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Bowers Remains Out

Posted Nov 15, 2013

Friday Notes: Concussion symptoms have kept DE Da'Quan Bowers off the practice field this week and he may have to miss Sunday's game, as well...Plus, a full injury report and other notes

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • DE Da'Quan Bowers did not practice again on Friday due to concussion symptoms
  • Despite Atlanta's offensive imbalance, the Bucs will still focus on stopping the run first on Sunday
  • QB Mike Glennon has not hit many deep passes yet but the Bucs are certain that can be a part of their aerial attack
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano hasn't ruled Da'Quan Bowers out for Sunday's game against Atlanta yet, but he didn't see anything on Friday that made him believe the third-year defensive end was close to returning to action.

"He was unable to practice today," said Schiano of Bowers after the team's last full-scale workout of the week.  "[He's] not definitely [out], but the longer we wait, the more we’re headed in that direction.”

There was roughly 48 hours remaining to kickoff when Schiano offered that evaluation, so Bowers would have to recover quickly in order to avoid missing a game for the first time this season.  Bowers doesn't start on the Buccaneers' defensive line, but he is a frequently used reserve who can play inside or outside and sees a lot of time on passing downs.  Assuming he is unavailable on Sunday, the Buccaneers would likely keep both of their rookie defensive ends, William Gholston and Steven Means, active for the game, something they've only done three other times this season.  In five of their nine games, the Bucs have deactivated one or the other of Gholston and Means, and in one game they deactivated both.

“[We'll] just kind of spread them around," said Schiano of the defensive line snaps.  "The guys that’ll be active, they’ll all get reps. Steven Means has an opportunity to be up.  I’m not sure of that; we’ll see. We’ll take a good hard look at it in the next 48 hours.”

Officially, Bowers is questionable on the Buccaneers' injury report, one of only two players with that designation.  The other is second-year wide receiver Chris Owusu, who has been striving to return from a knee injury in order to take advantage of an obvious opportunity on the depth chart.  With starter Mike Williams now on injured reserve, Tiquan Underwood has stepped into a starting role but none of the Bucs' young receivers has yet to establish himself as the obvious second option behind Vincent Jackson just yet.  If Owusu can play – and he did practice fully on Friday – he'd be another option in that mix along with Underwood, Eric Page, Skye Dawson and Russell Shepard.

Guard Carl Nicks is out for the game; he hasn't played since Week Four. Otherwise, it looks as if the Buccaneers have successfully navigated the roster through the short week following Monday Night Football and will be at near full strength on Sunday.

-- DE Da'Quan Bowers, who combined on a sack Monday night against Miami, plays extensively in the Bucs' D-Line rotation
On the other hand, the Falcons head into the weekend with a handful of question marks, including tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Harry Douglas, their top two pass-catchers this season.  Gonzalez (toe) and Douglas (knee) both returned to practice in a limited fashion on Friday after sitting out on Thursday, and both are listed as questionable on the injury report.  The full Friday reports for both teams, complete with game-status designations, are below.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

Game Status

CB Mike Adams

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

S Mark Barron

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

DE Da'Quan Bowers

Concussion

Did Not Participate

Questionable

CB Danny Gorrer

Groin

Full Participation

Probable

WR Vincent Jackson

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

G Davin Joseph

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Did Not Participate

Out

WR Chris Owusu

Foot

Full Participation

Questionable

T Donald Penn

Calf

Full Participation

Probable

DT Akeem Spence

Wrist

Full Participation

Probable


Falcons:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

Game Status

WR Harry Douglas

Knee

Limited Participation

Questionable

TE Tony Gonzalez

Toe

Limited Participation

Questionable

DE Malliciah Goodman

Calf

Did Not Participate

Out

RB Steven Jackson

Toe

Full Participation

Probable

DT Peria Jerry

Toe

Limited Participation

Questionable

DT Corey Peters

Knee

Limited Participation

Questionable

RB Jason Snelling

Knee

Did Not Participate

Questionable

LB Sean Weatherspoon

Foot

Full Participation

Probable

WR Roddy White

Shoulder

Full Participation

Probable


* Given that the Falcons' bring the NFL's least productive running game to Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, along with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback who is throwing for nearly 300 yards a game, one might assume that Tampa Bay's defensive game plan starts with containing Ryan.  However, the Buccaneers' always prioritize stopping the run and won't back away too much from that approach despite Atlanta's offensive imbalance.  The Bucs know they can't afford to let the Falcons rediscover their rushing attack this weekend.

