Dolphins vs Buccaneers Preseason Preview: 10 Players to Watch

Kasey ScottAnalyst IAugust 26, 2011

Dolphins vs Buccaneers Preseason Preview: 10 Players to Watch

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    Entering the third week of the preseason the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a few questions they will need to address prior to the start of the 2011 NFL season. 

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked very impressive in the first week of the preseason then go blown out last week against the Patriots. They will have some defensive questions to address.

    Miami is undefeated thus far in the preseason, although Tampa Bay will surely test them. 

    Lets dive in and check out what should be a very exciting battle of Florida teams. 

10) Miami Dolphins—Jason Taylor

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    Jason Taylor is quickly approaching the end of his career, as he will be 37 prior to the start of the 2011 NFL season. 

    After a one year stint with the rival Jets, Taylor returns for his 13th season as a Miami Dolphin. Taylor currently is second on the depth chart at outside linebacker behind Koa Misi.

    Taylor has yet to make an impact for the Dolphins in the preseason, as he has zero tackles and really could make the competition tough at outside linebacker with a solid preseason game against the Bucs.

9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Rhonde Barber

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    Rhonde Barber, at the ripe age of 36, is still doing things down in Tampa. He is no longer the number one corner on the Bucs, but he still remains a solid corner. 

    Barber will have his hands full against Miami since he will likely be matched up on Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Both receivers are speedsters and will test the speed of Barber.

    The Bucs secondary is not a concern for the Bucs, as they were seventh against the pass in 2010. 

8) Miami Dolphins—Kevin Burnett

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    Kevin Burnett has improved in almost every season since the year he was drafted. In 2010 Burnett recorded 95 total tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions. 

    Burnett and Karlos Dansby will combine to be one heck of a linebacker tandem, as both should be leaders in tackles for the team.

    Burnett's four tackles stat in the Dolphins last preseason game was tied for second on the team with Dansby. Look for Burnett to be an anchor not only against the Bucs but also going forward this season.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Arrelious Benn

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    Most people forget the fact that Arrelious Benn was drafted two rounds prior to Mike Williams in 2010.

    In 15 games in 2010 Benn put up only 25 receptions, 395 yards, and two touchdowns. Expectations for Benn have been raised in 2011.

    Benn has not played in any preseason game in 2011 because of a knee injury. Benn will play against the Dolphins and will certainly be a focus of the Bucs offense. 

6) Miami Dolphins—Mike Pouncey

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    With the 15th pick overall in the 2011 NFL draft the Dolphins nabbed center Mike Pouncey. 

    Pouncey will instantly be slotted as the starting center and will need to be an anchor of the Dolphins offensive line. Pouncey has looked very solid thus far.

    Though the Dolphins have only allowed three sacks through the first two preseason games, Pouncey will need to continue to improve.

5) Miami Dolphins—Sean Smith

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    Sean Smith has a great opportunity to make his presence felt on the Dolphins defense, as he is pencilled in as the starting cornerback opposite Vontae Davis.

    Smith is in his third season and the Dolphins expect big things from him in 2011. He recorded 51 tackles and one interception in 2010. 

    Arrelious Benn will likely be going up against Smith in what will will be a key matchup for both teams. Smith has only one interception in his career and he must improve as an all around corner in 2011.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Da'Quan Bowers

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    Da'Quan Bowers was regarded as a top 10 pick prior to his offseason knee surgery. Bowers fell to the Bucs in the second round with the 51st pick overall. 

    Bowers has yet to make an impact thus far in the preseason and the Bucs would like to see something from him prior to the start of the season. 

    Because of how far he fell from original projections in the 2011 NFL Draft, Bowers should be the hungriest player from the 2011 NFL Draft class.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Josh Freeman

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    Expectations for Josh Freeman in 2011 are through the roof after a stellar 2010 campaign. Freeman threw for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2010.

    In fact, all Freeman did in 2010 was win games and most of those wins came late. Freeman has had an average preseason in 2011 going 14-23 for 106 yards with no touchdowns or interception. 

    But he was less than impressive against the Patriots last week and must work out some kinks in this week's game against the Dolphins. 

2) Miami Dolphins—Chad Henne

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    Chad Henne was arguably the most criticized quarterback during the offseason not named Tim Tebow. The fans cried for Kyle Orton, but the team went a different route and committed to Henne.

    Henne looked very impressive against the Carolina Panthers last week going 15-24 for 194 yards. Brandon Marshall and Henne looked in sync, which is a very good thing, as they never looked quite on the same page in 2010. 

    After a bad start in week one of the preseason followed by a good start in week two, all Miami Dolphins fans are waiting to see exactly which Chad Henne will show up in week three. 

1) Miami Dolphins—Reggie Bush

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    Up until the Reggie Bush trade rookie running back Daniel Thomas had the starting spot locked up.  However, Reggie Bush has simply outplayed Thomas during the preseason and will be the starter for the regular season. 

    Last week against the Panthers, Bush had eight carries for 48 yards. Bush also brought in two passes for 33 yards. 

    Reggie Bush is one of the most explosive players in the NFL and will be the lead back in Miami. Look for Bush to stay hungry and continue to out-produce rookie Daniel Thomas.