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Bruce Arians talks preseason Week 3 play strategy

Bucs head coach answered media questions about his plans for what is traditionally referred to as the ‘dress rehearsal’

Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Week 3 of the preseason is traditionally the most exciting week for fans and media covering NFL teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Usually, this is when everyone gets to see the starting units play for the entire first half, and sometimes longer.

However, there’s been some speculation about whether or not new Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians will follow the trend or not. Considering he doesn’t necessarily follow most of the trends for an NFL head coach, it wouldn’t be surprising for Arians to go ‘off script’ as it were.

On Monday, he offered up some early insight into how long his starting unit will stay on the field against the Cleveland Browns saying, “[We have a] good test coming up. We’ll see how long we play [the starters] - that will depend on how well we do. I’ve never set in stone how many plays we’re going to play or how long we’re going to play. I’ve got to feel for that at the game.”

From a Bucs fan standpoint, most are probably hoping to see more of their starters. The team hasn’t played their first team offense much this preseason, and while the first team defense has been on the field more, it isn’t much more.

However, looking at Arians’ comments, the better the starters play the shorter amount of time they’ll be on the field it might seem. So fans hoping to see the first units longer, may want to change their hopes for Week 3.

I think it’s safe to say the starters will play more against the Cleveland Browns than they did against the Steelers and Dolphins. It’s also safe to say there’s a possibility of inclement weather dampening the field and playing conditions prior to the 7:30 PM kickoff time.

Asked about whether or not weather will play a role in play-time decisions Arian said, “No, we’ve got to play in it. [There’s] probably a good chance we’re going to have it in September.”

The reason weather comes up is injuries of course. Last Friday, on a rain soaked field with rain still falling for a good part of the contest, Ronald Jones and kicker Matt Gay both had scares involving their lower extremities which looked to be directly caused or aided by the quality of the surface they were playing on.

Not much a head coach can do about weather, but he can do something about those dealing with injuries, “[It] depends how minor - if it’s a bump or bruise, he’ll play.” said Arians, “If it’s a legitimate injury, he wouldn’t play.”

There’s a question my own coaches used to ask, “Are you hurt or are you injured?”. And this seems to be the situation for Arians and his players this week. Dare Ogunbowale is one such player who is feeling the strain from his heavy workload this preseason, yet is still out there competing.

Ronald Jones and Mike Evans were both absent from practice Monday, but coach Arians stated he feels good about Jones’ availability Friday while Evans seems to be a bit more of a question mark.

Speaking of Matt Gay. The rookie kicker has all but cemented his position on the team with his performance this preseason, including a game winning field goal against the Miami Dolphins.

However, this won’t stop Arians from giving both of his kickers a chance to lay down some live kicks.

For Buccaneers fans hoping to see Gay trot onto the field for the first long field goal try of the game this Friday night, coach Arians has other plans. “The first long field goal this week will go to Cairo.”

Santos’ best contribution to the team may very well come as trade bait. Especially if he nails a long kick against live competition.

For as much as we don’t know going into Week 3 of the preseason, Bruce Arians gave us about as much as we could hope for. Now comes the waiting to see just how much we’ll see Friday night against the Cleveland Browns.


How long do you want to see the starters play against the Cleveland Browns?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    One Series
    (18 votes)
  • 44%
    One Quarter
    (187 votes)
  • 39%
    The First Half
    (167 votes)
  • 1%
    Three Quarters
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    The Whole Game
    (5 votes)
  • 9%
    Seriously. The Bucs Gave Jason Licht Five More Years!?
    (40 votes)
423 votes total Vote Now