The Buccaneers will host the Jaguars in the final preseason game for both teams Thursday night. And, there are some intriguing things to watch for both squads:
Extended playing time again for Ryan Griffin
The Bucs third string quarterback for the last couple of years is about to be thrust into the role of backup quarterback, when Jameis Winston suspension begins after this preseason game.
As we wrote earlier this week, coach Dirk Kotter made it clear that Winston will not play in this finale’ with the Jaguars. So, that means likely Griffin will play the first quarter, if not the entire first half.
He has looked good consistently in all three of Tampa Bay’s previous preseason games, including leading a touchdown Drive last Friday night to begin the second half against the Lions vs. a lot of their first-team defenders.
The Bucs need Griffin to be sharp, but most importantly stay healthy for the start of the regular season.
Dante Fowler expected to be out there some
The embattled former number 1 pick defensive end for the Jaguars has already had a headline-grabbing training camp/preseason. And, a lot of it for the wrong reasons. Fowler had been on the physically-unable-to-perform list with a shoulder injury.
He then found out he was being suspended by the NFL for the opening game of the season for his “no-contest plea” in March to assault charges from last summer.
Then, when Fowler was healthy enough to be activated for training camp, after his second practice, he got into an altercation with defensive line teammate Yannick Ngakoue that got him suspended for one week. This caused him to miss the Minnesota preseason game.
Fowler did play in the game last week with the Falcons, but he needs some reps at game speed. And we and many others are wondering if the Jaguars aren’t showcasing him for a possible trade?
Fowler is in the final year of his deal, and so far, he hasn’t done anything that warrants Jacksonville wanting to bring him back. That could change starting with a good performance tonight.
Finally, competition at wide receiver for the Bucs
It’s obvious that Tampa Bay is loaded with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries. Rookie Justin Watson has also been impressive in this training camp and the Buccaneers have three more guys in Freddie Martino, who caught a touchdown pass last week, Speedy kickoff specialist Bernard Reedy and second-year former Florida State player Bobo Wilson to go to.
The Buccaneers simply cannot keep everybody, and there will be significant playing time for all of them in his final game. You have to believe that Watson has an edge to make the team and the other three are maybe battling for a sixth spot.
One thing is for sure, if there are one or two of these receivers are on the waiver wire, another team will probably gobble them up.
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