Bucs prepare to open preseason against Bengals

by Gary Shelton on August 10, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Grimes is helped off after a leg laceration./CARMEN MANDATO

Grimes is helped off after a leg laceration./CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 3 a.m.

One premiere is over. The other is scheduled for Friday night.

That one might have a few knocks that are hard, too.

The Bucs, the new darlings of HBO, travel to Cincinnati for their first preseason game Friday night against a Bengals team that has been a regular in the first round of the NFL playoffs. As usual, the starters are expected to play for the first quarter. (It will increase to the first half next week and into the third period in Week Three.)

Already, however, the Bucs are facing a fearsome adversary … injuries. Cornerback Brent Grimes suffered a leg laceration at practice Thursday. There is no update as to his possible availability for the Bengals' game.

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McCoy and Alexander celebrate a sack./CARMEN MANDATO

McCoy and Alexander celebrate a sack./CARMEN MANDATO

“It was a laceration,” Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter said. “I think he got a spike. It was kind of a nasty-looking laceration on his shin. I think he’ll be fine.”

Koetter said he was looking forward to seeing his young players perform.

“You want to see some of these guys — you know what your veterans can do — you want to see what some of the young guys, some of the new guys, can do,” Koetter said. It’s exciting. You know, it’s part of the process of getting ready for the season and preseason is a valuable part of the evaluation.”

Peyton Barber will see plenty of action against Bengals./CARMEN MANDATO

Peyton Barber will see plenty of action against Bengals./CARMEN MANDATO

The highlight for the Bucs will be to see how the receivers work with Jameis Winston, how backup quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin compete, how No. 3 cornerback Ryan Smith plays.

“Ryan Smith has been solid,” Koetter said. “He is a great example of a guy who, we know what (Vernon) Hargreaves and [Brent] Grimes are going to do. Ryan Smith is going to get a lot of snaps. It will be fun to watch him.”

As usual, one of the key battles will be for guys you don't want to see play. Fitzpatrick is a longtime NFL veteran (116 starts), but Griffin is giving him a run.

“Way better (than last year), Koetter said. He’s getting a lot more reps number one. He knows he’s not the No. 3. He knows he’s fighting for a job. He’s doing a good job.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium.

Winston will play one quarter against the Bengals./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston will play one quarter against the Bengals./CARMEN MANDATO

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