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Three Questions With Bucs Nation

Baltimore Beatdown gets a quick breakdown of what's going on with the Ravens' first preseason opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bucs QB Josh Freeman is entering a contract year and needs to get off to a good start in 2013.
Bucs QB Josh Freeman is entering a contract year and needs to get off to a good start in 2013.
Larry French

We all know the Ravens are set to take on the Buccaneers in Thursday night's preseason game.

What we don't necessarily know is what to expect from Baltimore's opposition, since 99.9 percent of this site's coverage has focused on how have the Ravens looked throughout the preseason.

To get a quick look at the Buccaneers, I asked Sander Philipse at Bucs Nation, an SB Nation affiliate, three questions about the team he covers. Here's what he had to say:

Question: How has Darrelle Revis and the secondary looked so far during camp?

Sander Phillipse: Darrelle Revis is still rehabbing his knee injury, so he hasn't done much in practice. He's on track to return for week 1 of the season and he hasn't had any setbacks, but that's about all you can say about his performance in training camp. As for the rest of the secondary -- it's a little hard to tell, really. In general they seem to hold their own against the Bucs' offense, and the safeties have looked good in training camp, but the cornerbacks overall still lack some talent. The biggest surprise in the secondary has been undrafted rookie Rashaan Melvin, who could get some significant playing time this season if he continues to stand out.

Q: Has Josh Freeman shown any improvement thus far as he enters a contract year?

SP: Josh Freeman has been very sharp in training camp over the past week, but he looked good in training camp last year, too. The question is whether he can carry that over into games consistently, week after week. We all know he'll have periods of outstanding play, but he has to eliminate (or at least reduce) the inconsistencies in his game. But his accuracy does seem to be improved, as does his overall command of the offense. Freeman really struggled with accuracy on short passes last year, and the Bucs run a very (overly?) complicated offense that led to a lot of miscommunication last year. Both of those problems should be lessened this year.

Q: How much do you expect the starters to play Sunday night?

SP: I would expect just a handful of snaps out of the starters this week, although you'll probably see some nominal starters (especially younger players) get more playing time with the second team. But the big names probably won't be out on the field for more than one series, and there's a good chance you won't see any of the players returning from injury get any playing time.

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