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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ailing Bucs Add DT to Practice Squad

With defensive tackle James Cannida among four Bucs expected to miss the season opener, Tampa Bay addresses the position with rookie DeVone Claybrooks


DT James Cannida's knee injury will force him to miss the Dallas game and may have played a part in the Bucs' signing of DeVone Claybrooks to the practice squad

During the regular season, each NFL team is required to release a weekly injury report, but not until the Wednesday before a Sunday game. This week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy has targeted that day as a time for re-evaluation, when the health status of a handful of players will determine whether or not the team puts certain 'contingency plans' into effect.

However, the Buccaneers have already released a preliminary injury report for the week to the media, and the early line is not promising. As of Tuesday, four players – defensive tackle James Cannida (knee), center Jeff Christy (knee), guard Russ Hochstein (foot) and cornerback Dwight Smith (foot) – were all sitting in the 'Out' category for the Dallas game. A fifth, rookie DT Ellis Wyms (leg) is considered 'Questionable.'

Those injuries plus the Bucs' required roster moves on Sunday left the team with potential thin spots at several positions, including nose tackle, center, guard, tight end and cornerback. Dungy acknowledged those issues on Sunday and indicated that the team had plans to address them pending Wednesday's medical reports. However, he declined to elaborate on those plans.

He did say that nose tackle was the position that concerned him the most. On Tuesday, the Bucs made a move towards providing depth at that spot, if only for practice, by signing rookie DeVone Claybrooks to the team's practice squad. Claybrooks had spent training camp with the Green Bay Packers before being waived in the final cut down on Sunday.

Claybrooks' signing nearly rounds out a practice squad that also includes center/guard Leon Hires, CB Corey Ivy and TE Mike Roberg, all signed on Monday. The addition of the rookie out of East Carolina also continues a trend set on Monday, as the 'taxi squad' has so far been populated with men who play the thin positions mentioned above.

There is one spot remaining on the practice squad and it is likely the Bucs will have that one filled before the team's first full-scale practice for the regular season opener in Dallas takes place on Wednesday. Practice squad players, as the name would suggest, are eligible to participate in team workouts but cannot play in games unless first signed to the active roster.

Claybrooks (6-3, 292) signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent on May 18, about a month after last April's draft. He was a four-year letterman and two-year starter at East Carolina, where he finished with 100 tackles, 11 sacks, five passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and one interception in 41 games (18 starts). He is a native of Bassett, Virginia.

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