The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use three of their practice squad protection options in Week 15, putting that designation on kicker Greg Joseph, cornerback Herb Miller and guard John Miller. It's the same list the Buccaneers submitted in Week 14.
Miller is protected for the second time in a row while Joseph has been on the list every week. Molchon has also become a regular on the list, as he has been protected six weeks in a row since coming off injured reserve and joining the practice squad.
Each team in the NFL is allowed up to four practice squad protections per week, and they take effect at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Protected players can not be signed away by another team from then through the day of the upcoming game. Unprotected players are always free to sign with another team if the new team is adding them to the 53-man active roster.
The practice squad protection rule was put in place over the summer as the CBA was revised to give teams greater roster flexibility amid the pandemic. All practice squad players still have opportunities to get promoted by other teams between when their team's game is played and the next Tuesday deadline.
The Buccaneers have protected Joseph every week as a guard against kicker Ryan Succop suddenly becoming unavailable close to game day. With the COVID protocols, it would not be possible to sign a new kicker in time to suit him up for the game in such a situation. Miller's addition to the list has coincided with the absence of cornerback Jamel Dean due to a groin injury.
Though it is unrelated to the new protection rule, the Buccaneers have also used their practice squad elevation option on Miller for the last two games. Miller played against Kansas City in Week 12 and Minnesota in Week 14, primarily seeing action on special teams. Molchon was also elevated in Week 12 but was then made inactive for the game against the Chiefs.