The offensive line problems with the Dolphins was well documented last year. With a scandal midway through the season that saw a lineman quit the team and another suspended for being a meany, the Fins are another team like us and the Jaguars who have retooled their front five. Unlike the Bucs and Fins, who decided to populate their line with inexperienced lineman, the Dolphins went with tried and true veterans.
Mike Pouncey #51, the starting center and 2013 pro bowl selection for the Miami Dolphins, will not be playing due to injury. He is the lone lineman held over from last year. In his place will be Samson Satele #69, a 7 year veteran who has played for Oakland and Indianapolis in his first year with Miami. #67 Daryn Colledge will be starting at left guard with 8 years experience at Green Bay and Arizona. #71 Albert Branden will be starting at left tackle with 6 years experience with Kansas City. This is also his first year with Miami. James Ja’Wuan #72, a rookie and the least experienced on the line, is Miami’s starting right tackle.
None of the starting front five for this preseason game have ever played together and this is all their first year at Miami. They run a zone blocking scheme like the Bucs which requires extensive communication and teamwork. Their line has not had much time to play and gel together so our defensive front should get through them quite often. If we do not register consistent pressure, a sack, and less than 3 yards average running then this should be seen as a failure for the defensive front first unit against their offensive first unit.
#21 Brent Grimes and #24 Cortland Finnegan both are now playing and starting for the Dolphins. Dashon Goldson #38 will be returning for the Buccaneers at safety. He will probably have limited playing time as the team probably wants to get him worked in slowly.
Charles Sims #34 rookie RB for the Buccaneers will not play due to injury. He is going to be out for 12-14 weeks after having ankle surgery.
Things to look for with the Buccaneers:
- The performance of the offensive line. The whole unit should play better than last week. Jace Daniels, who has been taking first team reps at right guard after the line’s abysmal showing in week 1, is someone to watch as we know nothing about his ability. Miami’s defense is a bit better than the Jaguars so the unit will be facing stiffer competition this week and will have to step it up.
- The play of the defensive line both first and second strings. Last weeks defensive performance against a young and new offensive line was a bit disappointing. Our big free agent pick up, #90 Michael Johnson, needs to make some noise, as do our second string defensive lineman. They are going up against another group of offensive lineman who have not played together before so it should be easy pickings for our defense.
- Speaking of pickings, I want to see some takeaways on defense. We had 0 last week while the Jaguars had 2. Lovie preaches takeaways and he has big shoes to fill. The Buccaneers were third in takeaways last year with 31 (21 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries). If he does not at least hit that mark this season then it will be considered a regression in that area.