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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Updates: September 2023

Keep informed with our daily updates: News, notes and more in September 2023

September 29 Updates

The Saints are one of two teams in the NFL, along with the Texans, who boast three receivers who have already surpassed the 150-yard mark through three weeks. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will be facing that trio down at least one starting cornerback, and possibly two.

After the Bucs' final practice of the week on Friday, Head Coach Todd Bowles indicated that Jamel Dean, who sustained an injury to his neck and shoulder area on Monday night against the Eagles, is unlikely to suit up on Sunday.

"Dean will probably be out," said Bowles.

The Buccaneers hope to get their other starting corner, Carlton Davis, back in the mix after he missed the previous two games due to a toe injury. Davis was a full participant in practice on Thursday but Bowles said he would need to reserve judgement on his availability until Sunday.

"He will be a game-time decision," said Bowles. "He's moving better. First time I've seen him move in a while."

If Davis can play on Sunday, he would presumably team with second-year corner Zyon McCollum in the starting lineup. McCollum filled in for Davis the past two weeks and gave the coaching staff reason to be confident in him.

"I think McCollum has been fine," said Bowles. "He's playing like a starter, he's doing everything, so you don't even notice him out there anymore from a defensive coaching standpoint, which is a good thing."

Rookie cornerback Derrek Pitts, who saw his first action on defense on Monday night, will not play against the Saints due to a hamstring injury. Bowles noted that undrafted rookie cornerback Keenan Isaac could potentially be elevated from the practice squad this weekend.

"He'll definitely be a candidate," said Bowles. "We like what he's been doing the past few weeks."

CLICK HERE to catch up on other news from the team as it prepares to face the Saints on Sunday.

September 27 Updates

The Buccaneers have injury concerns with both of their starting cornerbacks and may be in the market for another one.

Carlton Davis has missed the last two games with a toe injury and has been replaced in the starting lineup by second-year man Zyon McCollum. Jamel Dean left Monday night's game early with a shoulder injury, with first Dee Delaney and then undrafted rookie Pitts finishing the contest. Davis (2022) and Dean (2023) have both signed new multi-year contracts with the Buccaneers over the past two years.

The Buccaneers had a walk-through in their indoor facility on Wednesday so their designations on the upcoming injury reports will be approximations of what the injured players would have done during a full-speed practice. However, it sounds as if both corners need to make some progress during the week if they are going to play on Sunday in New Orleans.

"Jamel may be iffy," said Head Coach Todd Bowles, who noted that none of the team's injured players have already been ruled out for the Saints game. "We'll see how he's feeling at the end of the week. Carlton says he's feeling better. Until I see him run I'll decline to comment on it. Right now, everybody's in play."

UPDATE: Pitts is also on the injury report for a hamstring strain and was listed as "did not participate."

Given that it's possible that both Davis and Dean will be sidelined in New Orleans, the Buccaneers are doing their due diligence in case they feel the need to bring in a veteran free agent cornerback for depth.

"We're looking at it," said Bowles. "It was a walk-through today so it was hard to tell right now. We've got to check the progress throughout the course of the week, and if it doesn't look good we may sign one."

CLICK HERE to hear more of Coach Bowles' thoughts after practice on Wednesday.

September 22 Updates

In the Buccaneers' 27-17 win over the Bears in Week Two, five different players were involved in producing six sacks of Justin Fields and six different defenders broke up a pass. In the last two minutes of the game alone, Shaq Barrett intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, Yaya Diaby shut down a screen pass to Roschon Johnson, Vita Vea dropped fields for an 11-yard sack and Antoine Winfield broke up a pass that led to a deflected-ball interception for Christian Izien.

The best example of how the across-the-board playmaking has energized the Bucs' defense early in 2023 was what happened after Barrett snared his one-handed interception at the goal line. Practically the entire defense immediately converged on that spot to push and pull Barrett into the end zone through a bunch of Bears trying to keep him out.

"I think we are just playing sound football," said linebacker Devin White. "We are playing together, and we are enjoying each other. Anytime someone makes a play, another person is celebrating like they made the play. I think it is becoming contagious [and] fun. It's becoming contagious. I think that's just the mindset, just celebrate your brothers, and when your number is called, go make the play and they'll celebrate you as well."

