The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept quarterback Blaine Gabbert on the active roster to start the season, believing the left shoulder injury he suffered in Week Three of the preseason wouldn't keep him sidelined too long. The timetable has obviously changed.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers placed Gabbert on injured reserve and used the resulting roster spot to promote defensive lineman Patrick O'Connor from the practice squad. That in turn opened a spot on the 10-man practice squad, which was used to sign rookie wide receiver Ishmael Hyman.
The Bucs now have only two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, with Ryan Griffin backing up Jameis Winston. Gabbert was signed in March in anticipation that he would be the primary backup to Winston, with the team valuing his starting experience and his previous stint in Bruce Arians' offense in Arizona. Griffin, who has been with the Buccaneers for four-plus seasons but has yet to take a regular-season snap, performed very well in the preseason and might have won a roster spot once again on his merits. Gabbert's injury made that a moot point to start the season and now Griffin is the number-two quarterback for the foreseeable future.
O'Connor also had a strong preseason, tying for the team lead with two sacks and adding 12 tackles, four tackles for loss and three quarterback hits, as well as two stops on special teams. He spent all 17 weeks of last season on the Bucs' practice squad but did see action in three games as a rookie late in 2017. O'Connor originally entered the league as a seventh round pick by Detroit in the 2017 draft and first came to Tampa in September of that year to join the practice squad.
Hyman (6-0, 193) signed with the Cleveland Browns as a rookie free agent in April after first participating in a Browns mini-camp on a tryout contract. He was waived during the leaguewide roster cutdown to 53 at the end of the preseason. Hyman went undrafted out of James Madison University in 2018 but eventually landed in the short-lived AAF with the Orlando Apollos, recording four catches for 60 yards.
Hyman played four seasons at JMU after transferring from Kansas. He caught 72 passes for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 14.7 yards per game. In 2016 he helped the Dukes capture the FCS National Championship.