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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
While most teams rested their starters in the final preseason weekend, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers' starters played three series. After a three-and-out to open the game, Brady led a 91-yard touchdown drive; he was 7-for-7 culminating in a 24-yard score to Chris Godwin. Brady finished the game 11-of-14 for 154 yards and a score. Brady explained why it was worth risking injury in a meaningless game. “You have to get the real reps. You have to get the real crowd noise. You have to get the real game clock. You’ve got to get the real situations, and the more you do that as a team, the better you′re going to be as the pressure mounts,” said Brady. Blaine Gabbert’s backup job is safe despite a rough outing in the preseason finale that included a sack and an interception—a turnover Bruce Arians blamed on rookie Jaelon Darden. Pewter Report’s J.C. Allen projects that Ryan Griffin will be cut due to the second-round draft capital of Kyle Trask. Despite dealing with massive growing pains this summer, Trask had a promising finale.
Run game coordinator Harold Goodwin said the starting job could come down to the preseason finale between Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette. However, Jones was the only back in contention to earn a carry in the game—a 4-attempt, 27-yard performance that included a 13-yard score. Jones was listed No.1 on the most recent depth chart. The real question isn’t who starts, but how will the snaps be divvied up? Giovani Bernard only played third downs with the starters in the finale; that will be his role in the regular season. With Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds projecting Jones as the winner, it means Fournette could be the odd man out. Ke’Shawn Vaughn hasn’t shown well in camp and could be displaced by a veteran acquisition in the coming days. “Don’t be surprised if the Bucs try to find a more dynamic RB4 on the waiver wire to replace [Vaughn]. It’s hard to imagine Tampa Bay feels good about him becoming a rotational back next year when either Jones or Fournette departs in free agency,” says Reynolds.
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