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Buccaneers hold out 15 players against Browns

Eight starters, including Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, will not suit up.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Training Camp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are holding out 15 players in tonight’s game against the Cleveland Browns, including starters Gerald McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Pamphile, Demar Dotson,

On defense, the Bucs are holding out starters defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Kwon Alexander and cornerback Brent Grimes. In addition, backups defensive end Justin Trattou, cornerback Josh Robinson, linebacker Devante Bond and defensive end Jacquies Smith will be out.

On offense, the Bucs will start the game without offensive linemen Kevin Pamphile and Demar Dotson, as well as wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. In addition, wide receiver Josh Huff and offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch will not play.

That’s a really long list of players, none of whom have particularly serious injuries except for Jacquies Smith. The Bucs are being very cautious with their injured players. Downside: Jameis Winston will have terrible pass protection against a strong defensive line, with limited targets to throw to.

Upside: plenty of backups will get a chance to show what they’re made of. With the starters expected to play into the second half, this may be the best chance many of them will get to earn a roster spot or regular season playing time.