5 Things To Watch Against Jacksonville Tonight

August 17th, 2017

Debuts at center tonight

Preseason Game 2 is tonight in Jacksonville and look for starters to play about half the game. There’s so much to keep an eye on, but Joe’s going with five here — five you might not be considering.

*Cornerback Brent Grimes won’t play while his deep shin gash is healing. Second-year cornerback Ryan Smith has been struggling mightily as the fill-in starter at outside cornerback, including in practice. Joe has little hope of Smith snapping out of his learning funk in a hurry, so Joe is eager to see who is the next outside cornerback the Bucs use tonight. Will Robert McClain, 29, get looks with the first-team defense? McClain did crack Carolina’s starting lineup late in their Super Bowl season and through the playoffs. What about Josh Robinson? How about any of the undrafted rookies? Hey Jude Adjei-Barimah has starting experience on the outside but he is injured and won’t play.

*Laugh if you want, but the Jaguars are loaded with talent along their defensive line, including Malik Jackson, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngkoue (7 sacks last year) and revived Dante Fowler. The Bucs’ first team had little success running the ball on Friday in Cincinnati, and Joe would like to see the Bucs’ O-line win more than they lose. Campbell was tough to handle in the Bucs-Jags joint practices this week, as was Fowler. Joe wants to see why the new J.R. Sweezy-Ali Marpet combination is a great idea. Tonight will be Marpet’s professional debut at center.

*Free Chris Godwin! The Bucs know the rookie receiver can play — and play big. Will they let him loose with the first team tonight? The reps could prove very valuable. Joe would have no problem with Mike Evans getting put in bubble wrap for the rest of the preseason.

*With linebacker Devante Bond injured, rookie LB Kendell Beckwith will get every shot to impress at strongside linebacker. He likely starts there tonight, though it could be Adarius Glanton instead. But the Bucs believe in Beckwith’s upside and tonight’s performance could cement him as the opening day starter.

*See what Joe wrote about about Godwin? Joe wants the same thing for rookie running back Jeremy McNichols. Let’s see what the kid’s got. The games don’t count and rookie backs rarely have big learning curves carrying the rock. McNichols had just two carries late in the preseason opener, one for 11 yards. A decision on McNichols’ playing time also ties to how the Bucs handle Doug Martin, who was nothing special in four carries against the Bengals. Repeatedly, Dirk Koetter has said he’s not exactly sure of a preseason plan for Martin, who is suspended for first three games of 2017. Joe wouldn’t give Martin more than one series tonight. What’s the point? The more meaningful snaps for Peyton Barber and McNichols the better, unless their pass blocking would put Jameis Winston in jeopardy.

25 Responses to “5 Things To Watch Against Jacksonville Tonight”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Big Test for Ali G and McChicken!!!

  2. Dreambig Says:

    I agree, no point in playing DM much in preseason. Whats the point of it? Better to see what the others could do. I would love to see some evidence that the Bucs didn’t screw up in the draft by not making RB more of a priority.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    For someone who loathes the preseason…..Joe has found the reasons why it’s an important element toward developing a team….determining depth and capabilities.
    Now, do I think the Jax fans should be paying a high price for tonight’s tickets?

    No….my suggestion would be to jack up the regular season games accordingly and then provide the preseason at no charge……sure, same total, but feels better.

  4. Pa Privateer Says:

    Ryan Smith….continue baptism by fire, treat as a rookie.
    McClain…..knock off the rust and make sure plan B or C is secure
    Beckwith….baptism by fire, reps. reps, reps
    Bullough….let him play the a series with the ones, then reps, reps ,reps
    McNichols….turn him lose, reps, reps, reps
    Stevie T…..same
    Martin….sorry, no more reps for you
    Howard….couple quick passes to counter the Jags DL
    Godwin…..needs 4 completions, then get him off the field

    I want to see Koetter counter the Jags DL with some quick passes and screens.

    Mike Smith, I need to see a flash of something.

  5. Lamarcus Says:

    I’m ready for the season and I want to see how first team play and gell together a little tonight. We need chemistry. We need Jameis not to miss 2 yards td passes. We need that oline to come together. What doesn’t make sense is to play camp meat who probaby won’t make the team while sacrifice some good “real situations”.

  6. Easy Denman Says:

    Counter that Jags D-line by running 4 wide and spread them out.. Evans, D-Jax, Hump, Godwin, Brate and Howard on the line of scrimmage to chip.

  7. Evolvingbucfan Says:

    @ Pa Privateer , hammer + nail = you nailed it my friend

  8. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Agree completely Joe. Bench DJAX and ME. ME is clearly in midseason form.
    Time to preserve his body and stop taking chances. ME is a physical player…no need to risk energy. DJAX not so much since his game is speed and separtion but why risk a pulled hammy.

    Agree about DM as well. He’s a known quantity and he appears to have regained his former level. Lots of McNichols and Barber. It’s time for Peyton to be given a real chance.

    And could we please include OJ in our game plan tonight?

