The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' most pressing depth chart issues haven't changed since last week, and neither has their list of protected practice squad players.
For the second week in a row, the Bucs used their four protection options on kicker Jose Borregales, tight end Codey McElroy, cornerback Rashard Robinson and safety Troy Warner. The team is dealing with a rash of injuries in the secondary and does not yet know if tight end Rob Gronkowski will be able to return to action this Thursday in Philadelphia. Even kicker Ryan Succop is on this week's injury report with a back ailment, though the Buccaneers had already been protecting Borregales on a weekly basis.
The option to protect a limited number of practice squad players from being signed away by other teams was one of a number of new rules adopted regarding the practice squad in 2020 to give teams more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The NFL elected to keep those rules in place for 2021.
By protecting those four players, the Buccaneers made sure that any or all of them would be available for game day elevation or a full promotion to the active roster prior to Thursday's game. McElroy and Robinson, however, have already been elevated twice (not counting COVID-replacement promotions), the maximum number of times any single player can be elevated.
Each week, a team can submit a list of up to four players on its practice squad that other teams are prohibited from signing to their active rosters. In a normal week with a Sunday game, that protection starts at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and extends through game day. No players are protected on Monday or on Tuesday before the deadline, so every practice squad player will still have opportunities to sign elsewhere, even with the protected spots.