The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost some valuable depth on their offensive line for at least the next three games.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers placed guard Aaron Stinnie on injured reserve due to the knee injury he suffered early in last Sunday's game at Indianapolis. Stinnie had started that game at left guard in place of an injured Ali Marpet but was then replaced by first-year player Nick Leverett after he was sidelined. Stinnie must remain on injured reserve for at least three weeks before returning to the active roster, but Head Coach Bruce Arians described Stinnie's injury as longer-term issue earlier on Wednesday.
Stinnie had been the team's primary backup at both guard spots and had been active for all 11 games, though he did not see action in six of them. Sunday's game marked the first regular-season start of his career and also the first time that one of the Buccaneers' original five starting offensive lineman missed a game. However, the Buccaneers had full confidence in Stinnie after he stepped in for an injured Alex Cappa in the postseason last year and logged three impressive starts at right guard, including Super Bowl LV.
With Stinnie on injured reserve, the Buccaneers currently have eight offensive linemen on the active roster, with Josh Wells serving as the swing tackle and the young duo of Leverett and Robert Hainsey backing up the interior spots. Tampa Bay also has guard John Molchon and tackle Brandon Walton on the practice squad, though neither has any regular-season game experience.
Stinnie first entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of James Madison with the Titans in 2018. He made the roster as a rookie and appeared in one game, then played three more contests for Tennessee in 2019 before being waived in November. The Buccaneers claimed him off waivers and he got into two more games with his new team that season. Last year, Stinnie saw action in six games during the regular season before his impressive run as a starter in the playoffs.