TAMPA- NFL preseason football action starts up with the annual Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. Then the following weekend is when everything really ramps up as every NFL team will have a preseason game, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers will open up preseason action on Saturday, August 14th against the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that will likely see very limited, if any, playing time for who we may see as the opening day starters. Players like Tom Brady, Mike Evans and Devin White most likely will be held out as precautionary measures against any chance of injury.
Taking on a Bengals team that is well on their way to being a much improved team compared to the last couple of years is evident in the development of quarterback Joe Burrow. The former LSU signal caller came onto the scene in 2020 on fire before he tore his MCL and ACL. Burrow is on track to play in Week 1 of the regular season but will likely not see any time in the preseason game against Tampa Bay.
While one career has just begun in Burrow’s, the opposite side starting quarterback’s just seemingly will never end in Tom Brady. Brady, who just turned 44 years old, looks to defeat “Father Time” and wants to guide Tampa Bay to consecutive Super Bowl championships but to do that will need to be at the top of his game. Brady was injured for all of the 2020 season with an MCL injury but went ahead and played through it.
It remains to see if the league office will lay down any fines or suspensions in regards to the covering up of Brady’s injury but one thing is certain: the Buccaneers could be even better than last year. Tampa Bay was 7-5 before going 8-0 the rest of the way and started to peak at the perfect time. Wins against the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons twice had the Buccaneers on point in the playoffs.
Both teams are in somewhat different directions when it comes to 2021 goals, as the Buccaneers are more of a “Super Bowl or bust” kind of team and the Bengals would be happy if they could just reach the postseason altogether. The preseason will be different once again, as games are limited down from four games to three but the regular season has now been extended from 16 contests to 17.
Kickoff for the game is on Saturday, August 14th and start time is 7:30 pm at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers’ other two preseason games will be against the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans. Tampa Bay will kick off the NFL 2021 regular season against the Dallas Cowboys on September 9th for Thursday Night Football.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.