October 31 Updates
When the Buccaneers return from their weekend "mini-bye" and begin preparing for their Week Nine game against the Los Angeles Rams they will have a new starter in their defensive lineup.
The reason for the midseason shift is not a happy one. Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, by far the team leader in sacks and quarterback pressures over the past four seasons, has landed on injured reserve after a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. Barrett was hurt in the second half of the Bucs' Thursday night loss to Baltimore, and the following day Head Coach Todd Bowles confirmed that the veteran edge rusher was done for the year. Bowles also said that fourth-year player Anthony Nelson would take over as the starter opposite Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. The Bucs also still have two OLB reserves in Carl Nassib and Genard Avery.
Nelson knows it will take all of them to make up for the loss of Barrett, who has 40.5 sacks and 81 quarterback hits in 54 games as a Buccaneer, including 3.0 sacks this season.
"It's going to be a team effort," said Nelson. "Everybody on defense is going to have to step up. Everybody in our room – Joe, me Carl, Genard – we're going to have to step up. It's a big loss. Like you said, you hate to see [a teammate injured] but it's part of the game, which sucks. You really hate to see it, especially with such a good dude like Shaq. We've got a lot of things to fix."
Nelson has played 30% of the Bucs' defensive snaps through the first eight games of the season, with he and Nassib generally coming on as a pair to spell Barrett and Tryon-Shoyinka. That's very similar to the 31% rep share Nelson had in 2021, but that featured a spike in the final three games of the regular season while both Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul were battling injuries and COVID. He averaged 49 snaps per game in those contests and proved he could handle the role. He had a sack in each game and also contributed nine tackles, five tackles for loss, four QB hits, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery.
"I don't think it's going to be too big of a difference," said Nelson of inheriting a larger role in the defense. "Obviously, it's just more reps, more snaps, but the mentality is really the biggest thing. That's one thing I've learned, is just a 'Make the reps count, don't count the reps' type thing. So when I'm in there I'm trying to do my job and make plays when I can. I think the mentality just transitions over and you just do it. Now you've got more opportunities so you've got to make more plays."
CLICK HERE to hear more of Anthony Nelson's thoughts on Monday.
October 27 Updates
The Buccaneers made a change to their injury report on Thursday, ahead of their 8:15 p.m. kickoff against the Baltimore Ravens, downgrading defensive lineman Akiem Hicks from "questionable" to "out." Hicks will miss his sixth straight game since suffering a foot injury in New Orleans in Week Two.
The Bucs now have seven players on the 53 man roster who have already been ruled out for Thursday night's game, as Hicks joins cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, safety Antoine Winfield Jr., tight end Cameron Brate, guard Luke Goedeke and wide receiver Russell Gage.
CLICK HERE for the full injury report.
October 26 Updates
The Buccaneers will be making a change on their offensive line, this one prompted by an injury.
Head Coach Todd Bowles revealed on Wednesday that second-year lineman Nick Leverett will take over as the starting left guard on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Rookie Luke Goedeke, who started the first seven games at that spot, has been ruled out of the game due to a foot injury. Leverett had already earned some playing time last week, alternating at left guard with Goedeke against the Panthers. This will be Leverett's first NFL start.
"We loved him in summer camp," said Bowles. "He was feisty, he was smart, he was one of the first ones in the building. He studied. He had some technique stuff to work on just like Luke but they were neck-and-neck in the spot. We like his aggressiveness."
Leverett joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Rice in 2020 and spent his rookie season on the team's practice squad. He made the active roster last year after a strong showing in training camp and this summer was in a tight battle to replace the retired Ali Marpet at left guard.
October 25 Updates
When Akiem Hicks took part in Monday's practice at the AdventHealth Training Center, it was an encouraging sign, given that he hadn't practiced a single time in the five weeks after he suffered a foot injury in New Orleans. It was even more encouraging when Hicks made it two days in a row on Tuesday, avoiding a setback from his first action in over a month.
Hicks signed with the Buccaneers on June 1 after spending the previous six seasons in Chicago. He had missed 20 games over the 2019-21 campaigns but was a Pro Bowl selection in 2018. Hicks started Tampa Bay's first two contests of 2022 and helped the defense hold the Cowboys and Saints to an average of 86.5 rushing yards per game. In the five games since he was injured, the Buccaneers have allowed 131.4 rushing yards per game.
Four other Buccaneers who were held out of practice on Monday were upgraded to limited participation on Tuesday: wide receivers Mike Evans and Julio Jones, tight end Ko Kieft and guard Shaq Mason.
