Legions of Buccaneers fans are craving real action. It's been 7+ months since the Bucs have taken the field. On Thursday, they're back against the Super Bowl champs at Raymond James Stadium.
Here are JoeBucsFan.com keys to the Bucs-Ravens game in all three phases of play.
Mike Glennon: Josh Freeman is the starting quarterback, but all starters likely will get only about 10 plays against the Ravens. The QB to watch will be the rookie, Glennon. He'll play at least a half, and the Bucs are eager to determine whether he's a work in a progress or a guy who can lead an NFL team this season, if necessary. If Glennon shows promise, third quarterback Dan Orlovsky will become expendable when the team names its final roster in September.
Kevin Ogletree: A free-agent wide receiver pickup who spent his career with the Dallas Cowboys, Ogletree has a lot of speed and versatility.
He's been running as the No. 3 receiver with the first-team offense through most of training camp. A good showing tonight could cement his role.
Akeem Spence: The rookie nose tackle has opened a lot of eyes in training camp, and Bucs coach Greg Schiano has made it clear he wants Spence to become a starter immediately. Spence is known for his raw strength and disruption. The Bucs want to see if those traits show up against unfriendly fire.
Dashon Goldson: Superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis isn't ready to play yet, but the Bucs' new All-Pro safety, Dashon Goldson, will be on the field. Goldson also was brought here from the 49ers to lead. Keep an eye on how vocal and demonstrative he is on the field, as the Bucs try to resurrect their poor pass defense.
Dave Wannstedt: The famous NFL and college head coach is in a new job with the Buccaneers. Surely, Wannstedt knows special teams, but he really hasn't coached it in this role. There was nothing special about the Bucs' special teams last season.
Punt Returner/Kick Returner: The Bucs tried several players at the return positions last season and nothing seemed to work. A lot of those guys are even out of football right now. Wide receiver Eric Page is a newcomer to watch at punt return, and second-year running back Michael Smith will get another shot at the kick returner job.