This much is certain: tight end Tom Crabtree is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn biceps in Sunday's 24-21 win at Detroit. While Tim Wright has emerged as the team's primary receiving threat at the tight end position, Tampa Bay was already very thin at the position after earlier losing both
Crabtree will have surgery to repair his injury this week.
Where the Buccaneers are hoping for better news is at cornerback, which has also seen its share of injuries this season. Darrelle Revis suffered potentially the most impactful one yet when he hurt his groin in the first half of Sunday's win. Revis did not return to the game in the second half, and he has undergone an MRI examination to determine the extent of the injury. Head Coach Greg Schiano said the team is hopeful that Revis' ailment is a "short-term" situation but that the final verdict isn't known yet.
The Buccaneers lost cornerback
It is Revis, of course, who is the linchpin to that unit, given his proven ability to play lockdown man-to-man coverage on any receiver in the NFL. Prior to Sunday's game, Pro Football Focus had Revis graded as the top-performing cornerback in the NFL in 2013, his first year with the Buccaneers after a blockbuster trade in April brought him over from the New York Jets. If the Buccaneers are without Revis next Sunday in Charlotte, they will likely have to make some alterations on their defensive approach.
"It's not a whole new scheme," said Schiano. "When you have Darrelle Revis you can tinker with it a little bit. You can take your resources and dedicate them away from him. You say, 'Hey, look, he's going to take care of his guy and we can use the rest to take care of the rest. So if we don't have him, that will present some [issues]."
With Crabtree headed to injured reserve, the Buccaneers will have a spot open on the 53-man roster. Obviously, there is a good chance they will use that spot on a tight end, but the solution at the position on game day could involve a variety of options. In some packages, fullbacks and tight ends are used somewhat interchangeably, and the Buccaneers do have three players at the fullback position in
“We’re working as we speak – certainly outside the building, inside the building," said Schiano of the efforts to shore up the tight end position. "We’re trying to figure out the best way. It’s always about getting the best 11, and then it’s different packages, trying to get 12, 13. I’m not sure what that answer is yet. We’ll probably have some more information by Wednesday.”