The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have started to get some of their injured players in the secondary back in action in recent weeks but are still missing several regulars. That's reflected in the practice squad protection list the team submitted on Wednesday, which includes safety Troy Warner and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson. The list is the same as it was in Week 14, also including kicker Jose Borregales and tight end Darren Fells.
While cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Richard Sherman have returned to action over the past two weeks, the Buccaneers are still without safeties Jordan Whitehead (calf injury) and Mike Edwards (NFL suspension). In addition, cornerback Jamel Dean left last Sunday's game against Buffalo early due to an illness. Dean had suffered a concussion in Week 13 at Atlanta but had cleared the league's protocol before suiting up against the Bills.
Borregales has been on the Bucs' protected list for every game since Week Two. Fells is making his fifth straight appearance on the list since joining Tampa Bay's practice squad in November and this is the seventh straight protection for Wreh-Wilson. Warner was protected last week and in Weeks Three and Five through Eight.
The option to protect a limited number of practice squad players from being signed away by other teams was one of a number of new rules adopted regarding the practice squad in 2020 to give teams more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The NFL elected to keep those rules in place for 2021.
Each week, a team can submit a list of up to four players on its practice squad that other teams are prohibited from signing to their active rosters. In most weeks, that protection starts at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and extends through game day. No players are protected for close to two days following a game, so every practice squad player in the league still has an opportunity each week to sign with another team's active roster.