Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jaguars, 7:30 p.m. Saturday
It is the second week of the preseason and these two squads already lined up Wednesday and Thursday for joint practice sessions. The teams were able to hit someone other than their first opponents – the Jets and Eagles. Jacksonville is looking for a quick start again, this time in its preseason home opener.
The Bucs are in year two of what appears to be a long Jameis Winston career. The defensive line is really good with rookie Noah Spence, Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers, so the Jags offensive line will have its hands full Saturday night.
Saturday has been named “Football Night in Jacksonville,” as Jacksonville Armada FC will play Minnesota United FC at 2:30 p.m. They moved it up from 7 p.m. to make Saturday a full day of football for Jax sports fans. If you show your Bucs-Jags ticket at the Community First Park box office, you will receive 50 percent off an Armada-Minnesota ticket.
Meeting: 11th time in the preseason. The Jaguars lead the preseason series, 7-3.
The last non-regular season matchup was in August 2014 when Bortles was 7-for-11 with 117 yards as the backup. After seeing him in game mode for the first time, the Jacksonville-Bortles love affair officially started.
The Bucs defeated the Jaguars in week five last year, 38-31. Doug Martin flashed for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Bortles showed his passing prowess with 303 yards and four TDs.
With Saturday’s game, Tampa Bay will tie the Atlanta Falcons as Jacksonville’s most common preseason opponent. However, Atlanta will make it 12 when the two play on Sept. 1.
Humble-brag to Bucs fans:
Rick Stroud, who covers the Bucs for the Tampa Bay Times, said on radio this week that the Jaguars are a year ahead of the Bucs. He likes what Jacksonville has done on offense while building a strong defensive line and secondary.
Jaguars DT Roy Miller spent his first four seasons with the Buccaneers. We are glad the Jaguars will have the line-clogger beginning his fourth year in Jacksonville. Thank you, Tampa Bay.
Connections to the River City:
There are probably more than we have time to mention. You have places to be. Gus Bradley was in Tampa Bay for his first stop in the pros. In 2006, he was defensive quality control and then the linebackers coach for 2007 and 2008.
TB head coach Dirk Koetter’s first pro job was the Jaguars offensive coordinator from 2007-11. He was with Mike Smith in Atlanta for three years before heading to the Bucs.
Mike Smith was the Jaguars defensive coordinator (2003-07) under Jack Del Rio before spending seven years (2008-14) as the Atlanta Falcons head coach. He is now Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator.
There are 11 players from Florida colleges or universities now playing for Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston and Vernon Hargreaves are the ones Noles and Gators fans know best.
LB Daryl Smith was a beloved Jaguar for what felt like a decade (2004-12). Jags fans still mention his name on a monthly basis. Before joining the Bucs this season, he was a Baltimore Raven for three seasons.
Another fan-favorite is former Jaguar defensive end Paul Spicer (2000-08). He is currently the Bucs assistant defensive line coach.
A third-round pick in 2012, the former Jaguars punter turned down a contract from Jacksonville’s organization to join Tampa Bay. He is now in a training camp punting competition. We left out his name because the wound is still somewhat fresh.
What to Watch:
The Jags had a quick start to begin the preseason. Blake Bortles should have gone 7-for-7 passing if not for a Julius Thomas drop. Bortles threw for 105 yards and found Allen Robinson for a 45-yard gain – the longest play of the game. Let’s see if that continues in tomorrow’s first quarter.
Jonas Gray (quad) was placed on the waived/injured list on Wednesday, which takes him out of the RB competition. Denard Robinson had seven carries for 23 yards in game one, while Corey Grant had three catches for nine yards and returned a kickoff 23 yards. Does Denard or Grant take the lead after the Bucs game?
Chris Reed started at left guard one week ago and was in for 69 snaps. Luke Joeckel was the left tackle for 40 snaps. It seems like the left side of the offensive line is getting more solidified. TV/radio personality Brent Martineau said Thursday that people inside the organization thought the Jets game was Joeckel’s best game at left tackle as a pro.
Is Sen’Derrick Marks really on the bubble? He came in for nine snaps last week and was the team’s best player two seasons ago.
Trying to Figure Out:
Defenders Jalen Ramsey and Tashaun Gipson were held out versus the Jets for precautionary reasons. Will we see them play this weekend? And can they be effective like we’ve seen in camp sessions?
Can Sam Ficken (great name for a Lord of the Rings character) get in for more than one kickoff? Jason Meyers was a captain last week and made 2-of-2 field goals.
Rookie DT Sheldon Day (back) and free agent LT Kelvin Beachum (knee) did not play in New Jersey. Will they be back in time for the Bengals game?
How to Listen:
1010XL and 92.5 FM will air the game, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Pre-game coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. Frank Frangie will handle the play-by-play, with Jeff Lageman and Tony Boselli providing analysis and Rick Ballou on the sidelines.
Where to Watch:
Sam Kouvaris and Mark Brunell will have the call for WJXT-TV Channel 4. Nikki Kimbleton will serve as field reporter.