Wanted: Touchdown drive
“We’ve been working on it. We know that’s a point of emphasis, we weren’t ranked high in the red zone last year,” said
“It’s very important,” said
Prep for Tampa
“We’re putting a little emphasis on using the (scout team play) cards,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “We’re still not game planning as much as you would for a normal game, but what we’re trying to get the players used to is what the normal week during the season is like.”
EJ Manuel was pleased with how the offense performed against the looks of the Tampa Bay defense in practice this week.
“It went great going against a ‘scout team,’” said Manuel. “We did a great job. I don’t think we had the ball on the ground at all throughout the team period and the 7-on-7’s. We had all completions so I’m very excited about that and obviously want to keep that going.”
Buffalo’s defensive backfield will get good prep for their season opener. Going against the Buccaneers’ receiving corps, which features tall wideouts in Vincent Jackson and top draft choice Mike Evans, it will serve as the perfect simulation for their Week 1 matchup with Chicago’s tall receivers (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery).
“It’s perfect. We have an opportunity to play against some big receivers,” said Graham. “We know that going into the first week of the season it’s going to be very similar with the same type of receivers and things like that. We’re looking forward to having an opportunity to go out there and play against these guys and see how we match up with these guys and see what we can do.”
Kyle, Leodis, Sammy all question marks
Williams missed his first practice session of camp on Thursday. McKelvin injured his groin in practice Tuesday. Meanwhile Watkins is still recovering from the shot he took in his ribs from Ryan Shazier's knee at the end of a play that resulted in an incompletion. Head coach Doug Marrone only had one comment for Watkins' and McKelvin's status for Saturday.
"They are not cleared to play," said Marrone. "I can’t tell you anything more than that."
Marrone didn't rule the injured players out completely as far as Saturday is concerned, but confirmed they would not have played if the game were Thursday.
Smith’s Buccaneers squad is 0-2 in the preseason with losses to Jacksonville (16-10) and Miami (20-14). Tampa Bay’s head coach confirmed they too are treating their game against the Bills as a regular season contest knowing it will be the final dress rehearsal for the majority of their starters as well.
“Game plan is in. Guys are excited about playing for an extended period of time,” said Smith. “Not necessarily final opportunity, but for some of the players, it could be. Of course, cuts coming up next week and that’s important.”
Not expected to play for the Bucs on Saturday include CB Mike Jenkins, DE Da’Quan Bowers, DE Will Gholston, RB Charles Sims, RB Mike James.