-The Buccaneers will definitely be without outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and wide receiver/kick returner Jaydon Mickens when they face the Rams in Los Angeles this weekend but they will also likely be without wide receiver Antonio Brown and inside linebacker Kevin Minter, both on the reserve/COVID-19 list, though Head Coach Bruce Arians wouldn't definitively rule them out on Friday. With two receivers potentially out, it could mean increased work for others down the depth chart in what is perhaps the deepest position group for the Bucs. Guys like Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller, who have limited (or in Miller's case) no targets this year so far.
"I think everybody has respect for the guys in front of them in the room and [are] just chomping at the bit to get their chance," said Arians about the Tampa Bay receiving corps. "Because every time they've gotten a chance, they've proven that they're worthy of being out there. And the guys that are in front of them know, 'Hey, I'll tap it out. I've got a fresh good body going in, so I don't have to play tired."
Miller, himself, remains ready for his number to be called.
"I'm just really excited to go out there and get some opportunities hopefully," he said on Friday. "I always try to stay ready no matter what because you never know when your opportunity is going to come. It could've came Week 1 or Week 2, but I didn't happen to get the ball thrown my way. This week I'll be ready, and if it does, hopefully I will be able to make the play."
Miller may also be tapped on special teams to come in for Mickens on punt returns. Miller said Friday he works on punts every single day in practice, in case that's where he's needed as well.
-Of course, one of the guys dictating the targets and where the ball will ultimately go, is quarterback Tom Brady. He's proven effective, to say the least, in being productive so far this season. So effective, that he has the league lead in passing touchdowns with nine, is top five in passing yards among all quarterbacks and is coming off back-to-back FedEx Air Player of the Week awards. While that may be surprising to some from a 44-year-old quarterback, one person that isn't surprised? His coach.
"I'm not surprised," said Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen. "No, I'm not. He just had a good camp. Same thing – he just continues with improvement because he started a little bit behind time because of the rehab and stuff. So, he's a little bit behind, but he really practiced well. I'm not surprised as much as everyone else. It's a unit statistic as much as anything. The receiving corps has made a bunch of big plays for him and gets open. They're hard to get doubles on just one guy just because there are so many weapons. I do think it's much bigger than just Tom."
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