After wins over the Bears and Vikings, the Bucs now get a visit from the Eagles on Monday night. It's the only battle of undefeated teams on the NFL's Week Three schedule and it's a good opportunity to gauge just how much Tampa Bay may be able to exceed external preseason expectations. It's also the toughest challenge so far for White and his defensive cohorts, and he thinks they can be even better.

"It's a great team [and] it's a great time to show the world what we can do," said White. "We probably weren't projected to be 2-0, but we are. We've been working our butts off, we've been keeping the main thing the main thing. Just taking everything one day at a time, one play at a time, and just trying to get better. Every week we try to go out there and dominate, but we've been leaving plays out there. We want to be consistent and get better.

"I think as long we stay healthy, the sky is the limit for us."

CLICK HERE for more from the Bucs' locker room and media studio on Friday.

September 21 Updates

The Buccaneers had five players on their injury report to start Week Three, and all five are of the defensive persuasion. Three of those were previously known situations with players who missed the team's Week Two win over Chicago – cornerback Carlton Davis (toe), linebacker SirVocea Dennis (hamstring) and defensive lineman Calijah Kancey (calf).

However, two more starters are on the report this week, as safety Ryan Neal has injuries to both his ribs and his knee and defensive lineman Vita Vea is dealing with a pectoral issue. Both players were able to take part in practice on Thursday, but only in a limited fashion.

With Kancey, the team's first-round draft pick, currently not participating in practice and a question mark for Monday night's game against Philadelphia, any limitation to Vea would be a tough blow to the Bucs' defense. That's particularly true because Vea is off to a fast start and has been a catalyst in the middle of that crew, recording 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits while leading the NFL's second-ranked rush defense.

"I think with the other guys – with Kancey and Logan [Hall] and us getting a little quicker down there, he's no longer the quickest D-Lineman anymore," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. I think he takes that personally. His quickness factor has exceeded what we thought it would be. He's really getting in the backfield quicker and we really like that about him – and [he's] using his hands more."

CLICK HERE for more of Coach Bowles' thoughts about the Eagles game.

September 18 Updates

Twin brothers Tristin and Zyon McCollum grew up playing sports together and then chose Sam Houston State for their college football home. As Hall of Fame Buccaneer Ronde Barber and his twin brother Tiki could tell you, however, the NFL Draft doesn't get sentimental about family ties. Just like Ronde came to Tampa and Tiki moved north to New York, the McCollum twins had to separate their football careers in 2022.

The Buccaneers selected Zyon in the fifth round of last year's draft. Tristin did not get drafted but was signed afterward by the Houston Texans and spent his entire rookie season on their practice squad. The Buccaneers and Texans didn't intersect in 2022, so the two brothers never got to share an NFL field as rookies. Thanks to an offseason move to Philadelphia, Tristin and Zyon do get to be in the same NFL venue a week from now.

Tristin signed with the Eagles after his practice squad contract expired in January and went to camp with them this summer. While he hasn't yet cracked the 53-man roster, he did land a spot on Philly's practice squad. The Buccaneers and Eagles will meet on Monday Night Football in Week Three at Raymond James Stadium, and it will be a special experience for both young defensive backs.

"It's absolutely incredible," said Zyon with a wide smile on Monday. "This is the thing we were dreaming of when we were in elementary school and middle school, and we both [wanted] to play football. Growing up, our favorite team was the Eagles, and him having a chance to play for the Eagles. [With] us going head to head, the phone calls are definitely hilarious. I'm sure the banter around his locker room is the same as mine. The twins are going to reunite and it's a big night for the McCollum family for sure."

Zyon and Tristin watched the 2022 NFL Draft at the home of their mother, Tisha McCollum, who is a high school English teacher. Now Tisha gets to see them reunite in the NFL. Zyon says she'll be wearing a custom half-and-half Bucs-Eagles jersey to commemorate the occasion.

"She worked super, super hard to put us in [this] position, being a single a mom, and raising two twins," said Zyon. "[With] us having dreams and aspirations and her just all alone wondering what she can do to get us in this position, she instilled a lot of values in us that caused us to kind of learn and teach ourselves. Us growing up, we just want to return the favor to her and let her know how much it really means to us for her to just always be there for us unconditionally."

CLICK HERE to hear more from Zyon McCollum about his brother and his start against the Bears on Sunday.


