Bucs looking at backups against Titans

by Gary Shelton on August 21, 2021

in general

Arians won't see his stars play./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 3 a.m.

You wonder. Will even Bruce Arians pay close attention? Or might he designate a backup head coach?

The Bucs play their second preseason game tonight, and once again, it's going to be a contest to decide the last four-five spots on the roster. Call it a night the stars won't come out. If you play, it's a comment on your status on the team.

So why should even the biggest Bucs' fan watch?

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Because of this:

1). Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert: Arians has called Gabbert "the most underrated player in the NFL." But if, heaven forbid, something happens to starter Tom Brady, could Gabbert keep the Bucs' afloat? That's unproven, but it does appear that Gabbert will enter the season as the No. 2 quarterback ahead of rookie Kyle Trask. A good showing tonight could solidify Gabbert's standing.

2). The flags: The Bucs have to cut down on their penalties. Early last season, that was the destroyer of drives for the Bucs' offense, and Tampa Bay wasn't able to avoid them last week in their loss to Cincinnati.

3.) The wide receivers: The Bucs' main group isn't likely to play, but there is some competition going on with Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden and Travis Mickens. Darden and Mickens will compete for the return job, so look for someone to break one and get a grip on the job.

4.) Joe Tryon-Shoyinka: He's still trying to make a name for himself, but now, that name is longer. Tryon-Shoyinka has had an impressive camp, and he had a sack (nullified by a penalty the official admitted was a bad call). A team can always use pass-rushers, so it's easy to envision a mix with Shaq Barrett, Jason-Pierre Paul and Tryon-Shoyinka.

5) Kyle Trask: Trask is unlikely to see much playing time barring injury and ineffectiveness, but he has a chance to show that there is something there.

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