Week four of the preseason is predominantly a week where the backups get all the playing time to preserve the health of the starters. But with the roster cuts looming as each team has to go from 90 players to a 53-man roster, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians still has some room left to decide the final number.

The starters and second-string players are mostly set, but Arians said on Monday that there are still about 10 positions open on the 53-man team, and 10 on the practice squad  when speaking to the media on Monday.

“That’s probably the number,” Arians said. “When you talk about six linemen, fifth backer, fifth corner, fourth corner when you go on a run and who’s on teams, there’s about 10 and than those ten practice squad spots for the guys that clear waivers.”

Head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Many of the Bucs players that will participate in this game are seeing the most playing time that they’ve had all preseason. As they compete to fight for those final spots, nerves can play a part, but Arians plans to put his team in the best situation possible – by putting the focus on just playing and not thinking.

“The one thing about this last game is you always try to keep it as simple as possible,” Arians said. “So they can play fast and show you that they’re real athletic. You don’t want them out there thinking that part of it, you just want to see good one-on-one stuff all night and try to be as proficient as possible. Special teams, that’s where most jobs are going to be won in this game, somebody that covers a kick, maybe knocks a ball loose, does something big that gets you one of those last 10 spots or one of those ten practice squad spots. There’s a lot of spots up.”

One player set to have a lot of playing on Thursday night against the Cowboys is quarterback Vincent Testaverde Jr. The rookie out of Albany re-signed with the Bucs after Blaine Gabbert dislocated his shoulder against the Dolphins. Testaverde’s already been on the Bucs twice this season, once during the rookie mini-camp and then from July 28th to August 9th during training camp.

He’s had nine practices with Bucs in that training camp, and with the Bucs needing a quarterback on a short week, Testaverde’s knowledge of the system made him the right man for the game. Arians has worked with him to prepare him as quickly as possible.

“We talked about it today,” Arians said. “ I said ‘Give me 10 things that you can go out there and you know where the ball is supposed to go. He kind of knew the whole game plan, he’s going to go back through all his reads. He knows the routes, but he’s just going back through his reads and when it gets certain coverages where to go with it.”

Testaverde also appreciates the amount of help that the Bucs’ coach has given him in the short amount of time. He feels confident going into the game.

Bucs tryout QB Vincent Testeverde
Bucs tryout QB Vincent Testeverde – Photo by: PewterReport.com

“He’s been giving me a lot of reps,” Testaverde said. “Just working on all the plays, working on getting those down, staying in my playbooks and I’m ready. I was here a couple weeks ago so I kind of remember a good amount of stuff, it’s good that he’s giving me my own kind of menu for the game. I’m still going to have to know the entire game plan, but I’ve been given my list of things that I feel really comfortable with and can stick to those a majority of the time.”

This has been a big week of returns for the Bucs as Justin Evans returned on Sunday with another three players coming back on Monday. Mike Evans, Jeremiah Ledbetter and rookie Anthony Nelson all returned to the practice field.

The question came about if Nelson, who’s been sideline for four weeks with a knee injury and yet to play in a preseason game, would be able to give it a go. But Arians wasn’t as confident about that as he was with Evans.

“I doubt it,” Arians said. “We’ll see how he reacts tomorrow and get another one tomorrow and then re-evaluate from there.”

For those that will be playing in the game and try to make one last big play to earn a roster spot, Arians had a simple message for how to make the team.

“Play your ass off Thursday night,” Arians said. “Make me can’t cut you.”

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Ten roster spots? Not surprising given that a lot of backup OL need to step up.

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    Rating: +10. From 12 votes.
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  2. Cappa needs to play as much as possible

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    • Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about who needs work. BA has already stated the “Starters Will Not Play” and last we’ve seen through OTA’s and Preseason, he is a starter. No need for injury, he isn’t going to get better or worse in one totally meaningless (except for those 20 of course) game.

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      Rating: +6. From 8 votes.
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  3. They might fill the “last ten spots”, but I wouldn’t sign any leases just yet.. We need to hit these cut downs hard and heavy.. Especially on the Offensive line..

