Next Week the Starters Will Actually Play

When Michael Vick broke his leg he sent shockwaves through the league leading to limited playing time for first stringers. The Bucs are no exception; by the second series the starters had traded helmets for visors and hats.

The crowd held their breath as Brad Johnson was sacked to end his only series. It is hard not to worry when the quarterback gets smacked, but Johnson is a football player. Players need to acclimate to contact before they play a full game. The result of this limited playing time will be detrimental to the team's stamina in the early leg of the schedule. Game shape is attained during game conditions that cannot be duplicated on the practice field.

Injuries are a part of playing Football, especially at the professional level. Rickey Dudley managed to hurt himself in his limited appearance Thursday night against the Texans. This situation is remotely similar to combat in that no one knows who will be hurt, it is lottery like. Injuries happen at random. Obviously, if a person is acting without common sense they have a greater chance of being hurt. Players expecting to simply turn on the juice in the fourth quarter in Philadelphia are likely to be in for a big surprise.

The Bucs were in a position to let their bubble players battle it out for the remaining roster spots. The problem is they all played so well that if anything they made the coaches' decisions even more difficult. The Receiver logjam was made even tighter because Reggie Barlow, Fabian Davis, and Charles Lee had stand out games. Of the three, Lee's performance was the most awe inspiring; but Davis's knack for catching late touchdowns can do nothing but help his chances.

The receiver spot is a tough call, but the tight end spot should not be overlooked. With Dudley out for six weeks rookie Will Heller will most likely make the team, along with Todd Yoder. Yoder sealed the end that allowed Aaron Stecker to walk into the end zone untouched, and Heller caught a touchdown. Ken Dilger is healthy and rounds out a tight end corps that will be able to pick up the slack for their injured teammate.

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