After opening the 2019 preseason with a 30-28 defeat in Pittsburgh, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers return home for a week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
New Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and his staff got their first look at offensive and defensive starters in game action on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, the team looks ahead to a familiar preseason opponent in Week 2.
Bucs and Dolphins have extensive preseason history
Since Tampa Bay began play in 1976, they have faced the Miami Dolphins 31 times in the preseason, including 16 consecutive seasons from 2000-2015. Of those 31 games, Miami holds a 17-14 advantage. The most recent contest was a 26-24 Bucs win at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami during the 2018 preseason. This will mark the Dolphins first preseason trip to Raymond James Stadium since the 2014 season.
Expect more of the same from starting units
This week, starters are likely to see limited playing time just as they did against Pittsburgh in week 1. During that contest, the Bucs elected to receive and start on offense. Jameis Winston engineered an effective opening drive that was capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin. Should Tampa Bay start fast again and score on their first drive, the starters will likely be finished. However, a 3 and out or otherwise short series could lead them back out for a second drive in an effort to gain live game reps. Defensively, the starters will be limited to 1-2 series as well before the shuffling will start. Bruce Arians stated before the Steelers game that there is not much he needs to see from his starters. It won’t be until Week 3, the typical dress rehearsal game, that starters will play beyond the first quarter.
Defensive tackle Vita Vea will continue to sit as he nurses a sprain in his LCL (lateral collateral ligament). He will not see any action in the preseason. While his status for week 1 of the regular season remains in jeopardy, an MRI revealed that Vea will not need surgery. Linebacker Lavonte David is expected to be out again for Week 2 following a procedure to repair a torn meniscus. According to Bruce Arians, this injury will not keep David out for the regular season opener against San Francisco. Deone Bucannon filled in nicely for David in Week 1, logging a sack and tackle for loss against the Steelers.
Safety Mike Edwards will also be out against Miami. The third round pick out of Kentucky suffered a pulled hamstring against Pittsburgh in Week 1. His injury does not put him at risk of missing long term playing time, but the team should be airing on the side of caution and letting him rest this week. Wide Receiver Bryant Mitchell was not as lucky in Pittsburgh, however. Mitchell left the game after an injury in the third quarter and it was later revealed to be a torn achilles. This is a major blow to a receiver who was competing for a 5th WR spot.
The Bucs and Dolphins will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium – Friday 8/16/2019.
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