The majority of starters for both teams will either be sitting out or playing limited reps, while the guys looking to make the roster or prove themselves will have their last opportunity to make an impression before roster cuts.
1. With the starters likely playing limited snaps, who are you hoping to see stand out in terms of young players and/or roster bubble guys?
Gil: I really need to see more from rookie running back Ronald Jones II. While he has shown a couple flashes, it seems like he is so far dancing too much behind the line of scrimmage. Granted the line up front hasn’t been great and his snaps have been limited, it would be nice to show a little something more heading into the regular season.
2. I watched the Buccaneers vs. Lions game last week, and I was actually pretty impressed by the play of Tampa’s makeshift offensive line. Still, though, the Bucs have a lot of injuries in the trenches on both sides of the ball. How big of a concern is this heading into the regular season?
Gil: I’m not really concerned by the “injuries” because a lot of those guys were just being held out. Now, if left tackle Donovan Smith misses a lot of time, then the offense could be in trouble — more specifically the quarterbacks.
3. How confident are you in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ability to lead the offense while Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the season?
Gil: He’s a good game manager. I think it would be best for him and the team to not ask him to do much. He’s been off target a few times this preseason, where as Winston has been accurate with the first, second, and third team guys fighting for a spot. So as long as Fitzpatrick can keep a lot of his plays underneath, the Bucs should be fine.
4. Are there any positions/players from the bottom of Jaguars’ roster that you think Tampa Bay should be scouting to bring in after cuts are made?
Gil: I think the Buccaneers and GM Jason Licht needs to be eyeing cuts this weekend very closely. Not just with Jacksonville, but from the entire league. They need to do something with the offensive line.
5. What is your season outlook for the Buccaneers? That is, record predictions, NFC South finish, playoff chances, or anything you want to mention.
Gil: I’m already on record saying Tampa Bay will finish 11-5. They’ll be in the playoffs with a record like that, and quite possibly sitting atop the NFC South.