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Jaguars and Bucs back-ups battle in final preseason game

Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

With the young guns leading the way for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, not many if any starters are expected to start tonight, let alone play in the 4th and final preseason game. 

Sims waived following injury

Ahead of tonight’s game against the Jaguars, and Saturday’s cut deadline the Buccaneers waived injured veteran running back Charles Sims III. Sims was selected 69th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. In the four seasons he was on the Bucs roster his best season came in 2015. During that season he had over 1000 all purpose yards (529-yards on the ground, 561 receiving). His other seasons wearing the pewter and red had a few highlights, but not enough substance. He is just the first of many cuts coming for the Buccaneers in the coming days following tonight’s game.

Questions arise about Jones II

Back in April the Bucs seemed very high on Ronald Jones II, a talent most analysts said was NFL ready. While preseason is a tough time to judge any player especially a rookie, he hasn’t looked particularly good. He has had 18 carries for 18-yards, let that sink in. Statistically he is on page four on in their preseason rushing section. Tied for 161 with Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who also has 18-yards, but his came on three carries for six yards per rush.

If he were playing against one’s and two’s I could see him struggling, but most his time has come against back-ups. In the first quarter of tonight’s game he had six carries for minus two yards. Now granted he is also running behind an offensive line made up of back-ups, but for a “NFL” ready guy he doesn’t look all that ready. At this point having Shaun Wilson ahead of him in the depth chart doesn’t seem like a unrealistic idea.

Watson continues to impress

With over five minutes gone in the second quarter, rookie WR Justin Watson hauled in a two yard touchdown pass from Ryan Griffin. The touchdown gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead following a Josh Lambo 51-yard field goal late in the first quarter.  The touchdown was his second of the season and first since the Tennessee Titans game where he hauled in a 21-yard pass. Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro would add a 31-yard field goal near halftime for a 10-3 Bucs lead.

Battle of the back-ups

Every year in the fourth preseason game, dreams are achieved and dreams are denied. Griffin who started the game is secure in the back up QB role behind Ryan Fitzpatrick while Jameis Winston serves his three game suspension. As mentioned earlier, Ronald Jones II could find himself behind starting RB Peyton Barber and Shaun Wilson. 5th round pick Justin Watson could be the last WR in a crowded wide receivers room. Everyone will find out the Bucs 53-man roster Saturday.

Jaguars battle back

Not shocking that the players who took the field for the Bucs in the 3rd quarter, probably a few won’t be around on Sunday. Quarterback Austin Allen is one of those guys that will be looking for a new NFL team. Following a three yard TD run by Jaguars RB Tim Cook, Allen would fumble the ball deep in his own zone following a sack. Jacksonville’s Carroll Phillips would return the fumble 26-yards for a Jaguars TD and a 15-10 lead (they went for two separate 2pt conversions and missed on both). Cook would add another rushing TD with 10 seconds left in the 3rd quarter for a 22-10 lead after a good point after TD. With just over 5 mins off the game clock Jacksonville added a 40-yard Lambo field goal for a 25-10 lead.

While the ones and twos have looked good for the Bucs, Allen and his crew have not, but it is not just the offense. Tampa boasts a much improved defense after offseason moves, but the seem to also be a bit weak as you go down the ladder of players. One thing is for sure right now, Bucs fans better pray for a injury free season in certain positions.

Next Up

After tonight’s 25-10 loss to the Jaguars, the Bucs will have their roster cuts on Saturday, followed up by the season opener in New Orleans on Sunday, September 9 at 1 pm.

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