The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter on 24 defensive snaps in their Week Six win over the Green Bay Packers. They want to make sure they have that option again in Week Seven, if needed.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers opted to use two of their practice squad protection options, tabbing Ledbetter and kicker Greg Joseph. Each team is allowed to protect up to four players per week on their practice squad, keeping them from signing with another team's active roster. This is the first time the Buccaneers have only used two of those four options.
The Buccaneers protected Ledbetter last week, too, and then also elevated him to the active roster on game day. After the loss of Vita Vea to injured reserve in Week Five, Ledbetter and Rakeem Nunez-Roches essentially split the nose tackle duties against Green Bay.
This is the second time that Ledbetter has been protected this season. The Buccaneers have elected to protect Joseph every week, given how difficult it would be to get a new kicker on the roster if there was a late-week issue that made Ryan Succop unavailable.
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. In general, practice squad players may always be signed away by other teams that want to put them on their 53-man rosters; however, protected players cannot be signed by other teams between 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and the upcoming game. 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 can elevate up to two players from the practice squad on Sunday for their Week Seven game in Las Vegas. Those players do not have to be the same ones that were protected.