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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Updates: November 2023

Keep informed with our daily updates: News, notes and more in November 2023

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November 29 Updates

The Buccaneers turned their usual Wednesday practice into a walk-through to start Week 13, so it wasn't much of a test for the ankle that quarterback Baker Mayfield injured on Sunday in Indianapolis. However, Head Coach Todd Bowles indicated after practice that he expects Mayfield to play in this weekend's game against the Panthers.

Mayfield had an MRI on the ankle on Monday and it revealed no ligament damage, but Bowles said at the time that the quarterback was very sore. Two days later he's experienced significant improvement.

"He's feeling a lot better," said Bowles.

Mayfield suffered the injury on an attempted goal-line sneak on the Buccaneers' first drive of the game. He missed the last two plays of that drive but returned for Tampa Bay's next possession and finished the contest. He said the ankle loosened up as the game progressed, allowing him to make some moves on the run, including a 14-yard third-down scramble to keep a third-quarter drive alive.

"For me, I know this sounds kind of corny but it's kind of a mindset," he said. "Tell yourself you're able to get through it, and it's mind over matter. And there's time where…every injury is different. If it's going to hinder your play, you're hurting the team. So there's a difference between toughing it out and being smart. It's a fine line you've got to walk."

Bowles wasn't surprised that Mayfield finished the game and he won't be surprised when the quarterback suits up against Carolina.

"That's the way he's brought up and coached," said Bowles. "He's got an old-school mentality. He's got a work ethic that is undeniable. He loves to play the game and he does everything he can every week to be ready to play."

CLICK HERE to hear more of Baker Mayfield's thoughts on Wednesday.

November 27 Updates

Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield missed two offensive snaps in Sunday's game against the Colts after he suffered an ankle injury on an attempted QB sneak at the goal line. Now the Buccaneers are hoping the injury won't cause him to miss any more time.

To determine whether Mayfield had suffered any ligament damage in his ankle, the team sent him for an MRI examination on Monday. The test came back negative, which means no damage was found.

"He has a sore ankle," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "We'll see how he's feeling during the week, but it came out negative so that's a good thing."

Kyle Trask handled the final two plays of that game-opening drive, handing off once to Rachaad White and attempting a third-down pass to Chris Godwin in the back corner of the end zone, which was incomplete. The Bucs settled for a short field goal, and when they got the ball again later in the first quarter Mayfield was back in the huddle. He finished the game and was not slowed by the injury.

"We were able to move," said Bowles. "Even in the second half, he had a good scramble where he ran for a first down and ran over a guy. It didn't limit him at all."

The Bucs' first practice of the week as they prepare for a visit from the Carolina Panthers is on Wednesday, and Mayfield's level of participation will be a significant concern. Bowles said the coaches would look for ways during the week to give Mayfield a break if necessary.

CLICK HERE for more of Coach Bowles' day-after-game thoughts.

November 24 Updates

The Buccaneers know they will be facing the Colts on Sunday without one of their two starting cornerbacks and one of their two starting off-ball linebackers. They don't yet know if their other two starters at those positions will be available.

While Head Coach Todd Bowles definitively ruled linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Jamel Dean out for the game on Friday, he said the decisions on linebacker Devin White and cornerback Carlton Davis will come down to the day of the contest at Lucas Oil Stadium.

White practiced for the first time this week on Friday morning, albeit in a limited fashion.

"He did some things," said Bowles. "He'll be a game time decision. He ran around today. Again, it's about how he feels on Sunday."

Davis improved from limited participation on Wednesday and Thursday to full participation on Friday but is still not guaranteed to suit up on Sunday.

"Same thing – he did some things today, too," said Bowles. "We'll work them all out Sunday and see how they feel. They get two more days."

CLICK HERE for more of Coach Bowles' thoughts on Friday.

November 22 Updates

The Buccaneers are down to four receivers on the active roster after placing rookie Rakim Jarrett on injured reserve on Wednesday. Jarrett sustained a quad injury during a 41-yard reception in San Francisco last Sunday.

Jarrett, an undrafted free agent out of Maryland, played in each of the Buccaneers' first 10 games and caught four passes for 60 yards. He also ran once for no yards and contributed a tackle on special teams.

