TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 27: Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins is tackled by defender Da'Quan Bowers #91 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Another position battle not just at the bottom of the roster but throughout the entire roster is taking place at defensive end. Tonight's game will go a long way toward determining not only who ends up on the roster in the first place, but also who manages to get a lot of snaps. Michael Bennett and Adrian Clayborn are slotted to be the starters and hence shouldn't appear in tonight's game, but there are a lot of talented players behind them who will get significant snaps.
Bowers is pushing Michael Bennett for a starting role, but he isn't there yet, especially as a pass rusher. He is already slated to get a lot of snaps, especially as a run defender, but if he can continue to improve he will see more and more snaps throughout the season. I'd like to see him show more of his pass rush skills tonight, as those have not been spectacular so far this preseason.
Tim Crowder was re-signed this offseason, but has not really played great football this preseason. He looked much better against the Dolphins than he did before, but George Johnson and Kyle Moore are certainly pushing him for a roster spot. Crowder will have to show up tonight to make the roster, and will have to look good to get a lot of snaps. This position is very competitive this year.
As mentioned above, Moore is also pushing for a roster spot. Crowder, Moore and Johnson are fighting for one or two roster spot between them, and all three have shown something this preseason. Moore has looked completely different from previous years, when he was lackluster at best and seemed completely incapable of getting to the quarterback. This preseason he has been blowing up offensive tackles and has been a disruptive force on the defensive line.
Johnson is a second-year player who spent most of last year on the practice squad, but has made a real push to be on the roster this preseason. He has three sacks through three games and, like Kyle Moore, has looked disruptive against third-string defenses. The fact that the Bucs have so many legitimate (but admittedly unproven) options at defensive ends is a huge improvement over recent years.
Magee has played just a handful of snaps this preseason, and seems bound to disappear from the roster. Unless he has an insane game, there's no way Alex Magee sticks.