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  4. Cappa should play. If he struggles against 3rd, and 4th teamers we’ve got a problem. If he gets injured, there isn’t much difference between him and the other guards on the roster. Treating him like an entrenched starter is a big mistake. Just because Licht moved up in the 3rd round for him doesn’t make him worthy of being handed the starting job. Any experience he can get in this final preseason game he sorely needs.

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  5. Couldn’t hurt for Cappa to play more but Dotson stunk too. Doubt playing more will help though at this stage in his career. Lol.

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    • Dot needs to be healthy for the regular season.

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  6. Cappa aint playin…

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    Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
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  7. Cappa needs more play time and experience. The Browns defensive line is no joke, and I’m sure it humbled Cappa a lot. Still would like to bring in a few vets for the offensive line (1 guard and 1 tackle preferably) to shore up the line. I’m not ready to give up on Cappa yet though!

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  8. I think he is saying this to light a fire under the feet of the bottom of the roster. I doubt it is that many positions.

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  9. We are a year away from this roster looking the way BA & Bowles want it to look. IMO 6-7 wins this year and 9-10 next (with or without Jameis). Our offense minus the line has enough playmakers to make an average QB look good. But our lines are both half finished. If Jameis doesn’t have the year we all hope he does, let him walk and invest all our picks and FA $$$ on trenches and a new QB. Then we have the roster to be competitive for a long time.

    The potential setback is that if we have another losing season and it doesn’t go well with Jameis, I think Mike Evans is going to start demanding a trade. He is wasting his talent in Tampa as Mike Trout is on the Angels. Sure both are getting top dollar but he’s competitive as hell. He wants to win. If we don’t show him something he may start pushing his way out. Losing him and Jameis officially busting out would set this franchise back years! Really hoping that isn’t the case but that means the O-line depth and play has to drastically improve so Jameis can reach his full potential with the new staff’s tutelage. It’s too bad there has been zero focus on the O-line this offseason, none. Maybe after final cuts we see a few players but barring a Logan Mankins like trade I’m not feeling it!

    Couple weeks to go, this is going to be an interesting season for sure. Hoping for all the best

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    • I agree. We will win more this year but not much more. We will be better but it might not change the win-loss ratio by much.

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    • “If” Jameis busts out Sappattack ?better phrasing would be “will bust”
      Already has Bucs looking for Arians to fix. Key word “FIX”

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  10. I know we all think we have a pretty good idea who will make up that 53 man roster and perhaps even the 10 man Practice Squad. For the most part we’re probably pretty close because so many are a given. Most of us have seen these three meaningless games and many of the open practices. But we sure haven’t been able to evaluate the 90 players like the coaching staff. It’s doubtful that any of us know who on other teams Licht might be targeting. He has done a pretty good job in the past with undrafted free agents. It wouldn’t surprise me if other teams have even approached Licht about acquiring a player or two from him. This coming weekend will be interesting. I’m curious as to why Brate has played so little this preseason. We now have two seemingly competent kickers. Sure have a plethora of OLB’s. Anyone have a spare O-lineman?

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    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
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  11. Personally I would think Licht’s primary FA targets would be OLine and backup QB. No way is Testaverde NFL capable, Griffin doesn’t have the arm strength to compete against starters, Gabbert hasn’t shown much of anything in camp, and Fitzgerald is a gimmick player like Taysom Hill. I doubt that Pittsburgh is going to keep all of their QBs, and those guys have been playing lights out. Maybe we could snag one of them.
    Cappa should not play this final game. He will hopefully get better with more reps, but at this point, even if he just falls down and trips the rusher, he’s doing better than Benenoch so we need him healthy.

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  12. I agree with the most here that I’m hoping to see Licht make a move on some solid O-Linemen. If we can sure up our O-Line, our offense will be a top 5, easy. I’m sure there is going to be some good roster cap causalities coming soon. So lets hope that is Licht’s and BA’s main focus.

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