Football pundits who claim to know exactly how to handle how much and when to play starters in preseason games are doing what they do most of the time – guessing.
Some teams will hold starters back this week. Other teams will go full throttle. I've already written how it used to be handled. With no Week 4 game, it seems that many squads have decided this week should follow the same script.
That doesn't appear to be the case on Saturday night when the Texans host Tampa Bay. Both coaches have already said they'll play starters. For the Texans, this will be the second time they've seen Tom Brady in the preseason.
Brady started for the Patriots at NRG Stadium in Week 2 of the 2017 preseason and threw a touchdown pass to current Texan Rex Burkhead. The game capped off a week featuring a couple of joint practices at the Greenbrier. A week later, Hurricane Harvey would hit and we'd all like to forget that.
For the first nine seasons in Texans history, playing the Bucs in the final preseason game was an every-year thing. Tampa isn't too far away and being an NFC team, the Buccaneers seemed like a good series to keep going.
The biggest memory I have from the series, other than David Carr hurting a knee in 2002 (I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. He was available for the opener against Dallas, of course. I hope you've been paying attention.) is Rex Grossman winning the back-up quarterback job in 2009.
Dan Orlovsky started the game that year but threw an interception. Grossman came in a tossed two touchdown passes to steal the gig. It wasn't exactly NFL Films material but it was notable for sure.
When media members think of Tampa Bay, they think of Bananas Foster, the dessert that is served in the Bucs' press box. No, not the version you light on fire, this is a non-alcoholic setting.
I can't believe I just actually wrote that but this is one of the more notable things about the trip there from a working media perspective.
This tilt is at home and it's special for a number of reasons –
- It's the first home game with all the fans since the playoff game against Buffalo, which feels like a thousand years ago.
- It's the home debut of so many new players and staff, including Coach David Culley and General Manager Nick Caserio.
- It's football.
Let's get there early and enjoy the show. The game is live on ABC-13, Sports Radio 610 and The Bull 100.3 FM. Limited tickets are available here.