksonville defense has to offer. Joseph was a one-man wrecking crew Sunday, and the third-round pick will have big shoes to fill. It will be interesting to see if he can show the same type of athleticism and power Joseph is renowned for. Tonight might be the best indication of just how far this fast-rising rookie has come.

The quick strike

Yes, this is the preseason and coaches use their playbook's most vanilla material. Still, it would be nice to see the Bucs show some quick-strike capability. While they have scoring drives of 19, 13 and 17 plays, there has been a lack of explosive plays sometimes needed to win close games. Other than Michael Bennett's 31-yard run against Miami and Antonio Bryant's 33-yard catch against New England, the Bucs have nickeled-and-dimed their way to the end zone — not that there's anything wrong with that.

Potential cuts

The Bucs must trim their roster by five on Tuesday. Tonight is the final opportunity for those on the bubble to influence the looming decisions. But while many in jeopardy of being released are feeling pressure to make memorable plays, the key is to do so within the confines of the system. Try too hard and coaches will remember you for the wrong reasons as mistakes are likely to result. Still, the first round of cuts will be far less painful than the second, when teams are required to go from 75 to 53 players on Aug. 30.

The quarterback rotation

Jeff Garcia is set to see his first playing time, having nearly recovered from his weeks-old strained right calf. But he won't stick around long, not with coach Jon Gruden's bad luck with keeping quarterbacks healthy. Once he leaves, Gruden's decision on a No. 2 will be telling. He has alternated between Brian Griese and Luke McCown up to this point, but tonight's first quarterback off the bench will see extensive action with the starting lineup. Could the decision give us a peek into Gruden's mind-set? Probably.

Bucs vs. Jaguars: Five things to watch 08/22/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 22, 2008 7:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ever since the Bucs made Gerald McCoy the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, he has struggled to overcome the shadow cast by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 41-50


    Bulldog QB Charles Harrison III, (12) during the fourth quarter of the Zephyrhills at Nature Coast High School football game on Friday, 11/11/16.
  3. Lake Tarpon bass tournament still going strong after nearly 40 years (w/video)


    Matt Smith, left, and Gary Muchler, work to bring a large mouth bass into Smith's bass boat with only minutes to spare while fishing off Dolly Bay in Lake Tarpon during the Lake Tarpon Tuesday Night Bass Fishing Tournament on Tuesday (7/18/17). The fish sealed second place for the duo.
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Orioles?


    After the Rangers swept them over the weekend, the Rays won't have much time to rest, with 14 games scheduled for the next 14 days. The second half of their homestand begins tonight against the Orioles. Here's the information you need to know about Baltimore before the action kicks off.

    Starter Wade Miley has melted down after a hot start.
  5. Sergio Romo celebrates striking out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers to win Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Comerica Park in 2012.