Tampa Bay's current receiver depth chart includes starters Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and reserves Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins. The move with Jarrett on Wednesday opens up a roster spot so the Buccaneers could add to the position before Sunday's game in Indianapolis. The team is currently carrying four receivers on the practice squad: Cephus Johnson, David Moore, Ryan Miller and Raleigh Webb. Webb just signed with the Buccaneers on Tuesday.

CLICK HERE for more Buccaneers updates provided by Head Coach Todd Bowles on Wednesday.

November 20 Updates

The Buccaneers' defense took a series of hits in the third quarter of the team's 27-14 loss at San Francisco on Sunday, as linebacker Lavonte David and cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean all exited the game due to injuries. Dean went out first with foot and ankle injuries suffered on Brandon Aiyuk's 76-yard touchdown early in the second half and Davis and Dean followed later in the period with hip and groin issues, respectively.

The Buccaneers arrived back in Tampa well into Monday morning and by the time he held his day-after-game press conference in the afternoon Head Coach Todd Bowles had not yet received an update on the status of those three players. However, he did confirm that all three were scheduled to get MRI examinations to help determine the severity of their injuries.

"They're pretty sore right now," said Bowles. "They're still getting tests run, so we'll have answers as soon as the tests come back."

Both Davis and Dean have already missed time due to injuries this season but David has started all 10 games and has played 97% of the defensive snaps. Cornerbacks Zyon McCollum and Josh Hayes and linebacker SirVocea Dennis were all pressed into action on Sunday due to those starters going down.

Bowles did express some optimism about safety Ryan Neal, who missed the game in San Francisco due to a thumb injury suffered the week before.

"I'm hopeful he practices this week," said Bowles. "I know last week he couldn't, but this week he may be able to do something."

November 17 Updates

The Buccaneers will be without starting safety Ryan Neal on Sunday in Santa Clara, but the presence of several versatile defensive backs means the team feels fine about its depth at that position.

Dee Delaney, who is listed on the Bucs' depth chart at one of the cornerback positions, would presumably start in Neal's place since he's already been gaining playing time at that spot over the past two weeks. Against the Houston Texans in Week Nine, Delaney began replacing Neal in obvious passing situations, and by the end of the game was playing every down. Against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, Delaney played 37 snaps and Neal played 21.

"He's a ballhawk," said Head Coach Todd Bowles of Delaney, who is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. "He's a ballhawk. He understands the scheme, he can see the ball very well wherever he's at. He can move around a lot and give us some flexibility to do some things."

Rookie Christian Izien is listed as one of the Bucs two reserve safeties, along with fellow undrafted free agent Kaevon Merriweather, but has actually been handling the slot corner job. Like Delaney, Izien and rookie sixth-rounder Josh Hayes have experience playing both cornerback and safety.

"It helps having depth," said Bowles. "Those guys can play multiple positions, so it gives us some flexibility to carry other people. Those guys are very heady football players, so it helps."

Hayes missed the Tennessee game due to a concussion he sustained early in the contest in Houston, but Bowles indicated that he will be ready to go on Sunday against the 49ers.

CLICK HERE to hear more of Coach Bowles' thoughts at the end of the week of practice.

November 13 Updates

Markees Watts produced one of the more unexpected stories in the Buccaneers' 2023 training camp. Undrafted out of Charlotte he didn't originally find an NFL team eager to put him on its 90-man roster. Instead, he took part in rookie camps on a tryout basis, trying to make an impression quickly enough to earn one of those spots. It didn't happen in New York with the Jets, but it did happen in Tampa.

The Bucs typically keep five outside linebackers on 53-man roster, and occasionally only four, partly because they usually only use four in their game day rotations. This summer, however, the Buccaneers felt like they had too much talent at the position to take a chance at losing any of it, and eventually decided to keep Watts as a sixth OLB.

That didn't mean he was immediately in the rotational plans for the games. He was inactive for seven of the Bucs' eight first games, and the one time he was active, against Detroit in Week Six, he didn't actually get in the game.

