Monday, June 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against New England blacked out on area TV

TAMPA — The Bucs are 0 for 2 in the preseason in an important area.

For the second straight game, the team missed the NFL's deadline to sell a minimum number of tickets to lift a local television blackout of Friday's game against the Patriots.

The Bucs failed to sell at least 85 percent of Raymond James Stadium's non-premium seats before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Per NFL rules, the game is blacked out in TV markets within 75 miles.

The game will be shown on tape delay at 11:35 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday on Ch. 10.

The team announced a paid crowd of 45,633 for last Friday's preseason home opener against the Titans. Based on the stadium's 51,000-plus general admission seats, the Bucs need to sell roughly 43,000 non-premium seats for the required threshold.

POSITION BATTLE?: It's much too early to suggest that there is going to be a change, but it was hard not to notice that the Bucs have had backup Demar Dotson take some first-team reps at right tackle during practice Monday and Tuesday.

Veteran Jeremy Trueblood is still considered the starter, but the Bucs are keeping an open mind.

"(Dotson) was playing the entire training camp at the left side with the (starters). So I don't think it was right to just move him back to the (second team)," coach Greg Schiano said. "There's competition at every spot. It's no indication that Trueblood hasn't done a good job. We just want to make sure that everybody has a fair chance. I don't have any reason to believe that it won't be the five we thought it was going to be. I think it'll be that. But you always have to investigate."

The context is important. The Bucs, before training camp, asked Trueblood to restructure his contract, ultimately taking back $1 million — not a ringing endorsement.

Trueblood has been prone to false starts. He's a strong run blocker, but pass protection is not a strength.

Dotson has issues, like his relative inexperience. And he, like Trueblood, played poorly in Friday's loss.

Dotson got a long look while filling in for injured LT Donald Penn through training camp and in the first two preseason games. Penn has returned from his calf strain.

SHIPLEY SHOWS: The Bucs were the only team to make a waiver claim for former Bengals WR Jordan Shipley because of his ACL injury, but Schiano said Tuesday the former Texas star was on the team's radar before the 2010 draft. Schiano said general manager Mark Dominik and player personnel director Dennis Hickey "really liked him in the (draft) evaluation process and took a peek at him. He seems like our kind of guy."

Schiano said the Bucs are not necessarily unhappy with their receivers, particularly in the slot where Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter have been competing.

"I wouldn't say it's in response to any need," Schiano said.

Shipley is playing catch-up. On Tuesday, he was used primarily as a punt returner.

"My rookie year, I did a few in preseason and had a couple long ones," he said. "So I love punt returns and any chance I get to get out there, I'll be out there."

The Bengals believed Shipley still was being impacted by the ACL surgery. As a rookie, he was the Bengals third receiver and caught 52 passes for 600 yards and three touchdowns.

INJURY REPORT: CB Eric Wright left with an undisclosed injury after falling while breaking up a pass. DT Amobi Okoye (knee) sat out as did TE Luke Stocker with issues that were believed to be concussion-related.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report.

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