    I could care less if we win or lose this game…I do care about finding out how some of these people play.

    BTW the ONLY benefit to play DM is if the Bucs think they can showcase him and get something for him in a trade…I personally did not see how this would happen since if they try to renegotiate they have to release DM which makes him an FA. OTOH if he looked so good that another team would eat his contract might be able to pick up a draft pick.

    Of course if McNichols and Barber do not pan out then we pay DM his money and put him in the starting lineup in week 4.

  9. mike10 Says:

    I understand the intent of “bubble wrapping” Evans, but his and JW’s chemistry is far from a finished product. The 2 overthrows + the late ball to Evans, against Cincy, were FUGLY.

    Jameis’ improved accuracy is going to be the difference of playoffs this yr.

  10. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    So I listened to a podcast today by a former college kicker and all world punter Pat MCafee. He touched on the bucs kicker situation and also commented on Chris Bakers heckling. He said he liked it and it wouldn’t be a true practice without hecklers. So for all u Sallys out there with ur panties in a bunch over this, it just proves that there is nothing wrong with it and u all all overreacting.

  11. Pistol Pete Says:

    I have this overwhelming feeling Jaboo is going to get crushed by thaty starting D for Jax.
    Hoping he doesn’t suffer a significant injury.
    Reminded of McCown in that pre-season game a few years ago….

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Not understanding some of the comments here I guess. Koetter has already said that he plans to play the starters for roughly the 1st half. It’s not about whether they’ll make the 53-man roster or not, it’s about developing & refining team chemistry.

    Several spots … with the starters … are still questionable. SAM LB is one of them. With Bond hurt, can Beckwith hack it? That’s a huge question, and based on the Cincy game the answer could go either way (his MLB skills showed up nicely, but SAM? Not so much). If Beckwith can’t be ready for Miami, who’s next man up? Knox? Lynch? Glanton? Good opportunity to find out tonight.

    Backup CB (outside) is still a question-mark IMO. Ryan Smith has some excellent potential there, but he’s still rough. Not sure I’d want to start him if Grimes or VHIII went down. Next man up? McClain? Robinson? Not sure at this point, but tonight would be a good time to experiment. Nickel CB is also seemingly up-for-grabs (although Elliott seems to be pulling away a bit). Good chance tonight to try McClain & a couple others there tonight with the ones also.

    Several commenters were mentioning getting Barber & McNichols more time with the ones. While they should get some time there, Rodgers & Sims are obviously more experienced, especially in pass protection. I’d personally only let Martin get 1+ series at RB tonight, then focus on Jacquizz & Charles for awhile, and then give some carries near the end of the 1st half to Barber & McNichols running behind the ones to see what they can do.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    my eyes will be on the oline and dline…..as joe mentioned, oline wasn’t impressive vs cincy and the same goes for the dline….

    eyes will be on the rbs as well…..they didn’t show me anything vs cincy….

    I want to see ryan smith and j.evans play the entire game….they need a lot of live reps…..GO BUCS!!!!

  14. Wausa Says:

    I’m not really worried about the offense. I do want to see how the Bucs backup Corners play tonight. They looked shaky last week.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    I look for two things, both on defense:

    -Beckwith at Sam: can he play, or will he look occasionally lost at Mike as he did in Cincy?

    -Ryan Smith & Robert McClain at CB. The #3/4 CB’s are very important, and these two guys are very important.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    I’m not too worried about the offense. I do want OL to work on timing, pulling and doubles.

  17. D-Rome Says:

    I’m looking to see if Doug Martin can improve on his awesome 2.75 YPC.

  18. Mike Johnson Says:

    The Bucs SHOULD…handle the Jags rather easily tonight. Or will they??

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    I agree that Godwin and McNichols should get lots of reps tonight. Same with Ryan Smith and Justin Evans. Preseason is the time to let these young, talented players get as much live NFL game experience as possible.

  20. Canadianbucsfan Says:

    What is the word on hey Jude? Is there a timeline for a return?

  21. unbelievable Says:

    Good stuff GOAT!

  22. Fsuking Says:

    Grammar check “They’re” Joe… really?
    Congratulations. 500 or so words here and Joe screwed one up and you got to comment on it.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    The Jags have a lot of talent all around – they just have a bum for a QB. Their defense has tons of talent and they should be pretty good this year, at least you’d think they should be. On offense they have a huge runningback and they want to run the ball a lot, that is exactly what kills the Bucs and has for a long time. You’d assume they’ll be much better coached this year so I’d expect a good outing from them. For the Bucs it’s the straight straight road game to open the preseason and it’s not on a proper Friday or Saturday night, but instead on a Thursday – that normally means super sloppy and frustrating if the entire rest of the history of the team matters. We shall see.

  24. Maze Says:

    False Martin had a sweet spin move at the line of scrimmage before bursting forward for a nice gain

  25. Wausa Says:


    I agree with Joe it’s not cool to correct grammar on here. However Joe was quick to correct me when I misspelled the word ‘parsed’ on this very site.