In Week 10, Watts finally got his shot. With cornerback Josh Hayes out with a concussion, the Bucs used his usual game day spot to keep Watts active, and this time he saw action on defense. On a hot afternoon and behind the strategy of aggressively coming after rookie quarterback Will Levis, the Bucs gave playing time to all six of their outside linebackers against Will Levis and the Tennessee Titans. Watts got 11 snaps and produced a tackle and a quarterback hit. That hit was a big play, as it caused Levis's pass to float high in the air and almost directly to Antoine Winfield Jr. for a fourth-quarter interception.

Head Coach Todd Bowles said it was Watts's efforts against starting tackles Tristan Wirfs and Luke Goedeke during the week that earned him a chance to play.

"He's been working against Tristan and Luke the past couple of weeks and he's been giving them fits in practice," said Bowles. "I [thought], this guy probably needs to get a shot in the game. With the people injured, we had a chance to dress him out without losing too much, so we dressed him out and gave him a shot. He came through just like he did in practice."

The next question is, will that intriguing debut buy Watts some more shots on game day? To that, Bowles answered simply, "It's possible."

CLICK HERE for more of Coach Bowles' thoughts about Sunday's win over Tennessee.

November 10 Updates

The Buccaneers may have both of their starting cornerbacks in action when they take on the Tennessee Titans this Sunday, or they may have neither.

Jamel Dean suffered a concussion early in the Buccaneers' Week Nine game in Houston and Carlton Davis finished the game with a toe injury. Both have been limited throughout the week of practice. After practice on Friday, and before the release of the final injury report of the week, Head Coach Todd Bowles indicated that both players remain question marks heading into the weekend.

"[Dean] is still in the protocol, so he's got to pass a few more tests to be ready to play Sunday," said Bowles. "Davis got some reps today. He's getting better so he'll be a game-time decision as well."

Davis did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, while Dean was a limited participant on Thursday. If only one of those two is able to suit up on Sunday, second-year man Zyon McCollum would fill in at the other starting spot. If both starters are out, the Bucs would have to turn to their practice squad for help, particularly with rookie Josh Hayes already ruled out due to a concussion.

The Bucs have two undrafted rookies on their practice squad in Derrek Pitts and Keenan Isaac. Pitts made the active roster out of training camp and stayed there through the first seven weeks of the season, appearing in two games, before being waived and signed to the practice squad. The two rookies would need to either be signed to the active roster or elevated for game day in order to fill in against the Titans.

"We've got Pitts and Isaac on standby, ready to go," said Bowles.

November 9 Updates

Rookie wideout Trey Palmer, who has emerged as the Buccaneers' top option in three-receiver sets, was limited by a neck to start the practice week in Week 10, as the team prepares for Sunday's game against Tennessee. On Thursday, Palmer didn't practice at all, but likely not due to his sore neck. Instead, he is also now dealing with an illness.

Safety Christian Izien and defensive linemen Mike Greene were both listed as questionable for last week's game in Houston due to illnesses, but both were eventually able to play. The Bucs hope the same will be true for Palmer as he has had an ever-expanding role on offense. In Houston, he caught three passes for 51 yards, including two for 36 yards on Tampa Bay's final drive. The first gained 21 yards on third-and-23, allowing for a fourth-down conversion, and one that got the ball down to the Texans' 14 one play before the Buccaneers' go-ahead touchdown pass with 46 seconds left.

On the season, Palmer has 15 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

CLICK HERE for the Bucs' complete injury report on Thursday.

November 8 Updates

The Buccaneers re-signed cornerback Don Gardner to their practice squad on Wednesday, bringing back a player who spent all of the 2022 season on that crew. To make room on the 16-man practice squad, the Bucs placed rookie tackle Silas Dzansi on practice squad injured reserve with a knee injury.

Originally an undrafted rookie out of South Dakota State, Gardner signed back with the Buccaneers after his rookie season and went to training camp in Tampa this summer. He appeared in the preseason opener but suffered a hamstring injury that eventually led to him being waived/injured on August 29. While Gardner was free to sign with other NFL teams after that move, he was first eligible to return to the Buccaneers on October 23.

The Buccaneers may have needed help at the cornerback position after both Jamel Dean and rookie Josh Hayes left the team's Week Nine game in Houston with concussions.

