The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to slow down the NFL's highest-scoring offense on Sunday when they take on the Green Bay Packers at Raymond James Stadium. Second-year defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter could be part of that effort.
On Saturday, the Buccaneers elevated Ledbetter from the practice squad, making him eligible to play in Sunday's game. That increases the Bucs' pool of available players on Sunday to 53, as they came into the weekend carrying 52 players on the active roster. They will be able to keep up to 48 of those players active for the game.
Whether Ledbetter is on that active list could depend on the availability of rookie defensive lineman Khalil Davis. Davis was listed as questionable for the game on Friday's injury report due to an ankle ailment. The sixth-round pick out of Missouri had been expected to see his first action of the season after the Buccaneers were forced to place starting nose tackle Vita Vea on injured reserve. Ledbetter could fill in if Davis is inactive, or the Bucs could keep both reserves active for the game.
The Buccaneers prepared for this move earlier in the week by including Ledbetter on their list of protected practice squad players for Week Six. That prevented any other team from signing Ledbetter to its active roster between Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET and Sunday's game.
Ledbetter last played in a regular season game in December of the 2018 season after the Buccaneers promoted him from the practice squad. He had one tackle as a reserve against Atlanta in the Bucs' season finale. Formerly a sixth-round pick by Detroit in 2017, Ledbetter also played in all 16 games as a rookie for the Lions, recording 14 tackles, 0.5 sacks and four quarterback hits.
Ledbetter spent most of the 2018 season on Tampa Bay's practice squad but was waived with an injury settlement at the end of the 2019 preseason. He spent three weeks on Baltimore's practice squad in October of last season, then returned to Tampa after being released by the Ravens. He finished the season on the Bucs' practice squad and landed back on that unit to start the 2020 campaign.
The option to elevate up to two players from the practice squad for each game is new in 2020 and the Buccaneers have made use of it in each of the first six weeks. A team can only elevate a specific player twice during the season, and this is the first elevation for Ledbetter. After the game he will automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.