The third pre-season game is the all important dress rehearsal. It's the game in which that is more like a regular season game of any other. Most of the starters will be playing into the third quarter of the game.
Here are five players to watch, who will be fighting for jobs.
Williamson has been working as the number 2/3 receiver in most sets, but he's still going to need a decent showing to stick on the roster. He's only one of two receivers with elite speed on the team and he's also cheap, which will help him out when it comes down to cuts.
Similar to Williamson, Underwood posses elite deep speed. He showcased it in the first pre-season game, but hasn't done much since. Underwood is going to need another strong showing this week if he doesn't want to chance winding up on the practice squad again.
With Kynan Forney out for the game today, Manuwai is essentially auditioning for his job. Forney has played adequate at starting left guard, but he hasn't really put much distance between himself and the other competitors. With a strong showing, Manuwai can take back his starting job and ensure a roster spot.
Smiley has been a curious case for me. You keep hearing people say Manuwai has to win the job, because you can't sit $3.5 million on the bench. Well, if Smiley doesn't win the job you're sitting $2.5 million on the bench. A $2.5 million that's missed quite a few practices, cost you a conditional draft pick, and who missed the last game. I think Smiley is auditioning for a roster position above all else tonight.
As I wrote yesterday, this is an important game for Reggie Nelson as he is getting the start at free safety. Nelson needs to make some plays in the passing game to ensure a roster spot. He won't necessarily be the starting safety on opening day, but he'll be on the roster. Luckily for Nelson, Bucs starter Josh Freeman is out and the Bucs will be led by Josh Johnson.