The Bucs will cut their roster from 75 players to the final 53 this weekend, so tonight's preseason finale against the Dolphins is the last chance for players on the bubble to play their way on — or off — the opening roster. Here are five who need a strong game to help their standing.
Da'Quan Bowers, DT
Could this be Bowers' final game with the Bucs? A 2011 second-round draft pick, Bowers (above right) was moved inside from end and signed only after an injury to Akeem Spence, and he has one tackle in 44 preseason snaps. With veteran Tony McDaniel signed during camp and Will Gholston playing well inside as a converted end, Bowers needs a strong finish to make the cut.
Adam Humphries, WR
Undrafted out of Clemson, he is one of five rookie receivers likely battling for two roster spots. Can Humphries, Donteea Dye or Rannell Hall, from UCF, grab a spot from draft picks Kenny Bell and Kaelin Clay? Bell has a hamstring injury, and Clay doesn't have a firm grip on the return job. Humphries has been reliable on third downs and is a dark horse for the slot receiver job. Half the Bucs' passes could easily go to these five rookies tonight.
Matt Masifilo, OG
The converted defensive tackle has taken well to the offensive line, but he had only three snaps at the end of Saturday's game against the Browns. He'll get a much longer look tonight. Guard depth is a major question for the Bucs, and Masifilo is competing against Garrett Gilkey and Kadeem Edwards. Flexibility to also play center helps for backup jobs, which gives former USF player Jeremiah Warren a chance to survive the final cuts.
Josh Keyes, LB
The undrafted rookie from Boston College is up against three veterans with experience on special teams: Jason Williams, Larry Dean and Khaseem Greene. But with Kwon Alexander as the only rookie draft pick on defense, the Bucs might want to go younger if the competition is close. Keyes has two special-teams tackles in the preseason while working as Lavonte David's understudy as the No. 2 weakside linebacker.
Kyle Brindza, K
All eyes will be on Brindza, acquired from the Lions this week for backup tight end Tim Wright. He has a chance to unseat the Bucs' last two starters. Patrick Murray and Connor Barth are a combined 2-for-6 on field goals and have a missed extra point between them. Brindza was good with Detroit this preseason, going 3-for-3 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points; averaging 49 yards on punts, and seven of eight kickoffs were touchbacks. If he plays well, he may be your kicker, Bucs fans.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer