TOP FIVE THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN BUCS' SECOND PRESEASON GAME
While the action will be on the field tonight---it's always fun when you have the rarity of former #Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden calling his ole franchise under those Monday Night Prime Time lights.
Can't fire those cannons in Jacksonville but let those fireworks begin.
Many say the preseason is too long but I do believe in having four "exhibition" games.
Coaches have a lot of things to evaluate from seeing how their rookies are adapting to the playbook and the speed of the game to the progress of the many veterans who are trying to either work their way on the team or up the depth chart.
While the likes of Winston, Evans and McCoy will sit out the last preseason game, the next two are big for these Bucs' VIPs who are trying to get their feet wet for the regular season.
Four games is just the right number to get all of the above accomplished but what about this preseason party number two for the Bucs?
Here are my top five things to look for?
(1) RUNNING DOWN A DREAM: No position on the Bucs illustrates why you need four preseason games more than those pewter running backs.
With Doug Martin out the first three games--who will step up and carry the load when the real stuff rolls around?
Peyton Barber intrigues me and I look forward to seeing more of him tonight. We know what we have in veterans Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims who are also looking for more opportunities under those prime time lights in Jacksonville.
Rookie Jeremy McNichols is loaded with potential and could be a mid round steal. His ole coach Snoop Dogg will be watching and so will we-- where the rook who is healthy again has a huge opportunity in front of him, interesting to see if he takes advantage.
(2) RED ZONE JAMEIS: A lot to like about Jameis Winston's preseason opener where he seemed to play a game of catch early and often with Mike Evans.
The problem was finishing drives, where the Bucs had issues up in Cincinnati. WIth more playing time tonight against the Jaguars, I'll be looking to see how this team performs in the red zone. Would also look to see DeSean Jackson get more involved too.
(3) SECONDARY CONCERNS: Like the running backs, tonight's game is an opportunity to see who steps up in the Bucs secondary and takes advantage of their increased playing time.
With Brent Grimes out of action, I'll be looking for rookie and second round pick Justin Evans to step up in Jacksonville. A lot is expected of the Bucs rookie and he will get plenty of chances to get more comfortable tonight playing with the ones.
Along with Evans, rookie corners Maurice Fleming and Jonathan Moxey have also had solid camps, the Bucs would love to build more quality depth at this position where they are well on their way.
(4) POST AGUAYO ERA: Sure Roberto Aguayo has left the building but don't think Nick Folk's job is safe.
This team is tired of instability at this position where every kick will be magnified the rest of the preseason. If Folk struggles or is just average, I'm not confident newly acquired Zach Hocker is the answer either--after all he's played on six teams the past two NFL seasons ?!
Let's see if Folk can grab hold of the job tonight, if he doesn't--your starting Bucs kicker is likely not on the roster now.
(5) CENTER OF ATTENTION: Bucs brand new center Ali Marpet didn't play in the team's preseason opener but told me this week in Jacksonville he's looking forward to getting his feet wet on Thursday night.
The Bucs offensive line has endured a physical week of practice versus the Jaguars this week--looking forward to seeing how that carries over to their first game where no one is marked absent.