Bucs-Saints pregame: Wet field conditions; Dotson and Pierre-Paul active; Davis out

Considering the sloppy conditions that were anticipated, it appears the playing field could have been a lot worse.
Players test their footing on the Raymond James Stadium playing surface while tarp is removed from the field before the game. [EDUARDO A. ENCINA | Times]
Players test their footing on the Raymond James Stadium playing surface while tarp is removed from the field before the game. [EDUARDO A. ENCINA | Times]
Published December 9 2018

TAMPA — The Bucs will play today's game against the New Orleans Saints on a wet field at Raymond James Stadium.

But, considering the sloppy conditions that were anticipated, it appears the conditions could have been a lot worse.

A tarp was covering the field this morning as the worst storms hit Tampa. But, with two hours before game time, the tarp was removed to allow players to begin their pregame routines on the field.

Players are now out on the field testing their footing.

The rain is expected to be mostly cleared by kickoff at 1 p.m.

Coach Dirk Koetter said the Bucs didn't do any wet-ball drills this week in preparation for the game. Coach Sean Payton said the Saints did.

As Koetter said earlier this week, a wet field should give an advantage to the offense. There's no question players will be thinking about what kind of cleats they will wear.

Keep in mind that the Saints bring the NFL's best rush defense, so that might affect how often the Bucs rely on their ground game, which already takes a back seat to their top-ranked pass attack.

As for the inactives, Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis is among them. He returned to practice this week after missing last week with a knee injury but was listed as doubtful.

Offensive tackle Demar Dotson, who was limited earlier in the week with a hamstring, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury, are both active. Both were listed as questionable on Friday.

The Bucs will also get corners Brent Grimes (knee) and M.J. Stewart (foot) back .

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (thumb), safety Justin Evans (toe) and Isaiah Johnson (concussion) are out.

Chris Godwin will start for Jackson, Ryan Smith will start for Davis and Andrew Adams will start for Evans.

The Bucs' healthy inactives are third quarterback Ryan Griffin, linebacker Riley Bullough and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at [email protected] Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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