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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 Matchups to Watch During Bucs vs. Browns

A few interesting matchups we could see when the Bucs meet the Browns on Friday night.


1. WR Mike Evans vs. CB Joe Haden
Evans and Haden have spent time working against one another during the Bucs' joint practices with the Browns, but nothing can simulate a game atmosphere and game speed. Both the Bucs and Browns expect their starters to play into the second half, so both players will play a significant number of reps. It will be interesting to see whether or not Haden, who is unarguably the Browns' best defensive back, follows Evans or if he remains on one side of the field.


  1. CB Brent Grimes vs. WR Josh Gordon**
    Gordon has not played in a game since December of 2014, but is slated to make his return against the Buccaneers on Friday night. Whether or not he works with the starting offense will be determined as kickoff approaches, but all signs point to him running out with the first-team. The Browns have a trio of explosive receivers, with Gordon joined by Terrelle Pryor and rookie Corey Coleman, so it will be interesting to see how the Bucs plan to use Grimes. Coming off of three-straight Pro Bowl seasons, Grimes has looked strong during training camp and in the preseason.

3. DE Will Gholston vs. OT Joe Thomas
Thomas has established himself as one of the best offensive tackles in the league, earning nine-straight trips to the Pro Bowl and being named a first-team All-Pro in each of the past three seasons. With Thomas lining up on the left to protect Robert Griffin III's blind side, he will find himself battling Gholston while the starters are on the field. Gholston's strong suit in the past has been stuffing the run, so it will be interesting to see how his pass-rush set looks against one of the league's best. In obvious passing situations, Thomas could find himself lined up against Noah Spence or Jacquies Smith, both of whom are smaller defensive ends but strong pass-rushers.

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