Each week during the regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' communications department publishes a "Game Release" to aid the media in coverage of their upcoming game. Included in that release are a number of documents regarding the player roster, including a depth chart, which lists the pecking order at every position on offense, defense and special teams.
Each game week, we will be taking a closer look at that depth chart, pointing out any changes or relevant notes from the previous game. Let's start on offense. Players we will be discussing in depth are highlighted in bold text.
WR: Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Jaelon Darden
WR: Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman
LT: Donovan Smith, Josh Wells
LG: Nick Leverett, Luke Goedeke
C: Robert Hainsey, John Molchon
RG: Shaq Mason, Brandon Walton
RT: Tristan Wirfs
TE: Cameron Brate, Cade Otton, Kyle Rudolph, Ko Kieft
WR: Russell Gage, Scotty Miller
QB: Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask
RB: Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Giovani Bernard
Now that Luke Goedeke has returned to active status after missing four games with a foot injury, the Buccaneers have officially made a change on the depth chart at left guard. Goedeke, a rookie second-round pick, started the first seven games at that spot but was alternating series with Nick Leverett in Week Seven when he got hurt. While the rookie was sidelined by injury there was no need to clarify the starting spot between him and Leverett; now that he is back and the Buccaneers stuck with Leverett in Week 13 anyway, the two have switched spots on the depth chart. Goedeke was active on Monday night against the Saints but did not receive any snaps on offense or special teams.
The Buccaneers have made no changes on the running back line of that depth chart, but rookie Rachaad White drew the start on Monday even with Leonard Fournette returning to action after missing one game with a hip pointer. Fournette continued to draw the higher number of snaps, however, taking 48 plays on offense (60%) while White got 33. Fournette and White ended up with the same combined number of rushes and targets, with 17, and each caught six passes.
Chris Godwin didn't draw quite as heavy of a workload as he did in Week 12, when he was in for all but three of a possible 69 offensive snaps, but he still led all wide receivers against the Saints with 69 out of 80 plays. Russell Gage returned from a four-game absence due to a hamstring injury and drew 26 snaps, with Julio Jones remaining the most common third receiver in the game with 52 snaps, or 65% of the total. With Gage back in the mix, it was Breshad Perriman among the team's seven rostered receivers who lost his active spot on game day.
With veteran Cameron Brate out due to an illness the Bucs kept Kyle Rudolph active as a third tight end, but he got only nine snaps in the game. Rookie Cade Otton was on the field for 82% of the snaps and drew 10 targets, second only to Godwin's 13. One of the 10 was a one-yard touchdown.
DL: Akiem Hicks, Pat O'Connor
NT: Vita Vea, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Deadrin Senat
DL: William Gholston, Logan Hall
OLB: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Carl Nassib
ILB: Devin White
ILB: Lavonte David, Olakunle Fatukasi
OLB: Anthony Nelson, Genard Avery
CB: Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting
CB: Carlton Davis, Zyon McCollum
S: Antoine Winfield Jr., Logan Ryan, Dee Delaney
S: Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, Nolan Turner
Logan Ryan was activated from injured reserve on Monday and has been added back to the depth chart as the primary backup to Antoine Winfield Jr. Ryan was thrust right back into action on Monday night, as both Winfield and Mike Edwards were out due to injuries, and the veteran defender played all 59 defensive snaps. Keanu Neal took the other safety spot and was on the field for all but one defensive snap.
With cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting also out due to injury, the Bucs were without their two top slot options (the first being Winfield). Rookie Zyon McCollum got the call in that spot, seeing his first action as a nickel back this season. He played 41 of the 59 defensive snaps.
Inside linebacker Lavonte David was briefly shaken up in the second half of Monday's night game and was forced to the sideline for one play. It was the first defensive snap he has missed all season. That leaves Devin White as the only Buccaneer defender who has been on the field for all 782 defensive plays so far in 2022.
After drawing what had been a season-high 26 defensive snaps in Week 12 at Cleveland, outside linebacker Carl Nassib upped that to 29 snaps on Monday night. He made two crucial plays late in the fourth quarter, including a sack of Andy Dalton for 10 yards and a tipped pass on third down that led to a punt. Nassib ate more into the playing time of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (34 snaps) than that of Anthony Nelson (41 snaps). Defensive linemen Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks both played through foot injuries, drawing 37 and 39 snaps, respectively.
P: Jake Camarda
PK: Ryan Succop
KO: Jake Camarda
H: Jake Camarda
LS: Zach Triner
PR: Jaelon Darden, Scotty Miller
KR: Rachaad White, Jaelon Darden
For the second week in a row, the Buccaneers took away Rachaad White's kickoff return duties as his role on offense continues to grow, giving that job to Jaelon Darden.
The two players the Buccaneers elevated from the practice squad on Monday were the two busiest Bucs on special teams, with linebacker Ulysees Gilbert taking 21 snaps and cornerback Anthony Chesley just behind at 20. Despite their significant roles on defense, McCollum and Nelson each logged 15 special teams snaps, as well.