The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are using all four of their practice squad protection options in Week 17, submitting a list with three familiar names and one player who will be protected for the first time. Kicker Greg Joseph, cornerback Herb Miller and guard John Molchon have all become weekly protections while veteran guard Ted Larsen makes his first appearance on the list.
Each team in the NFL is allowed up to four practice squad protections per week, and they take effect at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Protected players can not be signed away by another team from then through the day of the upcoming game. Unprotected players are always free to sign with another team if the new team is adding them to the 53-man active roster.
The practice squad protection rule was put in place over the summer as the CBA was revised to give teams greater roster flexibility amid the pandemic. All practice squad players still have opportunities to get promoted by other teams between when their team's game is played and the next Tuesday deadline.
Larsen, who played his first four NFL seasons in Tampa from 2010-13 and also subsequently played under Bruce Arians in Arizona, was signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad on Dec. 8. He has played in 137 career games for the Buccaneers, Cardinals, Dolphins and Bears, with 88 starts, seeing action at all three interior line spots. This is the first time Larsen has been protected but he was elevated to the game day roster in Week 15 at Atlanta.
Joseph has been protected every week this season to make sure the Buccaneers have an available option if kicker Ryan Succop is suddenly unable to play. That nearly came to pass in Week 15 when Succop was one of three Buccaneer specialists to land on the reserve/COVID-19 list, though all three were cleared by week's end and able to play in Atlanta.
Molchon has been protected for each of the last eight weeks, or the entire time he's been on the practice squad. Miller is getting the designation for the fourth week in a row and he has also been elevated to the game day roster three times, once as a COVID replacement. Last week, Miller got into the blowout win over Detroit in the fourth quarter and recorded his first career interception.