The excuses are over.
Training camp has concluded, the evaluation period has just about come to an end and the real bullets begin to fly.
The reason why the third preseason game is so significant is because it's considered the "dress rehearsal." It's a measure of where the Buccaneers are thus far into the preseason.
It also gives the Buccaneers the chance to wash away the cleat marks left by the New England Patriots last Thursday night.
This game is also substantial for marquee players with something to prove.
Here's a list of five Buccaneers to keep an eye on this Saturday...
Buccaneers strong-side linebacker Quincy Black received a hefty pay raise before the start of training camp and most were confused about how much the four-year defensive veteran received.
It's not that Black didn't deserve a re-signing, but the $11.5 million signing bonus seemed excessive for a linebacker who has been average at best.
So far this 2011 NFL preseason, Black has six total tackles in two games and was found out of position multiple times during New England's blowout victory last Thursday night.
For someone accepting a lucrative deal, Black isn't playing up to expectations and fans ought to demand more even if it is only "preseason."
No one should fault him for receiving the pay increase, but for a defense vastly underachieving, Black needs to make himself more recognized on the field.
It may be up to E.J. Biggers to assume a potentially massive hit to the secondary with the uncertainty surrounding starting cornerback Aqib Talib's future stemming from his meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell due to his alleged shooting involvement back in March.
Biggers has had an excellent training camp and has played well in both preseason games, but will have to accept the task of shutting down the opposition's top wide receiver if Talib is indeed suspended for an extended period of time.
When Talib went down with a hip injury towards the end of the 2010 regular season, Biggers filled in extremely well, and, according to Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, the next man has to step up when the starter goes down.
Well, Mr. Biggers, time to step up and show what you can do.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy received a ton of mixed feelings after the loss to New England.
According to The Boston Globe, the former third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft attempted to instill levity to a dejecting situation during his postgame press conference.
Some tend to think McCoy was just having fun and was trying to lighten the mood after an embarrassing loss. Others feel McCoy, as the self-proclaimed leader of the Buccaneers defense, was reflecting his play on the field during the press conference.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, Morris said McCoy was one of the lone bright spots during the loss, but that's coach speak to build his player up.
As much as Morris wants to take up for his player, McCoy was pushed around all over the place against the Patriots and appeared gassed after one quarter.
What exactly is Earnest Graham's role this season? Is he supposed to be the heir to Cadillac Williams? Is he a fullback? Change-of-pace running back?
In the first two preseason games, Graham has zero rushing attempts, three catches for 25 yards and a missed blocking assignment against New England which nearly got quarterback Josh Freeman decapitated. Granted, the entire offensive line looked uninterested and intimidated against the Patriots.
But, to put in simply: Is Graham taking up a roster spot?
Graham's dependable track record is the main reason why the Buccaneers staff have kept him on board. While filling in for the oft-injured Williams, Graham rushed for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns back in 2007. He also hauled in 49 receptions for 324 yards.
With young, hungry running backs like Kregg Lumpkin, Allen Bradford and Armando Allen catching Morris' attention, can the Buccaneers coaches continue to keep Graham on the roster because of one good season nearly four years ago?
Neither Jeremy Trueblood or James Lee are impressing anyone during the preseason, and both were exposed against the Patriots.
Morris has a major dilemma with his right tackle position. Trueblood is struggling against quicker defensive ends, while Lee can't stop grabbing onto players and committing penalties.
There really is no alternative, and one of the two have to step up and take the reins of the starting right tackle spot or else the opposition will apply pressure to the right, giving Freeman little time to execute plays from his front side.
Is it just the complexity of dealing with a 3-4 defense confusing both players? If so, then blame falls on offensive line coach Pat Morris for not preparing his players and adjusting to the schemes.
Note to both Lee and Trueblood: The Dolphins run a 3-4.