Jun 10, 2014; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith during minicamp at One Buccaneer Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Preview

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers football returns today as the Bucs open their training camp at One Buc Place.

However, the Bucs have a number of questions that need to be addressed before the season gets underway on September 7th.

The team’s four preseason games and training camp practices will decide who does and doesn’t make the final 53-man roster as players battle for roster spots.

Throughout camp, a number of critical position battles that still need to be decided however.

Who will be the slot receiver?

Vincent Jackson and 2014 first round pick Mike Evans are the two unquestioned starters at wide receiver, but after that things get dicey. There are a range of options that include Louis Murphy, Robert Herron, Chris Owusu, Lavelle Hawkins, David Gettis, and Eric Page among others. The Bucs will likely keep five receivers but that could go down to the four because of their tight end options. Roster spots at wide receiver are going to be one of the Bucs big battles this training camp.

Who plays the most at tight end?

This is a good problem for the Bucs to have but one that needs settling nonetheless. The Buccaneers have three extremely good options at tight end in Brandon Myers, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Tim Wright. All three players are capable of starting and providing lots of offense but not all three can play at once so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out of training camp as the starter. As alluded to earlier, the wide receiver battle will be worth watching but don’t be surprised to see Wright line up as a receiver — it was his college position after all.

Who’s going to be the back up running back?

Doug Martin is the unquestioned starter for the Bucs but it’s not clear who will be his back up this year. Mike James, Bobby Rainey, Jeff Demps, Brendan Bigelow and Charles Sims are the other options on the roster. Lovie Smith has said the Bucs will be a run first offense this year so having a number of guys that can be relied on will be huge for the Bucs.

Who will play at guard?

The guard position might be the Buccaneers’ weakest position heading into 2014. The absence of Carl Nicks has affected the Bucs the last two seasons but now might be the time they’ve needed him healthy the most. The question marks surrounding his health mean the Bucs are in the dark about who will be lining up at guard. Jamon Meredith figures to take one spot, but after that, any one of Kadeem Edwards, Oniel Cousins, Patrick Omameh, or Jason Foster could take the other spot. Don’t be surprised if they sign a player who was cut by another team when the postseason concludes to fill the void.

Who steps up on the pass rush?

The Bucs pass rush last year was dismal hence the free agent signing of Michael Johnson. He occupies the right defensive end slot so that means Adrian Clayborn will have to move to the left side. However, he continues to face competition from Da’Quan Bowers and William Gholston. Steven Means, Roland Talley, Scott Solomon and Chaz Sutton will be looking for a roster spot too.

Who lines up at corner?

Free agent signing Alterraun Verner will man one side but either Johnthan Banks or Mike Jenkins could be lining up opposite him once the season starts. The Bucs cut D.J. Moore earlier this week which seems to suggest Leonard Johnson will be nickel corner this season. However, Deveron Carr, Danny Gorrer, Keith Lewis, Rashaan Melvin and Quinton Pointer will also be searching for a roster spot as a depth player.

For the complete training camp schedule click here. Make sure you check in every day as we provide a daily recap of the Bucs’ training camp.

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