CLICK HERE for the Bucs' full Tuesday injury report.
October 24 Updates
Tampa Bay's seventh-ranked defense will face a unique challenge on Thursday night when Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens visit Raymond James Stadium. It appears as if they will have to do so without the services of one of their most productive defenders.
Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. left Sunday's game in Charlotte early in the third quarter and was evaluated for a concussion. He did not return. On Monday, Head Coach Todd Bowles confirmed that Winfield did suffer a concussion and is now in the league's protocol for managing that injury. Bowles also said the status of wide receiver Russell Gage, who left the game with a hamstring ailment, is not yet determined.
"Winfield has a concussion, so he's in the protocol, likely will be out," said Bowles. "The other one's coming around, we'll see. Russell's got to get his MRI back, so we'll see what happens there."
Winfield ranks third on the Bucs' defense with 39 tackles, tied for second with 3.0 sacks and tied for first with five tackles for loss, while also adding an interception and a forced fumble. The 2021 Pro Bowler has thrived in a new dual role that has him at safety in the base defense and at slot corner in sub packages. After he left the game on Sunday, cornerback Dee Delaney took over in the slot.
October 21 Updates
It appears as if the Buccaneers' secondary will be a little closer to full strength in Week Seven. On Friday, Head Coach Todd Bowles indicated that starting safety Mike Edwards is likely to return to action against the Panthers this Sunday after missing last week's game in Pittsburgh due to an elbow injury.
"He had a good week of practice, so he's on track to play," said Bowles.
Prior to suffering his injury at the end of the Buccaneers' Week Five win over Atlanta, Edwards had started the first five contests alongside fellow safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. Logan Ryan, who started the season playing safety in sub packages while Winfield dropped into the slot, is now on injured reserve and the Buccaneers were forced to play cornerback Dee Delaney at safety in Pittsburgh. If Edwards is available this Sunday, the Bucs can use the same sort of rotation but with Keanu Neal taking on Ryan's role.
Bowles did rule out for players for the Carolina game: tight end Cameron Brate, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, wide receiver Julio Jones and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.
CLICK HERE to watch Bowles' post-practice meeting with the press on Friday.
October 19 Updates
The Buccaneers were thin enough at safety to play cornerback Dee Delaney in that role in sub packages last Sunday in Pittsburgh, but they may be getting one of their starters back from the injury list. Mike Edwards, who missed the Steelers game due to an elbow injury, was back at practice to start Week Seven on Wednesday. He was listed on the afternoon injury report as a full participant.
CLICK HERE for a more detailed look at the Bucs' first injury report of Week Seven.
The Buccaneers opened a spot on their 53-man roster on Tuesday when they placed safety Logan Ryan on injured reserve. Ryan will miss at least the next four games. While the team did fill an open spot on its practice squad on Wednesday by re-signing tight end David Wells, they did not immediately move to get their active roster back up to 53 players. The team could be holding that spot for the potential return of reserve tackle Josh Wells, who was designated for return from injured reserve on Wednesday. Wells practiced on Wednesday and can do so for up to 21 days before counting against the active roster, but the Buccaneers can also activate him at any time.
CLICK HERE for more on Wednesday's roster maneuvers.
October 17 Updates
The diagnosis of the injury suffered by Buccaneers tight end Cam Brate on Sunday in Pittsburgh is a relief. Head Coach Todd Bowles delivered an updated on Brate's status on Monday morning.
"He has a sprained neck," said Bowles. "He has all his extremities moving well and he's resting. That's been the extent of it. Everything else came out negative."
Bowles also said Brate did not have any neurological issues after a hit from linebacker Myles Jack on a six-yard reception left the veteran tight end on his back for several minutes. Medical personnel strapped Brate to a stabilizing board, took him off the field on a cart and transported him to a nearby Pittsburgh hospital. Brate lifted his hand to the crowd as he left, and it was also a good sign that he was able to rejoin the team in time to take the charter flight home.
"It turned out great for him," said Bowles, obviously referring to how frightening the initial scene was after Brate was injured. "It was good to see him [on the team plane]. It was good for the guys to see him. It relieved a lot of people's minds."
October 14 Updates
The Buccaneers may have to do some shuffling in their secondary in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
On Friday, Head Coach Todd Bowles revealed that safety Logan Ryan and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting have been ruled out for the Steelers game. In addition, safety Mike Edwards will be a "game-day decision."
