The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a short week to prepare for Thursday night's game in St. Louis, but there is still time to tweak the roster. On Tuesday, the Buccaneers addressed a bruised defensive line by re-signing Da'Quan Bowers and waiving rookie defensive end Josh Shirley.
Bowers was Tampa Bay's second-round pick in 2011. An All-American defensive end, he eventually settled in as an interior lineman for the Buccaneers, and that's where the team needs help at the moment. Starting defensive tackle Akeem Spence suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's game against New Orleans and would not have been able to participate in practice on Monday, according to the official injury report the team had to file in advance of Thursday's game in St. Louis.
In addition, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is playing through a hand injury that forced him to miss the Buccaneers' Week 13 win over Atlanta, and the team previously lost starter Clinton McDonald to a season-ending injury.
Bowers (6-4, 288) most recently played for the Buccaneers during the 2015 preseason, appearing in all four games and recording six tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and two quarterback pressures. He was released during the NFL's final round of roster cuts in early September.
During his first four seasons with the Buccaneers, Bowers played in 50 games and made 10 starts, overcoming a knee injury sustained at the very end of his college career. His career stats include 66 tackles, seven sacks and six passes defensed.
NFC PLAYOFF SNAPSHOT
Shirley played in five games after a Week Eight promotion from the practice squad, contributing two tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback pressure. However, the team re-signed Kourtnei Brown three weeks ago, and in Sunday's game against New Orleans it was Brown who played extensively in the defensive end rotation while Shirley was inactive.
Shirley first joined the team as a practice squad signee on October 6, spending two weeks on that unit before his promotion. An undrafted free agent out of UNLV, he first entered the NFL with Oakland in May and went to camp with the Raiders before being waived in the final roster cuts. Shirley also spent 10 days on the Raiders' practice squad.