“If you have a guy like Matt Ryan who can definitely hurt you – he was 20-26 in the last game, he certainly performed well against us – but if they can run it, as well, then you’ll get run out of the building," said Schiano.  "I think you always have to stop the run, but have to be able to do it without sacrificing too much on the pass. I think our guys do a good job that by of mixing it up. If you become one-dimensional defensively in an effort to stop the run, then you do expose yourself to pass."

When the Bucs and Falcons met in Atlanta in Week Nine, Tampa Bay's defense, they did manage to stifle the Falcons' ground game, allowing just 18 yards on 18 carries.  However, that didn't translate into an effective pass rush, as Ryan was not sacked and he was able to complete 20 of 26 passes and toss three touchdowns against no interceptions.  Several of Atlanta's big plays were simply the result of blown coverages rather than an overemphasis on the run, and Ryan did a good job of avoiding the negative play on defense even when the Bucs' pass rush did show some life.

“We kind of were aggressive in the game," said Schiano of the defensive play-calling in Atlanta.  "Matt, he doesn’t get sacked very much. I think they’re eighth or 10th in sacks allowed. He gets rid of the football, he has a very good sense of timing. It’s not that he’s not getting hit because he is getting hit, but he gets rid of the football, so he’s not an easy guy to sack. We’re going to try to do everything that we can to get to him, but we have to make sure that we disrupt his timing, that he has to get rid of it before he wants. To do that, if you can have tight coverage, then he’s either getting rid of it into a pass deflection, an interception, or he’s holding onto it and getting sacked."

* That Bucs-Falcons contest in Atlanta in Week Seven included a dazzling one-handed touchdown catch by wide receiver Vincent Jackson, a play that covered 59 yards.  That remains Tampa Bay's longest play from scrimmage this season.  If that play is not topped in the final seven games of the season, it will mark just the second time in the dozen seasons that the Bucs have not had at least one play of 60 or more yards on offense.

We’re going to keep firing our shots, and when it [presents] itself, we’ll take a rip at it.
-- QB Mike Glennon
Schiano doesn't think that will last, partially because he is so used to seeing Glennon throw accurate and well-time deep balls on the practice field, many of them to Jackson.  While the deep completion has been the most glaring element missing from Glennon's rather impressive debut season, Schiano thinks it's just a matter of time until that is remedied.

“I think we’re going to see him do it in games," said Schiano.  "He does it out there [in practice] all the time. I think we’re going to see it in games. He’s a very accurate [passer], good touch, understands placement, and that’s why we keep trying to do it."

There's no doubt that Glennon has the arm strength for it.  He has demonstrated that on several occasions on the sort of intermediate-range sideline throws that are among the most difficult in football – and the most dangerous if the QB's arm strength is lacking.  In addition, the Bucs' attempts to go deep have paid off in at least one way in recent weeks: defensive pass interference flags.

"We’ve got three DPIs in the last two weeks, so we’ll take that," said Schiano.  "Hopefully some of them start to land and they’re not DPIs. It doesn’t only have to be deep and outside; we can do deep all over the field as well. We’ll continue to take shots.”

And, of course, there have been some plays called where a deep pass was the primary option but the ball wasn't thrown downfield due to pressure or too much coverage.  What Glennon doesn't want to do is force it just for the sake of hitting a bomb.

“We’ve been calling our fair share of shots," said the rookie passer.  "We’ve gotten a couple defensive pass interferences. Although it doesn’t go in the stats, it’s still a big play for the offense. We’re going to keep firing our shots, and when it [presents] itself, we’ll take a rip at it.  But if not, check it down to our backs because sometimes some of our most important parts of the drive are when a big play is called and we throw it to the back and he gets 10, 12 yards. Again, I just have to keep trusting my eyes and, when I think it’s there, let it fly, but if not, check it down.”
Game Rewind: Tampa Bay Buccaneers