The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their preseason, and the entire NFL’s preseason, against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. After seven months without any Bucs football, it’s finally back! Albeit, you know, in disappointing preseason form. Boo.
The NFL preseason would have officially started this past Sunday, but some melting rubber messed up those plans, and the traditional Hall of Fame Game was cancelled. That means the Bucs now officially open the preseason, though they’ll only be watchable in a few areas, as only a few preseason games are widely broadcast every week.
This game will also pit two new head coaches against each other, both former offensive coordinators. Doug Pederson took over the head coaching role in Philadelphia, while Dirk Koetter now leads the Buccaneers. Both of them are hoping they can revitalize mediocre teams, but the Bucs likely have the better cards here: the Eagles are starting Sam Bradford and keeping their rookie quarterback on the bench for the entire season, or so they think, while the Bucs are going into year two with a promising Jameis Winston.
This is the first preseason game, though, so we won’t see too much of Winston or Bradford — or any of the other first-team players for that matter. Usually, teams will give their starters one or two series before turning things over to the backups, which means we may actually see a lot of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz tomorrow, with Mike Glennon and Ryan Griffin manning the Bucs’ offense.
The big thing to watch will be Tampa Bay’s defense, though. That’s the side of the ball the team has overhauled, and the side of the ball with most of the rookies. Noah Spence and Vernon Hargreaves should get some extended playing time, while we’ll also see some of new signing Brent Grimes and, hopefully, a newly rejuvenated Alterraun Verner. Plus, a new scheme — not a drastically different one, but hopefully one that is improved enough to give the team a much-needed boost.
Here’s how you can watch tomorrow’s game.
How to watch
When: 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, August 11
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
TV: WTTA (38 - Tampa), WOFL (FOX/35 - Orlando), WFTX (FOX/4 - Fort Myers), WTLH (FOX/49 - Tallahassee), WCAU (Cozi/10.2 - Philadelphia), Comcast Sportsnet (Philadelphia). Full listing over at 506 Sports.
Announcers: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
Live streaming: NFL GamePass