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Tampa Bay Buccaneers open preseason against Baltimore Ravens

He won't be on the field for more than a series or two, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman will have the opportunity to square off against the Baltimore Ravens' retooled pass rush.

He won’t be on the field for more than a series or two, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman will have the opportunity to square off against the Baltimore Ravens’ retooled pass rush.

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens (0-0) travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) in their preseason opener. Kickoff for the game, which has been blacked out locally due to poor ticket sales, is 7:30 p.m. ET.

Battle of the backups

After a disappointing 2012 campaign in which they fell to 7-9 and last place in the NFC South, the Buccaneers made some high-profile moves to shore up their weaknesses. Tonight will be the first opportunity fans have to see some of these new pieces in real-game action.

Head coach Greg Schiano has indicated that the starters “will be on the field for maybe about 10 snaps” — at most a series or two — so tonight looks to be an important milestone in the development of Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Mike Glennon (third round, 73rd overall). He will take the majority of snaps, so he must find a way to shake off the nerves and demonstrate that he has what it takes to back up fifth-year starter Josh Freeman.

Gangly at 6’7″ and a mere 225 lbs, Glennon is not the most strongly built of quarterbacks, so it will be interesting to observe his footwork and see how he handles pressure. On the other hand, he reportedly has a strong arm, and his height will give him an advantage as he scans the field over the heads of the offensive linemen.

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense can create turnovers, they will have a chance to beat the Baltimore Ravens.

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense can create turnovers, they will have a chance to beat the Baltimore Ravens.

Also in the spotlight will be tight end Tom Crabtree, lately of the Green Bay Packers, who will be looking to take over the starting job from the injured Luke Stocker. Known mainly for his blocking skills, Crabtree proved himself elusive and capable of scoring on memorable touchdown receptions the few times he was targeted in Green Bay.

Superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis, who remains a limited participant in practice while he rehabs a knee injury, will not play tonight, although general manager Mark Dominik has stated that Revis is “almost certain” to appear in the Bucs’ regular season opener against the New York Jets.

Retooling a champion

For their part, the Ravens lost several key contributors to their 10-6 season record and spectacular playoff run and had to retool at several positions: center, wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker, and safety. How they are able to adapt to the turnover will have a huge influence on the outcome of their 2013 season.

Head coach John Harbaugh has been tight lipped when asked how much the revamped starting lineup will play tonight: “We’re not going to play the starters the whole game. . . . We’ve got a plan.”

Historically, Harbaugh has played his starters for several series, but it’s thought that quarterback Joe Flacco might get extra reps this evening as he seeks to develop a rhythm with his young wide receivers. On display will be rookie fourth-round pick Tandon Doss, seventh-round selection Aaron Mellette, and third-year player David Reed, who has spent most of his career with the Ravens as a kick returner.

With the retirement of Matt Birk, center will probably be the most important position battle to watch in Baltimore this preseason. The three candidates for the job are Gino Gradkowski, rookie sixth-round pick Ryan Jensen, and A.Q. Shipley, acquired in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Superb protection from the offensive line factored heavily into Flacco’s dominant postseason run, so whoever takes over at center has big shoes to fill.

The game will be broadcast on several television outlets in the Baltimore viewing area.

The best efforts of the Buccaneers Cheerleaders probably won't be enough to propel Tampa Bay over the Baltimore Ravens in their preseason opener.

The best efforts of the Buccaneers Cheerleaders probably won’t be enough to propel Tampa Bay over the Baltimore Ravens in their preseason opener.

Prediction

There are few things more silly than trying to predict the final score of an NFL preseason game, but given the probability that Baltimore’s starting offense will play significantly more reps than Tampa Bay’s starters, it’s hard not to give the edge to the Ravens in this match-up. Harbaugh will probably want to get at least one or two touchdowns under his quarterback’s belt before retiring him for the evening.

Final score: Ravens 24, Buccaneers 17

913 comments
Sr Panda
Sr Panda

Drinking Budweiser out of a can...

Damn my working at the liquor store.

robertj72
robertj72

Does someone need to write up a preview for Chicago-Carolina or is that already covered?

nonstradamus
nonstradamus

“I like to hit guys hard so if Lauren Conrad and I ever go on a date, she will feel protected. -- Taylor Mays

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

The New Belgium Brewery is like the beer equivalent of Willy Wonka's factory.

If you're ever in the area, I suggest you take the tour.

The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

I spent 4 years in college but had the good fortune of never having to drink Keystone. 

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

There are way to many great beers out there to name... I like to try them all.

TheHairy1
TheHairy1

A grisly murder scene in South Miami has ended up on Facebook after the alleged killer posted a picture to the social networking site.

Derek Medina, 31, of South Miami posted a picture of his dead wife around three hours ago on a Facebook page attributed to him. Police found the woman’s body in the townhouse at 5555 SW 67 Avenue.

 “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news” my wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope you understand me.”

Childerz...
Childerz...

Best Beer Ever- Natural Ice or Steel Reserve. 

The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

The worst beers of all time:  Anything with "Milwaukee" in the name.  This includes Old, Best, Ice, and all others.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

Best Beers Ever:

Miller 64, Bud Light Lime, Billy Beer, and Carona light

The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

Miller High Life is acceptable if you are looking to get drunk off a cheap beer.

Childerz...
Childerz...

I have had yuengling once. and it was good 

Cheeky Bastard
Cheeky Bastard

lmao you can still buy Schlitz beer in some places. That was before my time, wouldn't mind trying it.

The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

Dos Equis Lager is the best.  Followed by (in no particular order) Yuengling, Sweetwater 420, Spaten, and Blue Moon.

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

A buddy and I drank a case of "best" and were so sick afterwards.. that shit is the best poison in Milwaukee.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

@___bp___

"He was bringing along a book in case he had a long wait before being called."

I wonder what the book was.

Cheeky Bastard
Cheeky Bastard

@Tearloch @ethan_fitz01 In terms of defensive defenseman, Lidstrom is the best. Orr was the much better scorer though, thus making him the most widely considered best defenseman