TAMPA — The Bucs have named Michael Bennett the starter at left defensive end, but they didn't spend a second-round draft pick on rookie Da'Quan Bowers to make him a mascot.
Coach Raheem Morris, who also is the defensive coordinator, said Thursday he'll rotate the players, aiming to give them roughly the same amount of playing time.
Bennett came on strong late last season and continued his surge in training camp, but as Bowers continues to bounce back impressively from offseason knee surgery, Morris says he can't keep him off the field.
"Bowers is the young guy on our football team right now earning the right to be out there," Morris said. "I'm sure he's going to be ready to go, hungry and willing. That's the part that I love. That's the part that excites me."
If one player gets hot, Morris said, he'll remain on the field.
"There's no (snap) count like we have in a preseason game," Morris said. "You've got to let those guys go out there and determine how much they play based on their play. And you get a feel for that during the game."
At times, the two players will be used in situations that play to their strengths. Bowers, for example, is likely to be used in goal-line and short-yardage situations because of his size (6 feet 4, 285 pounds). Bennett could be an option at defensive end if and when the Bucs use a three-man front, something they did often last season. Bennett has played extensively at defensive tackle.
But ideally, Morris said, the goal is to give both players equal reps.
PAYING TRIBUTE: As part of their efforts to honor the late Lee Roy Selmon, the Bucs will wear his No. 63 on their helmets all season. Also, there will be a moment of silence in honor of Selmon before Sunday's season opener against the Lions at Raymond James Stadium, co-chairman Bryan Glazer said Thursday.
"I'm sure everybody in our community has been touched in some way," by Selmon, Morris said. "It's a credit to what his family has meant and what he has meant to the game and what he has meant to the Buccaneers community. You can't beat that.
"Hopefully we get something (to put on) the coaches' uniforms as well because I certainly would love to be a part of that."
Asked how Selmon affected current Bucs players such as fellow Oklahoma alumnus Gerald McCoy, Morris said, "You really can't explain the kind of influence he had on some of the young players or the people who got a chance to know him. … He helped as many people as he could. He was a part of all kinds of charities. He did a great job in our community affecting as many people and everybody that he got a chance to touch."
MARKED MAN: QB Josh Freeman, a former Big 12 Conference nemesis of Ndamukong Suh, will be targeted by the Lions defensive tackle. Freeman played at Kansas State; Suh starred at Nebraska.
"He's a good friend of mine, and I know how he plays," Suh said to Detroit-area reporters about Freeman, describing the QB's game as "tough, physical and loves to make plays with his arm as well as his feet."
"It's going to be a good challenge for us, and we're definitely up for it. I always have joy in hitting him and hopefully can get a couple sacks off of him and rub it into his face a little bit more."
Suh was asked if he treats all his friends in the same manner.
"We're not friends on the field," he said.
INJURY REPORT: TE Kellen Winslow did not practice; the team said it was a scheduled day of rest. CB Myron Lewis (ankle) did not practice. LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring) was limited.
Prices for single-game tickets range from $40 to $115 (some youth tickets are $25) and are available at the Raymond James Stadium ticket window (starting three hours before kickoff) and through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or toll-free at 1-800-745-3000. For information, call the Bucs at (813) 870-2700.