Ryan will miss his second game in a row due to a foot injury while Murphy-Bunting (quad) and Edwards (elbow) were both hurt in last Sunday's win over Atlanta. Keanu Neal has stepped into Ryan's role, coming in when the defense goes to a nickel and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. drops down into the slot. Murphy-Bunting got his first playing time of the season against Atlanta after Carlton Davis left the game with a hip injury.
Davis has practiced fully throughout the week and thus seems likely to suit up in Pittsburgh, which would have pushed Murphy-Bunting back into a reserve role anyway. It gets a little tricky, however, if Edwards can't play. At that point, the team has to insert either a different third safety in sub packages or a new slot corner to allow Winfield to play exclusively at safety. Either way, there will be at least one new contributor in the secondary if Edwards is sidelined.
"Well it's big for the young guys to step up," said Bowles. "They've trained all year. We keep people on this team for a reason, and at some point everyone's going to have to contribute when it's their turn."
The remainder of the Buccaneers' active depth among defensive backs is rookie Zyon McCollum and second-year man Dee Delaney, both listed as cornerbacks. The team also has a quartet of defensive backs on the practice squad in safety Nolan Turner and cornerbacks Anthony Chesley, Don Gardner and the recently-signed Quandre Mosely. Turner, Gardner and Mosely are all rookies; Chesley has played 12 regular season games for the Texans and Colts over the past two seasons.
CLICK HERE for a thorough preview of Sunday's Bucs-Steelers contest.
October 12 Updates
Fifth-year cornerback Carlton Davis missed the last 29 defensive snaps of the Buccaneers' Week Five win over Atlanta after leaving the game with a hip issue. He appears to have made good progress since, as he was able to participate fully in the first practice of Week Six on Wednesday.
The Buccaneers signed rookie cornerback Quandre Mosely to the practice squad on Wednesday morning in response to both Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting leaving Sunday's game early. Murphy-Bunting did not practice on Wednesday due to the quad injury he sustained against the Falcons. Safety Mike Edwards, who was injured at the end of the Falcons' final drive was limisted to start the week due to an elbow ailment.
CLICK HERE for a more detailed look at the Bucs' first injury report of Week Six.
October 10 Updates
Safety Logan Ryan missed the Buccaneers' Week 5 win over Atlanta due to a foot injury suffered the previous week against Kansas City. In the meantime, the Buccaneers' secondary saw its ranks thinned on Sunday by second-half injuries to cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting and safety Mike Edwards. Though they may need some reinforcements on the back end of the defense, the Bucs do not expect Ryan back for their trip to Pittsburgh this upcoming weekend.
"Probably not this week," said Head Coach Todd Bowles regarding Ryan's expected return to action.
Ryan had been coming in on nickel packages, taking over at safety while Antoine Winfield Jr. moved down into the slot. That role had the veteran defensive back on the field for 60-70% of the defensive snaps each week. Keanu Neal stepped into that role in Week Five but the Bucs ended up using most of their secondary depth when three other defensive backs left the game. Murphy-Bunting took over for Davis after the latter suffered a hip injury but then left the game with a quad ailment of his own. Edwards' injury occurred on the last defensive snap of the game for Tampa Bay so it's unclear whether he would have re-entered the contest.
Bowles said on Monday that he thought Edwards would be okay this week but he was still waiting on further clarity on the two cornerbacks.
"[They are] just sore, so we'll see how the week goes and see if they progress any and start to play on Sunday," said the coach.
CLICK HERE to watch Todd Bowles' entire day-after-game press conference.
October 7 Updates
Russell Gage and Chris Godwin have been on the Buccaneers' injury report every week so far this season, but both wide receivers took a step forward in Week Five in preparation for Sunday's game against Atlanta. This time, neither Gage nor Godwin was given a game-status designation, i.e. Out, Doubtful or Questionable.
Gage had been considered questionable in each of the last four weeks while Godwin was questionable in Weeks One and Four and out for the two games in between. The Buccaneers will not have to worry this weekend if either will be potentially unavailable on Sunday.
On the other hand, wideouts Julio Jones and Breshad Perriman are still considered questionable this week. Perriman sat out last week's contest with knee and hamstring maladies while Jones played the first half against the Chiefs but missed most of the second half due to a knee injury.
CLICK HERE for Brianna Dix's more detailed look at the Buccaneers' week-ending injury report.
After the Buccaneers' final practice of the week on Friday, Head Coach Todd Bowles confirmed that Cameron Brate will not play on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. However, the veteran tight end is making significant progress after entering the concussion protocol last Sunday. Brate returned to practice on Friday on a limited basis after not taking part in the workouts on Wednesday or Thursday.
