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Preseason Week 1 Preview: @ the Dolphins

In preparation for Saturday’s game against the Dolphins, Raheem the Dream seems to be daydreaming. The predicted 12-snap playing time for the exciting first units has drawn the ire of fans and even former Bucs coach Tony Dungy.

The Bucs might want to scout the opponent’s CBs and DEs, positions which the Phins are thick in talent. Miami’s top four corners are promising. As intriguing as remaining corners Nate Ness and Nolan Carroll are, it’s possible they decide to keep five of them onto their 53-man roster. The Dolphins have done a great job of bringing in top defensive prospects from past drafts who failed to live up to their draft position at their first stops: Titans 2004 3rd round pick DE/DT Randy Starks, Raiders 2007 3rd round pick LB Quentin Moses, and 2007 Lions 2nd round pick DE Ikaika Alama-Francis. Will the coordinators have the newest Bucs ready to test out, sixth TE Martin Rucker and S Vince Anderson?

At linebacker and corner, it will be difficult to believe they will make giant strides in allowing fewer big plays on in just one off-season, however it will be nice if they can at least pick up where they left off last season. Hopefully, the Dolphins will get a look at the speed of Quincy Black and Geno Hayes.

It would be nice if Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning would inject a lot of wildcat and five-wide looks, particularly with the first team, to give the Buccaneers’ first team defense stuff they don’t see in practice. It would be encouraging if some of the players, not just ones who did get multiple turnovers last year, could come up with a takeaway. Ricky Williams may have gone 6 years between 1000 yard seasons, but he was a top-10 back last year and has fresher legs than most his age. Oh, and the more plays the young Bucs like Lewis and Mack can get against one of the most dominant one-one-one receivers in the NFL, Brandon Marshall, the better. They should have scheduled inter-squad practices.

I don’t read too much into the depth chart, but the Michael Clayton Cut Watch is in full swing, with him listed as fourth string.

Having no Talib and Ruud, two of the players that need the least amount of practice, would be a blessing in disguise. It means more meaningful snaps for their back-ups and, in the case of corner, would mean a player who is going to get tested in nickel and dime sets starting week 1. Hey, if Raheem only wants to play the starters 12 snaps, then these guys aren’t missing much.

I hope the 12-snaps plan means almost a full half for Rudy Carpenter to either surprise or induce a roster move. All in all, you don’t watch these games for the outcome and I hope if the first team gets in the red zone they will get 7 to give the team some confidence. There are just so many young players that it’s a shame they aren’t taking full advantage of the four preseason games. We will still have the RG, WR, and CB battles.

TV and radio: CBS4 has coverage in Miami and NBC2 is airing it in Southwest Florida. NFL Network will air it live at 7 Eastern. Sirius Radio channel 90 will have the Bucs broadcast.


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