Head coach Lovie Smith indicated this week that it is unlikely starters will see much action when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Washington Redskins tonight at Raymond James Stadium in the final game of the preseason. Game time is 7:30 p.m. (EDT).
The Buccaneers are fresh off their first win of the preseason, a dominating 27-14 win over the Buffalo Bills.
“As a general rule, we use the first three preseason games in order to get ready for the season,” Smith said. “The final one, I never have and don’t plan on [playing the starters]. We feel good about the group that we’re going with and for most of those guys it’s time to get ready for Carolina.
“To develop our football team this is an important game for us and for some of our backups that didn’t play a lot last week,” he added. “We weren’t pleased with how some of our seconds played. We want to get a good look at them, so there are a lot of things that we need to [look at]. During the course of the preseason, we want to get all of the situations in and we haven’t gone for two points, so there are a lot things that we need to do and of course evaluating our seconds is a part of that.”
Mike Glennon will likely get the start tonight at quarterback.
“Mike Glennon will play and will probably start the game,” Smith said. “Mike Kafka will finish the game for us. We’re still kind of working through that. We have a lot of things going on. As much as anything, we’ve just been trying to just get better, fundamentals and all of that. It’s our last week before actually going into the season. We’ll focus on that a little bit more as we get closer to the game.”
A lot has been made this week of the blockbuster trade that brought six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Bucs in exchange for tight end Tim Wright. As a rookie in 2013, Wright caught 54 passes and five touchdowns for the Bucs. Smith commented on the team’s tight end situation at his Tuesday press conference.
“We like the guys that we have left, Luke Stocker has had a good camp for us, of course Brandon [Myers] and of course Austin [Seferian-Jenkins] have had really great camps for us,” said Smith. “Everything that we talked about then is on the table right now, but we have a lot of options. You can play three tight ends, but you look at our receivers and we like a few of our receivers too. You just want to have the flexibility. If we want to go in that [three tight ends] package, we can. Whether it’s two, three or one receiver, we can do that.”
Rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has impressed in camp and is trying to make the most of every opportunity to improve.
“Every game means something to me, I’m sure it does to everyone else in this locker room,” he said. “Maybe it’s not a win or loss that goes towards the actual regular season record, but I think you can definitely get some more improvement and become a better player in these preseason games and that’s what’s most important, not just for myself, but for everyone that’s going to be playing on Thursday night. Just working on the fundamentals, getting better, trusting your calls and doing what we do, just playing football and having fun.”
With many players still fighting to make the roster—final cuts are this week—Gerald McCoy stressed to players to trust their instincts on the field.
“Don’t overthink it. You’ve been playing football your whole life,” he said. “You’ve been in training camp since July 25th, just don’t overthink it. It’s just another practice really and the same way you approach practice, you go out there, give it your all and work hard to get better – do the same thing. You know guys getting in the last preseason game, you see a lot of guys make mistakes and be uncharacteristic of what they usually do because they’re trying to impress, they’re trying to make a play. You don’t have to do that. Just go out there and do what it takes to make plays, don’t try and make them, let them come to you.”
Preseason statistical leaders:
Passing Yards: 261, Mike Glennon
Passing Touchdowns: Josh McCown
Rushing Yards: 68, Doug Martin
Receiving Yards: 96, Mike Evans
Receptions: 7, Vincent Jackson
Receiving Touchdowns: 1, Four tied
Tackles: 11, Three tied
Sacks: 2, Larry English
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