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Making Up for BA's Absence & How Underrated Jordan Whitehead Is | Carmen Catches Up

How Asst. Head Coach/Run-Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin is stepping in for BA and just how underrated safety Jordan Whitehead is according to his teammates.

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-The Buccaneers are without their head coach after Bruce Arians tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, putting him in isolation away from the team for the now five-day quarantine period. It does leave the door open for him to potentially return on Sunday if he were to fly the day of the game but in the meantime, Assistant Head Coach/Run-Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin has stepped in to fulfill Arians' duties this week.

"Good day of practice, no issues today, good focus by the guys," Goodwin said following practice. "Everybody did a great job of adjusting, obviously, with the staff that we have. Missing B.A. (Head Coach Bruce Arians) is not a problem because all the coaches know what to do. My job is just to be here [and] manage everything until B.A. makes his return."

Goodwin has been with Arians on multiple stops in his career and has clearly earned the trust Arians placed in him. The conversation to tell 'Goodie' as he's known that he was taking over was short and sweet.

"'Goodie' is a good man," said running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn. "[He] kind of came in and really has the same structure as B.A. (Bruce Arians). Keeping his foot going after what B.A. has wanted from this team. Like he said in his interview, 'It's a player's team.' That's kind of what we [are] – players lead, and then 'Goodie' is just stepping up and letting us know what direction to go in and we just follow him."

Arians isn't the only player on the COVID list for the Bucs. The same day that news broke of BA's positive test, both cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Bucs are doing all they can to mitigate the spread. That goes especially for crucial positions like quarterback. Goodwin didn't allude to the Bucs doing anything different in regards to making sure they have a quarterback available, like isolating one of their backups, for instance.

"That would probably be between Jason Licht and B.A. (Bruce Arians)," said Goodie. "At this point I think it's business as usual in the quarterback room. They do a great job of being smart [with] how they carry themselves around each other. And knock on wood, so far we're good at that spot."

Arians is still involved remotely all week. Though he isn't physically there, which means his golf cart isn't there either.

"I am always kind of amused looking over and he is in his [golf] cart just kind of chilling in his cart the whole practice," said tight end Cam Brate. "I miss seeing him out there. Obviously, his presence is really important to the team. He will call guys over throughout practice to his cart and just kind of go over some little details and plays. Obviously, we all really love Bruce and hope he is feeling well. We can't wait to have him back, but 'Coach Goodie' (Interim Head Coach Harold Goodwin) is going to do a great job filling in for him." 

It's just another set of adjustments the Bucs have had to make this year, just like most teams.

"I think every season has that to an extent and you just don't know what it's going to be," right guard Alex Cappa said of uncertainties this season. "We've expected that there's always going to be something that we have to deal with, so that's no surprise to us and we're ready for it."

-Safety Jordan Whitehead got our Buccaneers.com game ball after recording a team-high seven tackles, three pass breakups and an interception at Carolina. He's been as reliable as they come in that box safety spot when healthy and though maybe the masses aren't talking about it, his teammates are.

"I honestly think he is one of the best strong safeties in the league, hands down," said cornerback Carlton Davis. "He is definitely underrated. He is an explosive strong safety. His run stop is phenomenal. The things he brings to our defense [are] incomparable. There are just not enough words to express how much I appreciate having him on the field with me, the energy he brings and just his style of play. It's the style of defense that we play, and he embodies that with how he plays the game. That guy, I don't even know what to say about him. He is a great player for us, and it sucks that he is underrated and doesn't get the attention that he should get." 

"J-White is a dog, man," said outside linebacker Cam Gill. "It's very easy to feed off his energy. Just to be on the field with all of those guys including J-White and all the others, it just brings the best out of you. I'm blessed to play with those guys every time I take the field with them. I want to match their intensity."

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