Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins: 5 Matchups to Watch for Saturday Night
We've reached the third game of the preseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and to this point—we have seen two completely different outcomes in each preseason game.
When the Buccaneers took on the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, they dominated the Chiefs from start to finish and looked like a Bucs' team poised for a big 2011season.
We should see a good median of what the 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers truly have to offer for the upcoming season, as game three of the preseason is a "dress rehearsal" for the regular season.
With that being said, let's take a look at five of the biggest matchups heading into Saturday night.
Vontae Davis vs. Mike Williams
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This is about as appealing an individual matchup as we'll see, featuring two of the league's most promising young stars at their given positions.
Mike Williams caught 11 touchdowns as a rookie last season for Tampa Bay and emerged as quarterback Josh Freeman's No.1 receiver for years to come.
For Vontae Davis, this is looking to be the year he lives up to his 2009 first round draft selection and emerges as a top-tier corner in the NFL.
Who will prevail victorious in this enticing individual battle? Stay tuned.
Brandon Marshall vs. E.J. Biggers
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We all know how bad the Tampa Bay secondary looked as a whole last week against New England—it got ugly quick.
Miami quarterback Chane Henne is no Tom Brady though so the secondary, despite missing key players, should still be able to improve mighty on last week's performance.
That being said, the key matchup should be Biggers vs. Marshall, both of whom should be lined up together throughout the first three quarters of the game.
Marshall may have seen his numbers drop during the 2010 season, but he still has plenty of big-play potential in him so E.J. Biggers will have a lot on his plate Saturday night—nothing Biggers can't handle though.
Adrian Clayborn vs. Jake Long
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Oh yes, now were cooking.
Adrian Clayborn has been a training camp standout and has received nothing but praise from his teammates and head coaches.
For Buccaneer fans, that's great to hear, but seeing and hearing are two different things.
Clayborn has looked good in both of his preseason games don't get me wrong, but if he can go out against one of the NFL's top offensive tackles and beat him once or twice—Buccaneer fans would know Clayborn is going to be a special defensive end for years to come.
This should be a physical, hard fought battle in the trenches—making it the most anticipated matchup of the game that I for one will be focused on as long as it lasts.
Tampa Bay Offensive Line vs. Miami Defensive Line
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This is as general as a matchup can be, and not to sound like a broken record, but the Buccaneer offensive line was an absolute mess against the Patriots. They failed to open any running lanes, and were equally as bad in protecting quarterback Josh Freeman.
The unit as a whole will be worth keeping an eye on as long as the starters remain in the game.
Tampa Bay's offensive line is a seasoned veteran group of lineman, so a good performance on Saturday night would make last week's debacle look more like an anomaly than a trend—let's hope.
Gerald McCoy vs. Vernon Carey
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I can't help but feature defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in a matchup every week, because I'm waiting for that breakout game that will leave Buccaneer fans in awe.
McCoy was criticized for his post-game comments that essentially said Tom Brady was to good to be stopped last week.
If that's how McCoy wants to cope with getting it handed to him on defense, I'm fine with that, as long as he comes out the following week and looks more determined.
McCoy will be going against Vernon Carey who was a past first round pick by the Dolphins back in 2004, but was just recently moved from tackle to guard.
Fans are expecting their former No.3 overall pick to perform, will Saturday be that game?