10 Things to Watch Along With Arians

by Gary Shelton on August 23, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston needs another sharp outing./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 3 a.m.

It is practice. It is a dress rehearsal. It is a little football in the middle of stretching.

But in the NFL, the third week of the preseason is the closest the league gets to actual football.

In other words, if you want a clue as to what these Bucs will be, tonight will be your final chance to see it. Next week will be played mostly by players who won’t make the final roster. But tonight might hold a hint or two whether these Bucs will indeed be better.

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Tanner Hudson needs to get notice blocking./TIM WIRT

So, if you’re coach Bruce Arians, where do you look?

Ten areas worth scrutiny.

1. Jameis Winston, quarterback: Arians will look first of all to his quarterbacks. Winston has been sharp in two brief appearances. But with a little longer test, how will he do. And can Ryan Griffin out-impress Blaine Gabbert, or was that a closed competition all along.

2.Cairo Santos, kicker: For most of us, Matt Gay has already won the kicking competition. A team doesn’t throw away kickers who can hit from a half a field away. But Arians brings up Santos every time the kickers come up, which means he still has a chance.

3. Breshad Perriman, receiver: Arians says he’s seen enough for Perriman to make the roster. Still, it wouldn’t be bad to see a long catch from him. Justin Watson still needs to make an impact.

4. Tanner Hudson, tight end: Hudson has been the receiving star of the team. But Arians would like to see him block better, which is the primary job of a backup tight end. A great night of blocking would exceed a game-winning catch.

5. Dare Ogunbowale, running back: Ogunbawale does the little things well, but he hasn’t broken loose with a defining run. He needs to.

6. Devin White, linebacker: White hasn’t made the great open field crunching tackle you expect from your middle linebackers. The Bucs are sure it will come, but a clue might be nice.

7. Jamel Dean, cornerback: Dean showed signs of being an impact player in the secondary last week. More, please.

8. Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle: How much does Suh have left? It would be nice to see him dominate the middle to convince us.

9. Scottie Miller, wide receiver: Miller has been hurt much of the preseason, but he needs to catch up to the pack if he’s going to make this team.

10. Shaq Barnett, linebacker: The Bucs need a strong pass rush. Barnett would be a good place to find it.

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