"He's not in play for Sunday right now but he's feeling better," said Bowles.
Bowles also indicated that defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and safety Logan Ryan have been ruled out for the Falcons game, as well. Hicks will miss his third consecutive game after suffering a foot injury in Week Two at New Orleans. Ryan also sustained a foot injury in last Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
October 6 Updates
On Wednesday, Cole Beasley's agents, Joel and Justin Turner, indicated on social media that Beasley planned to retire from the NFL. On Thursday, the Buccaneers made the resulting roster move, terminating Beasley's practice squad contract.
Beasley spent two weeks on Tampa Bay's squad, originally signing on September 21 while the team was dealing with a rash of injuries to their receiving corps plus the one-game suspension drawn by Mike Evans in Week Three. The 11th-year veteran wideout was elevated from the practice squad for each of the past two games and he ended up playing a total of 13 offensive snaps and producing four catches for 17 yards. In his career, which spanned seven seasons in Dallas and three in Buffalo, Beasley caught 554 passes for 5,726 yards and 34 touchdowns.
The Buccaneers saw Evans and Chris Godwin return to action in Week Four and in Week Five they could have those two plus Russell Gage, Julio Jones, Breshad Perriman, Jaelon Darden and Scotty Miller available at wide receiver.
Quarterback Tom Brady, who is listed on this week's injury report with right shoulder and right finger designations, practiced without limits on Thursday after watching Wednesday's workout from the side. Afterward, Brady said his throwing shoulder was fine and not an issue for the upcoming game against Atlanta.
"Good. Feels great, thanks for asking," he said. "I'll be there Sunday."
CLICK HERE to watch Brady's meeting with the press on Thursday.
October 5 Updates
The Buccaneers' secondary lost two key figures to injuries on Sunday night when safety Logan Ryan sustained a foot injury and cornerback Carlton Davis suffered a shoulder stinger. It appears as if Davis is more likely to return from his injury in Week Five.
Tampa Bay released its first injury report of the week on Wednesday and it included four players who did not participate in that day's practice: Ryan, quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Cam Brate and DL Akiem Hicks. Davis was also on the report but was listed as a full participant.
CLICK HERE for a more detailed look at the Bucs' Wednesday injury report.
Chris Godwin's first attempt at a comeback from last December's devastating knee injury lasted less than a half. His second attempt went much better.
Godwin made a suprisingly swift recovery from the torn ACL/MCL he suffered last December 19, returning to the field less than nine months later as the Buccaneers opened their 2022 season in Dallas. He took a quick pass up field for 24 yards on the team's first offensive snap of the season and had three catches for 35 yards by halftime. However, on his third catch late in the second quarter he suffered a hamstring injury that would cause him to miss the rest of that contest and the next two that followed.
Godwin was cleared to return last Sunday night against the Chiefs and jumped right back into a major role, delivering seven receptions for 59 yards. Perhaps the most significant number in Godwin's stat line for the night was 83%. That was the share of offensive snaps that he got, playing 53 of a possible 64 reps. He was actually the last Buccaneer to touch the ball in an eventual 41-31 loss, catching a lateral from Russell Gage on the final snap.
Godwin is not yet fully back to peak form, but playing the entire game in Week Four was a good step forward.
"I think I'm getting there," he said on Wednesday. "It takes a little bit of time when you first come back from a major injury just to kind of get your footing. But I think right now as the weeks kind of go by, as I stack some games underneath my belt that I'll be closer to being back. But I'm just fortunate to be able to make it through a full game. Obviously, it wasn't the outcome we were looking for, but it's a long year. We've got a lot of work to put in."
Godwin actually did come off the field late in the third quarter with an apparent injury after blocking on a goal-line run by Rachaad White, but he reported on Wednesday that it was a non-issue.
"My back just landed weird," said Godwin. "Sometimes people lean on you a little bit [and you] slip, but it was fine. By the time I got to the sideline I was fine."
CLICK HERE to hear more of Godwin's thoughts on Wednesday.
October 3 Updates
The Buccaneers lost two key members of their secondary during Sunday night's game against Kansas City, as safety Logan Ryan sustained a foot injury in the first quarter and cornerback Carlton Davis left with a stinger in the second half. Stingers are injuries to a person's nerve network, often in the shoulder, and they generally clear up relatively quickly.
And indeed, Head Coach Todd Bowles did not seem concerned about Davis's availability going forward. The extent of Ryan's injury, however, is still being determined.
"Carlton's okay," said Bowles on Monday. "Logan has a foot injury; he's still getting evaluated."