Which backups need to shine in today's preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans? Who needs to continue to show improvement, and who needs to redeem himself after a poor showing last week?
CB Myron Lewis
Myron Lewis was hyped throughout training camp, as the talented cornerback was said to have found some confidence and technique. None of that was visible in last week's preseason game, when the third-year player couldn't do anything right. Can he perform better this week, or will he continue to look lost and out of place in a secondary that is not filled with talent at defensive back?
Yep, another player who did poorly last week. Grimm didn't look like the sure tackler he had been in the past, and missed two tackles in the game. He got playing throughout all four quarters, but lacked the explosiveness in the run game he had shown in his first season in the NFL. Despite that, he remained ahead of backup Larry Asante in training camp this week. If he wants to hang on to that spot, he'll need to show more this week.
WR Tiquan Underwood
Underwood has been the star of training camp so far, and was certainly the star of the first preseason game. Can he continue to be the star? Will he perhaps get some reps with Josh Freeman this week? Underwood's roster spot appears to be safe, but he can earn significant playing time by showing up consistently throughout the preseason. Underwood could turn into a valuable deep threat for this offense - but he has to earn that spot, first.
The seventh-round rookie is fast and explosive, but stood very little chance last week, when the third-team offensive line couldn't open up any holes. Smith was constantly hit in the backfield through no real fault of his own. Meanwhile, he looked great as a kickoff returner, with two big returns late in the game. He's fighting Parker and Stroughter for that role, while trying to earn some snaps at running back at the same time. A good performance will go a long way to securing him a roster spot.
Of all the second-team defenders, one player jumped off the screen for me: Wallace Gilberry, a backup defensive end who played at the left side of the line. He looked especially good on stunts inside, and has the ability to play defensive tackle as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see him make it to the regular season roster if he can continue to show up on tape throughout the preseason.