JoeBucsFan Blog: Pre-Season Game 2 | News
Plenty of questions remain unanswered as the Bucs enter their second preseason game of 2012.
The Bucs' first-teamers played between one and two quarters last week in Miami and looked quite solid, albeit against what's probably a lousy Dolphins club. The Bucs were punishing on offense with a power running game attack. And the defense wasn't spectacular, but did hold Miami scoreless.
However, there were plenty of critical parts to the Bucs' game that weren't showcased or didn't look so hot. With that in mind, here's a few things to look for Friday night at Raymond James Stadium against Tennessee.
Vincent Jackson: He's the $55.55 million wide receiver the Bucs signed in the offseason. Jackson wasn't thrown to in Miami, and he and Josh Freeman hardly have perfect chemistry, as evidenced by some timing issues seen in practice. It's critical for those two to be in sync for the start of the regular season. Expect the Bucs to look toward Jackson in this game.
A Pass Rush: The Bucs were last in the NFL in sacks in 2012, and they didn't record a sack in Miami. Occasional pressure on the quarterback is nice, but good defenses record sacks. To generate pressure, look for the Bucs to blitz more, a hallmark of new head coach Greg Schiano's defenses.
Doug Martin: The prized rookie running back didn't run much last week behind the first team offensive line. LeGarrette Blount carried the load. Martin likely gets more of a chance to shine this time.
Mark Barron: The big-hitting rookie safety was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 draft and is penciled in as one the saviors of the Bucs' defense. But he's battled a toe injury and is expected to debut in this game. Barron has said he hasn't been able to deliver crushing hits in practice, a comment that has many Bucs fans salivating to see him let loose.
Attendance: Regular season games blacked out from local television have irked tens of thousands of Bucs fans over the past two years. Will things change in 2012? Maybe. And the reported attendance against Tennessee could shed light on how much Bucs season ticket sales have increased, if Friday's number is compared to last year's preseason home opener. With changes to the NFL blackout rule now allowing fewer seats to be sold to get a game on local television, a good attendance increase for this game might bode well for the regular season.