The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to face the Washington Redskins on Thursday, in the final game of the preseason for both teams. Tampa Bay is hoping to turn around the worst pass defense in the NFL after several key free agent signings and the big trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis.
As with nearly all of these final preseason games, don't expect many starters to even put the pads on for either team. Both teams are already looking ahead to the season opener in just over a week's time, with the Redskins set to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening Monday Night Football game of the season.
Meet the Redskins
The defending NFC East champions have yet to get Robert Griffin III out on the field in the preseason, and he certainly won't be playing in the final game of the exhibition season. The dynamic quarterback is set to start in the season opener, however, with the Redskins preparing for a strong year after their breakout season in 2012.
The Redskins have little to complain about so far this preseason and are coming off a 30-7 beating of the Buffalo Bills. Rex Grossman is making a serious push for the backup spot over Kirk Cousins, throwing for 171 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-21 passing.
Meet the Buccaneers
Once again, a home game for the Buccaneers will be blacked out locally as the requisite 85 percent of non-premium seats were not sold. A league-worst pass defense has been shored up in the offseason, which should help the franchise retain it's proud defensive reputation once more and, in return, hopefully get the stadium filling back up.
There is still some concern on offense, however, with Josh Freeman coming off a poor performance against Miami in the Week 3 dress rehearsal game. The veteran quarterback went 6-for16 for 59 yards and took five sacks while losing a fumble in the game, with the offense as a whole managing just 160 total yards and 14 first downs in the game.
Local Takes: Redskins
Sean R. Patterson of Hogs Haven has been surprised by the performance of backup quarterback Rex Grossman this preseason:
Rex Grossman- Rex Grossman has played extremely well during his snaps in the preseason and looks like he could start a game in the Redskins offense. That is a sentence I thought I would never type. Rex only threw one really bad interception during the Steelers/Redskins preseason game, but tight end Jordan Reed admitted after the game that he ran the wrong route and the interception was not all Rex's fault. Grossman has commanded the first team offense well and beat up on the second team defenses, as any veteran quarterback should. Rex has been quite the surprise for me this preseason. The third string quarterback competition is the most intense quarterback competition in camp this season. Just the way I like it.
Local Takes: Buccaneers
Sander Philipse of Bucs Nation is already looking past this final preseason game and is encouraged that cornerback Darrelle Revis is likely to play in the season opener:
Darrelle Revis likely won't play in Thursday's preseason game (although and has yet to suit up in a Buccaneers uniform. But the veteran cornerback has ramped up his participation in practice over the past two weeks. There's no reason to believe he won't be ready to take on Jeremy Kerley and Geno Smith in the season opener. Not that the Buccaneers are likely to need him.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Final roster cuts to 53 must be made by Saturday, 6pm EST. 8 man practice squad signing allowed next day on 9/1.— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) August 28, 2013
Seeing some cryptic player tweets come across your timeline on cut day is always fun— Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) August 27, 2013
@RCummingsTBO - Bucs beat reporter
Oh, boy is Bucs coach Greg Schiano ever on his game at practice today. We're seeing and hearing circa 2012 kind of stuff. Details to follow— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) August 28, 2013
@MikeJonesWaPo - Redskins beat reporter
.@RevSetz no news on Tanard Jackson. He's not eligible to apply for reinstatement until 8/31 and league doesn't have to rule right away.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) August 28, 2013
The Redskins are favorites by just the slightest of margins, giving up just one point for the final preseason game, according to OddsShark.com.