The Tampa Bay Buccaneers believe football success starts up front, and they have invested significant resources in their offensive and defensive lines in the past few years. On Friday night, during a 30-28 preseason win over the New England Patriots, the Buccaneers saw three of their key linemen – all of them former first-round draft picks – leave the game due to injuries.
It appears the most significant concern is the knee of Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph. The team is less worried about defensive end Adrian Clayborn and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, both of whom left the game in the first quarter with unspecified injuries.
After the game, Head Coach Greg Schiano said that Joseph's injury, "doesn't look good." He indicated that Joseph will be further examined on Saturday but later added that, "I think everybody else is going to be okay [but] I'm worried about Davin."
Specifically, Schiano said he believed both Clayborn and McCoy would be fine. Neither player was likely to see much action in the team's preseason finale next Wednesday at Washington, and the regular-season opener is still 16 days away.
Schiano will address the media on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in his scheduled day-after-game press conference. He will likely have a more definitive report on Joseph's status at that time.
Joseph, who Schiano described as "one of the team's leader, if not the team leader," was injured in the second quarter when a Patriots' defender landed on his legs from behind. Joseph started all 16 games for the Buccaneers last season and was named to his second Pro Bowl. He was selected by Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2006 draft.
Third-year player Derek Hardman is listed behind Joseph on the Buccaneers' depth chart at right guard. Hardman started four games at right guard as a rookie in 2010. Third-year man Ted Larsen came in to play right guard on Friday night after Joseph's injury; he started 10 games as a rookie in 2010 as well primarily at left guard.