Two weeks from Sunday, the Buccaneers will take the field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to kick off the 2020 regular season against the New Orleans Saints.
So, what better time to head down the street from the AdventHealth Training Center for a scrimmage at Raymond James Stadium? That’s where Tampa Bay is headed on Friday, as the team is looking to ramp things with an intrasquad scrimmage in lieu of having actual preseason games to play.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians spoke with the media after Thursday’s practice and was asked plenty about the plans for Friday and what he’s looking to see from his team. More than anything else, it seems, Arians is looking for someone—anyone—to step up on special teams. He has sounded frustrated with the unit as a whole throughout training camp, and he had this to say on Thursday:
“Those young guys on special teams – I want to hear special teams for the first time. I’ve been watching it for a while now, but I want to hear it for the first time and then see who can make splash plays. Other than that, it’s just another normal practice for most of the guys.”
As for the change of scenery, Arians said he is looking forward to the energy boost that his guys should have when going from the facility to their home stadium:
“Some of the guys haven’t been in that building yet, so they haven’t been in that arena. The new guys get to taste it for the first time [and] see what it’s like. Obviously, the kickers, south endzone, [etc.]. Just go in and raise the energy level because we’re in a different environment.”
And, naturally, everyone is curious to know what’s in store for Tom Brady when he takes the field at his new home stadium for the first time. Arians said his workload will be largely determined by the offense’s efficiency, similar to how it would work in a true exhibition:
“It just depends on how it’s going – it’s just like preseason games. If you have a real good drive or two, that’s plenty. If you are three-and-out, three-and-out, you’re going to play some more.”
One big difference from a typical preseason game, however, is that the quarterbacks won’t have to deal with any contact. Asked about the possibility of his non-Brady quarterbacks getting hit on Friday, Arians had a pretty clear answer:
“Hell no. Nobody is touching a quarterback, that’s for sure.”
This is supposed to be the first of two scrimmages at Ray Jay, so we’ll see how the Bucs follow up after Friday. The next one would presumably be some time next week, as the following week will be all about preparing for the Saints.
*Transcript courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications