Preseason is not about winning games, although that's always nice to see. After all, the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions went 4-0 in that year's preseason. Instead, the preseason is about evaluating players. Because that's the focus of preseason, that's how I watch these games as well: I focus on a couple of players on each side of the ball to see how they do. A good preseason game can be the difference between starting or sitting on the bench, and between making the roster or never playing in an NFL game again. So, without further ado, here are the players I will specifically be watching on offense:
WR Dezmon Briscoe:
Briscoe showed some flashes late last season, but played very little. He has supposedly cemented his spot as the third receiver on the roster, behind Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn. With Benn likely limited at least in the volume of plays he will run as he's recovering from an ACL injury, Briscoe figures to get a lot of chances to show his skills.
T Jeremy Trueblood:
Despite being a poor pass blocker, Trueblood will start at right tackle against the Chiefs. While he has shown he can be a very good run blocker, pass protection has always been his problem. He's been an especially poor pass blocker these past two seasons, while he was at least adequate in 2008. Trueblood will likely see some of Tamba Hali coming at him on passing plays, so watch how he does in pass protection. If he looks as bad as he did last season, chances are he won't be the starter once the season starts.
T James Lee:
Of course, all that stands and falls with James Lee's performance. Lee will be the second team tackle, but if he outperforms Trueblood it won't be long before he's the first-string tackle. Likewise, if he struggles, it won't really matter how Trueblood looks. Lee will likely struggle as a run-blocker, but his strength is pass-blocking.
WR Ed Gant:
Gant won't show up with the first team, but he has been making a name for himself in training camp. Watch him to see if his training camp performance translates to game day.
Who will be the Bucs' go-to guy on third down? So far, the Bucs figure to rotate Earnest Graham and Kregg Lumpkin on third down, but Legarrette Blount has been making a push as well. Whoever is in as the third-down back, watch their pass-blocking: are they allowing free runners, and if they do get in position, do they actually block the rusher?
Who will you be watching on offense?