Gardner was elevated from the practice squad once during his rookie season and he logged 14 snaps on special teams against Baltimore in Week Eight. At South Dakota State, he played in 48 games and recorded 133 tackles, four interceptions, 20 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, one blocked kick and two defensive touchdowns.

Dzansi signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech in May. He spent the first nine weeks of the season on Tampa Bay's practice squad.

November 4 Updates

The Buccaneers had 10 players on their Week Nine injury report when their plane took off for Houston on Saturday afternoon. They added an 11th shortly after landing.

First-year defensive lineman Mike Greene was put on the injury report and listed as questionable to play in Sunday's game due to an illness. Rookie safety Christian Izien, the Bucs' primary slot corner, was already on the report and listed as questionable for the same reason.

The Buccaneers could be a bit thin up front on defense against the Texans if Greene can't play. They have already ruled out Logan Hall and Vita Vea is considered questionable to play, both due to groin injuries. Greene has played in each of the Bucs' first seven games and has recorded three tackles.

CLICK HERE for the Bucs' entire Week Nine injury report.

November 3 Updates

The Buccaneers will be without one starter on each of their front lines against the Houston Texans. After practice on Friday, Head Coach Todd Bowles said that left guard Matt Feiler and defensive lineman Logan Hall (groin) have both been ruled out for Sunday's game.

Feiler will miss his second straight game due to a knee injury, giving Aaron Stinnie another start. Stinnie received positive reviews for his play in the team's Week Eight game at Buffalo.

"He's a very physical player, he's a very good run-blocker," said Bowles. "He did a good job last week getting up to the second level. He's quick. He's like a third starter for us at guard."

Hall sustained his injury during warmups before the Bills game but was able to fight his way through most of that contest. However, he has not practiced this week.

Bowles said that all the other players on the Bucs' roster are "in play" for Sunday's game. That includes Pro Bowl tackle Tristan Wirfs, who sustained a quadriceps injury last week and was limited to start the week before being upgraded to full participation on Thursday.

"He's good to go," said Bowles. "He's moving around good, ready to go."

November 1 Updates

The Buccaneers began the regular season with two quarterbacks – Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask – on the active roster, while their third quarterback, John Wolford, went to the practice squad. Clearly the team preferred to use only two spots on the 53-man roster on quarterbacks to give them more flexibility at another position.

That plan changed, however, when there was reportedly interest in Wolford from the Vikings following the season-ending injury to Kirk Cousins. Since players on a practice squad are free to be signed to another team's active roster at any time, the Bucs had only one way to prevent that from happening, as long as Wolford wanted to stay.

Simply put, the Bucs didn't want to lose Wolford, especially at a time that Mayfield was dealing with a knee injury, so it was now worthwhile to devote an active roster spot to keep him around.

"John is valuable to us in the meeting rooms, as well as on the field," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "With Baker banged up the past couple weeks, you never want to give one away and struggle to bring somebody in here to have to learn a system. It was more of us protecting what we have, as opposed to anything else."

Mayfield, who was also teammates with Wolford for about a month at the end of last season with the Rams, was glad his friend didn't leave Tampa.

"John is extremely vital to our QB room," said Mayfield. "A guy that when we brought him in, I was very happy about it. Just his knowledge of the system, he has great experience – he doesn't have the most experience – but the guy, he's wicked smart. He is an extremely important piece for us to have. I know he challenges the guys on the scout team and is always an extra communicator for our QB room. Guys like that are invaluable."

CLICK HERE for more of Baker Mayfield's thoughts on Wednesday.

The Buccaneers released Patrick O'Connor on Tuesday but they didn't sever ties with the fifth-year defensive lineman. On Wednesday, the Bucs brought O'Connor back, signing him to their practice squad.

O'Connor was released to make room for the promotion of quarterback John Wolford to the active roster. That move in turn created the open spot on the 16-man practice squad that O'Connor has now filled.

O'Connor started the 2023 season on the Bucs' practice squad but was promoted after two games and has appeared in a total of three contests so far. He was on the active roster for the entirety of the 2020-22 seasons, primarily contributing on special teams. Overall, he has appeared in 60 games for the Buccaneers since 2017, plus five more in the postseason.

CLICK HERE to hear Jason Licht recap the first half of the season on "Good Morning Football."

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