The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter 2022 with most of the same principle parts with which they’ve thrived over the past two years. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans have made some significant changes since the end of last season and will learn a lot more about their skill position players in the coming weeks.
The Buccaneers fell in their preseason opener to the Miami Dolphins, though by a slim margin. Kicker Jose Borregales missed a field-goal attempt in the closing seconds, underscoring how much talent Tampa has even without Tom Brady under center.
As for the Titans, superstar running back Derrick Henry remains their offensive centerpiece, one that will likely see little to no action during the preseason. The team kept him inactive last week while giving long looks at multiple backups.
With Brady not expected to play, Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask will again carry the load for the Buccaneers. Gabbert has served as the backup quarterback in Tampa the past two seasons and appears on his way to doing so again. However, the team invested a second-round pick in Trask last year and presumably wants to see him live up to that investment. Barring injury, he should again see most of the snaps under center.
Likewise, another heavy workload for tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn seems reasonably likely. The third-year pro led the backfield in touches a week ago and remains in the running for a larger role in 2022.
Which Bucs will play, expected inactives
...continuing with Bucs not expected to play tonight: Shaq Mason, Devin White, Tristan Wirfs, Cam Brate, Julio Jones, Akiem Hicks. https://t.co/VHdgG97W5T— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 20, 2022
We know we won’t see Tom Brady and many of the receivers are currently injured, including Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
We also won’t see Leonard Fournette:
I’d think Vaughn starts, Rachaad White plays a good amount and Patrick Laird gets to close it out. https://t.co/1ckhLHSjjQ— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 20, 2022
Ryan Tannehill remains the starter in Nashville, but Malik Willis demonstrated enough excitement in his NFL preseason debut to excite Titans fans about the future. Willis entered the league as a project and that still holds true, but he moved the ball with more efficiency last week than most anticipated. Willis should see even more work against the Buccaneers.
Fellow rookie Julius Chestnut also has a chance to show whether he can replicate the good from last week’s performance. The first-year tailback led the team in rushing with seven carries for 44 yards but also lost a fumble. He’ll need to avoid a similar mistake if he hopes to make the roster.
Perhaps most importantly, first-round pick Treylon Burks would do well to show off his talents on the field. He saw just one target a week ago and hasn’t flashed in camp. Compared to the hype surrounding other members of the rookie receiver class, Burks has some ground to make up. He cannot no-show again, especially when facing defenders unlikely to make a 53-man roster.
Which Titans will play, expected inactives