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)

Five Tampa Bay Buccaneers to watch Friday against New England Patriots

It's Week 3 of the preseason, meaning it's time to sit up and pay attention. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said starters could play into the second half tonight against the Patriots if the game goes the way his staff projects. That means there will be plenty of opportunities to evaluate players during the primary regular-season dress rehearsal. So here are five to watch.

LT Donald Penn

Perhaps the best news the Bucs have gotten this preseason is Penn has recovered from the strained calf that kept him out of more than two weeks of camp and the first two games. Given the importance of his position, entering the season without him would have been nerve-racking for quarterback Josh Freeman. Penn said while he's in good shape physically and has lost weight, he's still getting into football shape. "It's not the same as working out on the side when you have all this gear on," he said. "I've been going hard in practice trying to be ready. Everything else is good. I just need to get my timing down, get my technique down, knock the rust off. I have a lot of catching up to do."

TE Luke Stocker

For the second straight season, it has been a difficult camp for the 2011 fourth-round pick. He missed most of last year's with a hip injury, and he has been limited by injuries this preseason, too. If Stocker makes it onto the field, it will be interesting to see where he fits in as the starters and key role players see extended playing time. When the team uses two tight ends or a power formation, it needs Stocker and his blocking ability. He has been in and out of action since sustaining a concussion during practice Aug. 13. But coaches are eager to see what he can contribute because fellow tight end Dallas Clark is not an ideal blocker.

LB Lavonte David

This rookie out of Nebraska is off to a good start after two games, but this will be a unique test. With the Patriots so savvy and heavy in their use of tight ends, he could be asked to take on former Gator Aaron Hernandez and/or Rob Gronkowski in coverage. The Bucs often use David in their nickel package on passing downs, meaning it's fairly likely he will be dropping into coverage. Remember, when the Bucs drafted David in the second round, they coveted his coverage skills. Look for those to be put to the test against New England.

RT Jeremy Trueblood

Let's get this out of the way: Trueblood probably will start at right tackle in Week 1. However, coach Greg Schiano eagerly pointed out the position is still, technically, a competition. That's why you will see Demar Dotson take some snaps there, perhaps even with the first team. Dotson taking a few snaps with the starters during practice this week led to the questions in the first place. Schiano said he didn't anticipate a change, but Trueblood can't give coaches a reason to consider one by committing false starts and giving up quarterback hits as he did last week against Tennessee.

DT Gerald McCoy

With the Patriots likely to use their up-tempo offense at some point, it will be up to McCoy and the defensive line to throw off quarterback Tom Brady's rhythm by pushing the pocket and getting heat on him. For what it's worth, the Bucs have just one sack in two games. But if they can get to Brady — who knows how to avoid sacks well— that would be a statement of sorts. There will be a lot of pressure on the third overall pick in 2010 this season. He knows it and welcomes it. But he has to show results. And doing so against the Patriots would be a good start.

Five Tampa Bay Buccaneers to watch Friday against New England Patriots 08/23/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting

    Ml

    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]
  2. Morning after: Takeaways from Lightning exhibition

    Blogs

    For the Lightning, there was a lot to like in Wednesday's 4-3 exhibition win in Carolina.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.