-Head Coach Bruce Arians addressed the media on Tuesday following an abbreviated 'bonus day' of practice. The team held a walk-through after having three consecutive days off following their Thursday night victory at home over the Dallas Cowboys.
And though that was good news, it didn't come without a cost.
Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting went down early in the game with what ended up being a dislocated elbow. Murphy-Bunting was then moved to injured reserve on Monday, meaning he'll miss at least three games. Arians came bearing the news it would likely be at least four weeks, and that's best case.
"Right now, it could be anywhere from four [weeks] to the end of the season. We're still looking at some MRI and a second opinion on what has to be done, if anything," said Arians. "We'll probably know more in two days whether it's a season-long [injury] or three-to-six [weeks]."
Not what you want to hear for the team's starting nickel corner. The good news is, the secondary could get some flexibility with safety Jordan Whitehead looking at making a possible return for Sunday's game. Arians said they'll know more when they see him full speed this week at practice.
Murphy-Bunting wasn't the only significant injury on Thursday night, though we're just finding out about it now because long snapper Zach Triner may very well be the toughest player on the team. Triner broke his finger but continued to snap the ball – including on the game-winning field goal. Triner has also been moved to IR and his injury will take 10-12 weeks to heal.
Asked when he found out about the injury, Arians said, "When I saw the injury report."
"Nobody brought it up on the sideline," he continued. "He didn't bring it up. Tough as nails."
-The focus has now turned to Week Two's opponent as the Bucs get an early division game against the Falcons. Atlanta will be making the trip down here, giving the Bucs their third home game in a row (see what I did there?).
The Falcons suffered a dismal fate against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles in Week One under new Head Coach Arthur Smith. Formerly the offensive coordinator in Tennessee, the Bucs will be looking at his time there for what to expect from the new-look NFC Southers.
"Very similar to Tennessee when he was there," Arians said of his expectations. "They're going to try to establish the run and bootlegs and all the play-action stuff, and they've got a ton of weapons. We've got to put our big-boy pads on and get ready to stop the run. Defensively, Coach [Dean] Pees has been around forever, and he's got every trick in the book, so we're going to have to be ready for them."
The Bucs' offense was certainly ready for Dallas last Thursday, scoring over 30 points in their eighth-straight win, which ties a league record. Only two other teams have done that: the 2007 and 2010 New England Patriots. Should the Bucs score 30 or more points and win against Atlanta, it will be a new NFL record – and one, yes, still held by Tom Brady.
And while the Bucs' offense was firing on all cylinders, the sheer number of weapons they have make it impossible for all of those cylinders needing to be at full force. Or something like that. I don't know how cars work. The point is, there is only so much production to go around – even when your quarterback throws for 379 yards and four touchdowns on the night. People were visibly upset during and after the game about wide receiver Mike Evans not getting enough targets but, like, chill guys. Both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown had over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski had 90 yards and two touchdowns. Where exactly was Evans supposed to fit in?
Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich also explained that Dallas had a plan for Evans – as teams should for the opponent's number one receiver. But it's nothing to be concerned about. You're going to have to try to stop the other guys, too. And that's when Evans will strike.
"I'll put it like this – I think he left this game with more catches than he did a year ago (in Week 1)," said Leftwich. "So, it's improvement. I don't view it that way. Mike doesn't see single [coverage]. There is no one guy following him around. I haven't seen that really in a while versus anybody. There's really never one guy following him around. We hope we get that at some point. Mike knows more about the team. All Mike can do is get himself in position. We'll move him around and get him in position to allow him to make plays, but I wouldn't freak out after one game [for] anybody. That's just football being football."
Bucs Tweet of the Day:
Oh look… another episode of my new podcast, Booth Review.