The Tampa Bay Buccaneers believe they have a roster that can get them back in playoff contention and possibly win another Super Bowl. As a result, the Bucs will ride out the season with the players they have on the roster.
Yes, the Buccaneers have been decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Bucs are 3-5. They are also out of a playoff spot at the midway point of the season.
It sure would have been nice to get in on the Bradley Chubb trade talks with the Bucs’ best edge rusher Shaq Barrett out for the season. But, instead, Chubb ended up being dealt to the Miami Dolphins.
In addition to linebacker, the Buccaneers could also have used some help at tight end, offensive line, and the defensive backfield.
Anthony Nelson will move into Shaq Barrett’s spot in the starting lineup, as Barrett was placed on IR.
Nelson talked about the enormous responsibility of replacing Barrett in the lineup. “It’s going to be a team effort. Everybody on defense has got to step up. Everybody in our room, we’re going to have to step up. It’s a big loss. You hate to see it. It’s part of the game, which sucks, especially to a good dude like Shaq.”
Buccaneers Free Agents Have Been Busts
Most of the Bucs’ free agent signings have been busts up to this point this season. For example, Julio Jones has spent more time in street clothes than in his Buccaneers Jersey on game days. Yet, for ten million dollars, Jones has six catches on the season.
Russell Gage has 29 catches but has yet to have what you would consider a breakout performance.
Defensive lineman Akeim Hicks has been a non-factor on the Buccaneers defensive line. The Bucs took a chance when they signed the free agent from Chicago during the off-season. And that is a gamble that the Bucs have lost so far at this point in the season.
Hicks was injury prone the last two seasons in Chicago, and the warm salty air in Tampa has done nothing to change that. Hicks has played in just three of the first eight games this season.
Defensive back Logan Ryan is on the IR with a foot injury but was playing well until the injury.
Keanu Neal has been average at best. Nothing to get excited about. Maybe my expectations were too high.
Buccaneers Counting On Getting Healthy
The Buccaneers are counting on getting some players back from injuries starting this week with the game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, safety Antoine Winfield Jr., cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, wide receivers Russell Gage and Julio Jones, and tight end Cameron Brate are all expected back at some point in the next few weeks.
Julio Jones, Russell Gage, Luke Goedeke, and Antoine Winfield Jr. did not practice on Wednesday as he is still in concussion protocol.
Buccaneers Bring Back Tyler Johnson And Ryan Smith
The Buccaneers also re-signed a couple of familiar faces to the practice squad. Defensive back Ryan Smith and wide receiver Tyler Johnson are again wearing pewter and white.
Before signing with the Los Angeles Chargers, Smith was one of the Bucs best special teams players in Tampa.
Wide receiver Tyler Johnson is back with the Bucs after being waived by the Houston Texans. Johnson has 48 catches for 529 yards and two touchdowns in his Buccaneers career. Johnson was active but did not have a catch in two games with Houston.
Johnson had a great training camp and caught 11 passes during the preseason, but the lack of his ability to play a regular role on special teams cost him a roster spot.
It would not surprise me if both Smith and Johnson were activated for Sunday’s game against the Rams.