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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Three things to watch as Bucs host Lions Friday night

Florida Football Insiders



Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the third week of preseason and the Bucs are finally at home, taking on the Lions Friday night. Tampa Bay has scored a lot of points, 56 in their two preseason wins, and looks to build on that and more.

Here are three things to watch:

Bucs Concerned at Left Tackle

With Donovan Smith suffering a knee injury earlier this week in training camp, he’s out tonight, but it’s believed that will be back for the start of the regular season. Still, who protects the blindside for QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston and solidifies themselves, as depth at that position?

Michael Liedtke took some reps at first team LT later in Tuesday and Wednesday practices, but Tampa Bay also wants to use Leonard Wester, who’s been with the Bucs the last couple of years, too. However, Wester has been hurt.

Veteran RT Demar Dotson, who’s returning from off season knee surgery, saw limited action in his preseason debut last Saturday night against the Titans. He has played some left tackle in his career before. Also, reserve Caleb Benenoch has also played some left tackle in college, etc.

We will have to wait to see what the Bucs choose to do, with starters expected to play all of the first half in this game.

Lions look for explosive plays

Detroit has a new coaching staff under former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patrica, but they have a familiar face in Matthew Stafford (above) at QB. The former Pro Bowler still has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, and he’s got some speedy targets like Golden Tate and Marvin Jones to use to loosen any defense.

And, while the Lions have slashing veteran runners Ameer Abdullah, and Theo Riddick, they have drafted another one of those types in Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, too. Also, to pound the defense in short yardage and in “goal to go” situations, Detroit signed veteran LeGarrette Blount. Blount, who began his career in Tampa Bay, has Superbowl rings from New England and last year in Philly.

It will be a challenge for the Buccaneers linebackers and secondary on Friday night.

Young Bucs receivers battle

As we wrote earlier in the week, Tampa Bay has great young depth at wide receiver. However, you cannot keep them all on the active roster.

Penn rookie Justin Watson made a huge impact, especially in the first half last week with 54 yards receiving and a leaping toe tap touchdown against the Titans.

Second year player Sergio Bailey has also impressed, including his second half touchdown catch last week.

Veteran Bernard Reedy is someone who the Bucs have used in the regular season and is a good kick returner.

Again, veterans like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, and Chris Godwin will see most of the playing time with the starting unit Friday night. However, let’s see if one or more of those names above sneak in with the first unit for some snaps.

Watson did a week ago. Reedy has in the past.

It’s quite a battle for the last roster spot or two at wideout in Tampa Bay.

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