Preseason What To Watch For: Buccaneers vs.Dolphins

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It’s that time of year again. The first preseason game is upon us and football is finally back. To kick off these glorified scrimmages the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the Miami Dolphins.

After a pair of joint practices together these two teams will take the field for an actual game. Keep in mind that the score of this game means nothing. However, there are several aspects of this game that do provide value. Here’s what I’ll be watching for.

Kyle Trask

After various reports of Kyle Trask struggling in practice, the spotlight will be shining brightest on him this weekend. The second year quarterback needs the playing time and experience in somewhat live action and this is a great way to get it.

I expect Trask to play at least two full quarters. Seeing full speed action vs NFL competition (likely backups) is extremely valuable for him. And make no mistake, his performance in this game does matter to a degree.

The Buccaneers will have to make a decision about their starting quarterback next year if Tom Brady isn’t around. Trask was drafted to be the heir apparent, but he hasn’t shown any indication that he’s capable of that. These preseason games are his best opportunity to prove himself.

Reps For The Rookies

Rookie watch will be in full effect this weekend. Whether it be tight end Cade Otton, running back Rachaad White, or Zyon McCollum in the secondary or any of the other guys who will be getting their first taste of NFL experience. Regardless of who they line up against, you want to see the rookies make plays.

Specifically, I’ll be watching the pair of second round picks, defensive lineman Logan Hall and guard Luke Goedeke. They will likely be going against starter or depth players who will make the Dolphins roster. Both of these guys need to prove themselves as they are expected to play a key role for the Buccaneers this season. 

Who Is The Buccaneers’ Other Starting Corner?

It came as a surprise to many that Sean Murphy-Bunting was listed ahead of Jamel Dean on the Bucs first depth chart. Murphy-Bunting has played in the nickel for most of his young career with mixed results. Dean has flashed as the Buccaneers number two corner, but he has also had his fair share of ups and down.

Moving to the outside suits Murphy-Bunting and is more of his natural position. He’s also shown the best ball skills to create turnovers among all the corners on the team. Will this move help him find the consistency to secure this job over Dean long term? Only time will tell.

Bubble Watch

There are a lot of interesting players who are fighting for the final few spots on this Bucs roster. Some players I specifically like who could make this team, or will be priority practice squad guys, are wide receiver Deven Thompkins, linebacker J.J. Russell, and tight end Ko Kieft. Each of them has a specific skill set that is valuable in some way to this team.

All three of them could play a role on special teams, particularly Thompkins who is an exciting return specialist. Expect to see these guys in the second half of the game when the backups and fringe roster players are on the field. I am hoping to see them stand out and make plays among their peers.

Kicking Battle

It has been a surprisingly interesting kicking competition thus far into camp. Veteran Ryan Succup has been great in all of his opportunities. This is what you’d expect from a guy so consistent and who has helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl.

What I wasn’t expecting was the unproven Jose Borregales to match that greatness with every opportunity. Borregales was the college kicker of the year in 2020 and undoubtedly has a bigger leg than Succup. These preseason games will likely be the separator in this contest.

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