Gameday Tampa BayAugust 23rd, 2014
Preseason Game 3
Buccaneers at Bills
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
TV: Live on WFLA-TV, Channel 8, locally, and nationally broadcast on NFL Network.
Radio: Buccaneers Radio Network (in Tampa WFUS-FM 103.5, and WDAE-AM 620); SiriusXM Channel 136.
Weather: It’s going to feel like a Florida fall day in Western New York. Kickoff temperature is expected to be 77 degrees and a little humid with just a 10 percent chance of rain under partly sunny skies. Little change is expected throughout out the game.
Odds: Per FootballLocks.com, Buffalo -3.
Outlook: Finally it’s here. The “dress rehearsal” for the Bucs season, to use Lovie Smith’s words. Starters will play into the second half, perhaps even into the fourth quarter. Joe heard that projection from Jonathan Casillas this week.
On offense, Bucs fans are going to need to see a sustained scoring drive today to avoid rushing off to CVS for Tums and Valium. The Bucs need to show they can move the chains behind a slowly-jelling offensive line. Points would be nice, too. Hopefully, right guard Patrick Omameh has another solid outing against Buffalo’s angry front-7. Joe’s fearful of what Pro Bowl beast Marcell Dareus might do to the Bucs’ guards. Will the Bucs open up the first-team offense at least a little bit? Will there be a 50-50 kind of ball thrown to Vincent Jackson or Mike Evans? That hasn’t been rolled out yet. Remember, the offense finally gets to gameplan for an opponent, as this is the first and only “dress rehearsal.” This is offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s debut in many ways.
Outside of a still uncertain Bucs pass rush from defensive linemen not named Gerald McCoy, Joe’s not at all concerned about the Bucs’ first-team defense, which has been dominant through two preseason games. Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner gets his first action in a Buccaneer uniform. But look for him to only play a few series with the first team as he eases in following a bad hamstring that took a few weeks to heal. It’s unclear whether Bills super rookie WR Sammy Watkins will be cleared to play with a bruised rib. His matchup with Verner could prove fun. If not, then Verner likely lines up across from former Bucs receiver Mike Williams, of blade-in-the-thigh, mattress-in-the-yard fame. Williams is the No. 2 in Buffalo and had a strong and healthy training camp.
Big day ahead for defensive end Steven Means, who should get plenty of reps with Will Gholston out injured, as well as Da’Quan Bowers. Whoever backs up McCoy, now that Bowers is injured, is another guy to watch. If that guy plays well, possibly undrafted rookie Euclid Cummings, Bowers could be considered expendable, if he isn’t already. Lots of bubble player action to watch on offense, too. Given injuries to running backs Charles Sims and Mike James, Joe suspects a good game today by Jorvorskie Lane or Jeff Demps could win them a roster spot.
Enjoy the game and stick with Joe through the night for all kinds of reports out of this game. Yes, Joe’s in Buffalo.