Preseason action kicks off Thursday night when the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens head south to Tampa Bay to meet the Buccaneers.
Here are three things to keep an eye on during the game.
1) Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has been mentioned as someone who will push Josh Freeman, possibly taking his job if Freeman continues to struggle this season. Glennon is raw and needs to improve his pocket presence and accuracy, as well as prove his build will withstand getting hammered by NFL defenders. He’ll likely get a lot of work tonight, as head coach Greg Schiano will likely only have his starters in for a few quarters. Glennon has a long ways to go and a lot to prove.
2) Who is going to step up for the Ravens wide receivers? Right now the wide receivers consist of Torrey Smith and a bunch of guys. Tandon Doss has shown promise but not produced consistently, Jacoby Jones has speed but has mostly been a punt returner and with Dennis Pitta done for the year Ed Dickson banged up, the Ravens are becoming desperate for someone to step up and produce.
3) Both defense have a lot to prove. With the Ravens losing multiple key defenders, there are very real concerns about how the Ravens will avoid regressing. While starters may not get a ton of reps tonight, the team will want to see how guys like Albert McClellan or Arthur Brown can step in and contribute. Ditto rookie safety Matt Elam, who will help the team deal with losing Ed Reed. For the Buccaneers, the question is whether their young defense can continue to build momentum and improve upon a squad ranked 29th in the league overall and who generated just 27 sacks in 2012.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.