In advance of their preseason opener on Thursday night in South Florida, the Buccaneers have officially released their first depth chart for 2018.
And there are not many surprises.
Most notably, and to get it out of the way, Jameis Winston is actually listed as the first-team quarterback on the depth chart. However, veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick (above) has been taking most of the first-team reps during training camp practices. And, it’s believed that he will start the game Thursday night and play most if not all of the first quarter.
The belief is that Winston will play after that in the second quarter against Miami. Third string QB Ryan Griffin may play a lot of the second half of game one.
Also in the backfield, the Bucs do list Peyton Barber as their top back and he has been the lead back for most of the first-team reps in training camp. Interestingly, veteran Jacquizz Rodgers is listed second on the depth chart and USC rookie Ronald Jones is third. However, expect Jones to get a lot of playing time starting with game one on Thursday.
The Bucs listed two starting receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson and have Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries listed as their second-team backups. But, expect Godwin and Humprhies to see lots of time with three receiver sets, etc.
The defense does not have many surprises in terms of the depth chart.
Veterans Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul ,Vinny Curry and Beau Allen are the first team defensive line. Meanwhile, Buccaneer young veterans Noah Spence and William Gholston are backups at defensive end. And first round pick Vita Vea is listed as second on the depth chart at defensive tackle. This is even though, he will not play Thursday after injuring his calf last week.
With linebacker Kendell Beckwith still nursing and rehabbing his broken ankle from the offseason, Adarius Taylor slides into his starting spot alongside Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David.
Third year and former first-round pick defensive back Vernon Hargreaves is listed as a starter next to Pro Bowl veteran Brent Grimes. However, the Bucs have been using Ryan Smith with the first-team and also at times rookie MJ Stewart out of North Carolina. Tampa Bay also wants to take a good look at Auburn’s rookie Carlton Davis and how he will look Thursday and beyond.
And it’s the case is with most NFL teams with their starters: they will not play much into the second quarter and most of the second-teamers will be done by early in the third quarter of game one.
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