In recent weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have relied on their practice squad to fill newly-developed holes on the depth chart. They'll do so again in Week 12 to shore up the offensive line and cornerback units.
The latest two promotions from the practice squad are first-year guard Josh Allen and rookie cornerback Javien Elliott. That's a reaction to two events that created spots on the 53-man roster: the placement of center Ben Gottschalk on injured reserve and the suspension of cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah for four games.
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The practice squad will also have a new look in Week 12. In addition to those two promotions, the Bucs also opened a spot on that 10-man crew by releasing rookie running back Russell Hansbrough. The practice squad will be back to a full 10 for the first workout of the week thanks to the additions of offensive lineman Mike Liedtke, cornerback Cody Riggs and wide receiver Myles White.
Allen, who originally signed with the Buccaneers as a rookie free agent in 2014 out of Louisiana-Monroe, has been on the practice squad since it was first formed in Week One. He also spent portions of the previous two seasons on the Bucs' practice squad and was on the active roster for the final five weeks of his rookie campaign, appearing in four games. The 6-3, 315-pound interior lineman started two games at left guard for the Buccaneers during the preseason and drew strong praise for his play in a Week Three win over the Cleveland Browns.
The Buccaneers may need immediate help on their interior line with the loss of Gottschalk, who had himself only been promoted from the practice squad on Nov. 12. He played most of Tampa Bay's Week 10 win over Chicago at center after an injury to Evan Smith, then started at left guard in place of Kevin Pamphile this past Sunday. Gottschalk suffered a knee injury after 19 plays in Kansas City and was replaced by rookie Caleb Benenoch. With the status of Smith and Pamphile still uncertain, the Buccaneers needed Allen to maintain depth on the line.
Adjei-Barimah has been the team's primary nickel corner since the Week Three decision to move rookie Vernon Hargreaves permanently to an outside corner spot. In addition to his suspension, the Buccaneers also must deal with a quad injury that knocked starting cornerback Brent Grimes out early in Sunday's win over the Chiefs.
Elliott (5-11, 176) has also been on the practice squad since the first week of the season. An undrafted free agent out of Florida State, he signed with the Buccaneers on May 26. He went to training camp with the team and played in all four preseason games, contributing two stops and one tackle for loss. Elliott's promotion continues an impressive rise for the former college walk-on who did not see game action with the Seminoles until last season, when he started six of 12 contests and recorded 37 tackles, four passes defensed, one sack and one interception.
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Liedtke was most recently with the Cleveland Browns, spending most of October on their practice squad. He went to training camp this summer with the Jets after splitting his 2015 rookie season between the practice squads in Miami and Kansas City. The 6-4, 300-pound Liedtke played his college ball at Illinois State and originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins.
The 5-9, 186-pound Riggs has played in 14 games for the Tennessee Titans over the past two seasons, recording seven tackles, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He originally signed with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame in 2015, making the active roster out of his first NFL training camp. He has played in three games for the Titans this year.
Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2013, White has appeared in 19 regular-season NFL games, seven with the Packers in his rookie season and another 12 with the New York Giants last fall. His career totals include 16 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown, including a 25-yard scoring grab against Minnesota last December. The 6-0, 192-pound wideout also spent the entire 2014 season on Green Bay's practice squad and has had three stints this year on the New York Jets' practice squad.