Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Bucs Stop Here

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Bucs Stop Here

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

PRESEASON GAME 2: BUCCANEERS AT JAGUARS

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Jacksonville Municipal Stadium

TV/Radio: WTEV TV-47; WOKV (106.5 FM and 690 AM)

The Jaguars play their first 2007 preseason home game tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the sixth consecutive year in which the two teams have met during the preseason. The Jaguars hold a 3-2 edge. Here's what to watch for in tonight's game:

DEFENSE

The starting unit played only two series in Miami and didn't allow a first down. The starters would like to extend that streak tonight.

RUNNING GAME

The Jaguars have spent so much time fine-tuning their passing game that Fred Taylor had one carry in the preseason opener at Miami and Maurice Drew had three. Look for them to get more work tonight.

PASS PROTECTION

The offensive line gave up two sacks on the first series at Miami, and Vonnie Holliday drilled Byron Leftwich on the third series but was called for a penalty. The Jaguars are looking for improved line play tonight.

YOU'LL SEE MORE OF ...

The starting offense played just three series last week and the starting defense only two. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said the starters probably will play the first half.

REMEMBER HIM?

Chad Owens, the punt returner who spent two years with the Jaguars, is trying to win a roster spot with the Bucs. He returned one punt for 9 yards last week against the New England Patriots.

BIG GAME FOR BACKUPS

Because the starters usually see a lot of action in the third preseason game (Thursday night at Green Bay), the second half tonight will be key for several backups fighting for roster spots. This could be their last extensive action before the first roster cutdown to 75 players Aug. 28. The Jaguars currently have 87 on their roster, including 28 new players.

SIDELINED

Linebacker Clint Ingram (ankle) might be the only starter to sit out the game. Only one player, offensive lineman Stockar McDougle, has been lost for the season. He tore his Achilles tendon Monday night.

STILL UP FOR GRABS

The biggest fight for starting spots is at wide receiver, where Dennis Northcutt and Ernest Wilford are currently the starters, and Matt Jones is the slot receiver. But they're being pushed by Charles Sharon and rookies Mike Walker and John Broussard. Is there a spot for Reggie Williams? Marcedes Lewis and Jermaine Wiggins are competing at tight end, with both currently listed as starters on the depth chart.

SHULA CONNECTION

Jaguars quarterbacks coach Mike Shula has several ties to the Buccaneers. He was drafted by Tampa Bay in 1987, and was an offensive assistant coach (1988-89), quarterbacks coach (1990) and offensive coordinator (1996-99).

ROOKIE WATCH

Adam Podlesh (right) was handed the Jaguars' punting job when he was drafted in the fourth round this year. …

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