The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started their week of preparation for the Green Bay Packers with no margin for error in their offensive line depth. As it turned out, that depth was tested even before the team left for Wisconsin.
On Saturday, one day before the Buccaneers would take on the Packers at Lambeau Field, the team promoted offensive lineman Mike Liedtke to the active roster from the practice squad. To make room on that 53-man roster, the Bucs released linebacker Cameron Lynch.
Tampa Bay also made a change to its official injury report on Saturday, a relatively rare move that reflects a change in a player's status following Friday's report. In this case, center Joe Hawley was added due to illness and is considered questionable for Sunday's game.
Before that development, Tampa Bay saw its active O-Line ranks shrink from nine to seven on Wednesday when starting right tackle Demar Dotson and starting center Ali Marpet were placed on injured reserve. That still left the team with the same number of offensive linemen it usually keeps active on game day, with five starters and one reserve each for the inside and outside spots. The versatility of such players as Evan Smith, Kevin Pamphile and Caleb Benenoch gave the Buccaneers contingency plans at all five spots.
However, tackle Leonard Wester suffered an ankle injury in practice and he was limited during Friday's work then labeled as questionable for the game on the week's final injury report. The availability of both Wester and Hawley could be a question mark until Sunday morning, but the Buccaneers gave themselves another lineup option by promoting Liedtke.
A 6-3, 305-pound lineman out of Illinois State, Liedtke first entered the NFL as a college free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 2015. He subsequently saw time with the Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns before landing in Tampa Bay's practice squad in November of 2016. He remained with the Buccaneers through the rest of last season and then signed a futures contract in January. Liedtke went to training camp in Tampa this summer and impressed, appearing in all four preseason games and starting the last one at right guard. He has spent the entire 2017 season on the Buccaneers' practice squad.
Lynch has played 23 games for the Buccaneers over the past two seasons, almost exclusively on special teams. He is second on the team this year with five kick-coverage tackles. Lynch also played for the St. Louis Rams in 2015.