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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Buccaneers to Watch vs. Bengals

Five players to watch when the Buccaneers take on the Bengals in Week 2 of the 2015 preseason.


1. QB Jameis Winston
Winston played just two quarters in his first preseason game against the Vikings, but there's a chance he could play into the second half on Monday. Winston played two quarters in the Bucs' opener last weekend and it's common to see starters' reps increase from their first preseason game to their second. In his debut, Winston completed nine of 19 passes, accumulating 131 yards and rushing for a touchdown. But Winston is still looking for his first passing touchdown in the NFL. Could it come against Cincinnati? Who might be on the receiving end?

2. LB Kwon Alexander
Alexander will be making his first start, albeit a preseason game. He was promoted from the second team after an impressive performance against Minnesota and has earned praise from his teammates after just a few weeks in camp. Alexander earned four tackles in his first game, one shy of the team-lead. Look for him to be the Bucs' leading tackler against the Bengals.

3. LB Danny Lansanah
Alexander's fortune is Lansanah's misfortune. Bruce Carter was one of the Bucs' top free agent acquisitions this spring but after Alexander moved in with the starters, Carter was moved from a MIKE linebacker to a SAM linebacker to compete with Lansanah for the starting job. Lansanah had an impressive spring, particularly his ability to get his hands on passes, but he hasn't been as productive intercepting balls in training camp. He's long overdue for one, and one against the Bengals could help him solidify his status as the Bucs' starting strong side outside linebacker.

4. RB Dominique Brown
Brown sticks out from the other running backs from his size alone. But despite his unique physical traits, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound undrafted rookie is at the bottom of the depth chart. He carried the ball just three times for 11 yards last week while Mike James, whom Brown is competing with for a roster spot, handled the ball twice as many times. Brown needs a splash play to get noticed and it may come on special teams; he's worked as the kickoff returner at times in camp.

5. DT Henry Melton
Jacquies Smith and T.J. Fatinikun missed most of the previous week's practices with injuries, leaving the Bucs somewhat thin at defensive end. For a few reps during practice, Melton stepped in at left defensive end and performed well. Head Coach Lovie Smith, without naming names, said he'd prefer his interior players to play on the interior because that's where they're the strongest. Smith said that interior players lining up on the outside during practice were "just filling in," but also added that, because just seven defensive linemen can suit up on game day, having a swing player was important. That swing player could be Melton, who recorded the Bucs' lone sack in the team's first preseason game.

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