The Football Season Officially Kicks Off Tonight For The Buccaneers As They Begin Preseason Play.
The wait is finally over. After waiting seven months, one week, and one day, Buccaneers football is back. It may be ‘just the preseason’, but it is the first time the Bucs will be able to show the world the new look team that has higher expectations than years past.
The Buccaneers kick off the 2016 campaign tonight in the City of Brotherly Love to meet with the Eagles. The Eagles enter the contest with numerous question marks on the offensive side of the ball, and will more than likely try to challenge the Buccaneers defense early. This will be a great test for the new look defense to see if they have improved from last year, especially in the secondary. The Eagles want to see what they have in Carson Wentz, which translates into many chances for the cornerbacks that are on the outside looking in.
The Buccaneers released their first depth chart on Tuesday, and the lack of rookies on the starting front is what stuck out the most. This ties into the Eagles second team offense with Wentz at the helm to provide competition beyond the slated starters. Vernon Hargreaves III and Noah Spence are two guys to keep your eye on tonight. These two rookies are regarded as future cogs for a growing defense, and tonight they get the opportunity to be on an NFL field for the first time. They prove their worth tonight and they may be in the starting rotation come the release of the next depth chart.
The Eagles defense is no slouch, and it will be interesting to see if the first string offense and Jamesis Winston can continue to grow together they way they did last season. Jamesis has already drawn praises from player to personnel about his expanded leadership role and any questions about his character coming out of college have been since squashed. Winston’s progress from rookie to sophomore in the NFL is going to be one of the biggest tell tales on the success of this 2016 Buccaneers squad. So far, so good.
Another Bucs offense vs Eagles defense matchup to look towards is Doug Martin. Martin has looked to be in midseason form, albeit against his own team. Tonight will be Martin’s return to the gridiron since signing a healthy contract this offseason. He was well deserving of a contract after finishing second in the league in rushing and looks to prove last year was no fluke.
On offense J.R. Sweezy(PUP), Charles Sims(ankle), Luis Murphy(PUP), Caleb Benenoch(ankle) and Vincent Jackson(banged up, undisclosed) will all miss tonight’s contest. Benenoch was the Bucs 5th round pick this year and his injury may just cost him a roster spot.
Answers, hopes, and aspirations will all begin to become clearer tonight at 7 PM when the Bucs take on the Eagles from Lincoln Financial Field.
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