On Monday, the Buccaneers released guard John Molchon from their practice squad. Molchon had been added to that unit last Wednesday after the Seattle Seahawks had signed tackle Raiqwon O'Neal off the Bucs' practice squad to their active roster. Molchon originally signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State in 2020. He had stints on injured reserve in each of his first two years but otherwise spent most of the past three seasons on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in November last year and eventually saw action in one game.

The Buccaneers did not immediately fill the open spot on their 16-man practice squad. Since their Week Three game against Philadelphia is on Monday night, they won't hit the practice field again until Thursday.

CLICK HERE to review the Bucs' entire roster, including practice squad players and those on injured reserve.

September 15 Updates

Starting cornerback Carlton Davis was held out of a third straight practice on Friday due to a toe injury, making it likely that he will not suit up against the Bears on Sunday. In fact, Head Coach Todd Bowles said after Friday's practice that Davis is "probably going to be out" for the team's Week Two contest at Raymond James Stadium.

Davis, who had a critical diving pass breakup in Week One to end Minnesota's final offensive possession in a 20-17 Bucs victory, is difficult to replace. However, the Buccaneers are confident in second-year corner Zyon McCollum, who would likely step in if Davis is out. McCollum didn't play any defensive snaps in the opener but he was a force on special teams, making two quick tackles as a punt gunner on special teams. Now he'll get a chance to make the same sort of impact on defense against the Bears.

"He's ready to play," said Bowles. "We've got all the confidence in the world in him. He had a great summer, he had a great spring. He's practicing [well]. We don't have a problem playing him."

McCollum, a fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft, started three of the 13 games in which he played as a rookie and earned snaps on defense in eight of them. He recorded 17 tackles and one pass defensed.

McCollum was also on of the Bucs' top special teams performers, finishing the season with eight kick-coverage stops. If he is used on defense on Sunday, he could see his role temporarily reduced in the kicking game. For the season opener, the Bucs had rookie cornerback Derrek Pitts on the active list, but Pitts, who shined on special teams in the preseason, would likely be active on Sunday if Davis is out.

CLICK HERE for more of Coach Bowles's thoughts from after practice on Friday.

September 13 Updates

An NFL team's official midweek injury report lists players' name, affected body parts, practice status and, at the end of the week, a game-availability projection. When the injury is to a limb or a joint, the report generally does not indicate which side of the body it's on. Player A will have a "knee" injury, not a "right knee" injury.

When it comes to a quarterback's arm (or a kicker's leg, for that matter), specifying right or left is important. And on Wednesday, the Buccaneers' starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield, landed on the injury report with a "right shoulder" issue. That would be his throwing shoulder, of course.

While that obviously is a notable entry on this week's injury report, it does not appear to be a significant issue. Mayfield was able to practice without limitation on Wednesday. The Buccaneers have two more practices this week and if Mayfield remains unlimited he would not appear to be in any danger of missing Sunday's game against the Bears.

Mayfield scrambled eight time in the Bucs' season-opening win over Minnesota. On the final one, which got four yards on a third-and-three to extend the final clock-killing drive, he was brought down hard by linebacker Ivan Pace as he fought to stay inbounds.

"I love football," said Mayfield on Wednesday. "It's the game of football, it's a physical game, I've always loved it. I love contact. You can't shy away from it – I think that's how you get hurt. Obviously, like I mentioned, playing quarterback is a little bit of a different story, so yeah, you definitely want to protect yourself. I just always want to be a part of the guys. There is something about that, just being involved and showing them that I like to get down and dirty with them, as well."

CLICK HERE to hear more of Mayfield's thoughts about the win in Minnesota and the upcoming game against the Bears.

September 8 Updates

Cody Mauch may have to wait a little longer than expected to get his rookie season underway.

Mauch, who is slated to start at right guard for the Buccaneers, is now a question mark for Sunday's regular season opener in Minnesota after back spasms have kept him off the field for the past two practices.

"He just has spasms right now, so we will see how he feels on Sunday," said Head Coach Todd Bowles after Friday's workout. "I don't know how that's going to be."

UPDATE: Mauch has been listed as questionable for the game on the Friday injury report.

Bowles said that Mauch's back spasms did not begin during any football contact. Rather, the second-round pick out of North Dakota State was simply bending over when they occurred, causing him to go down to the ground. Mauch was on the sideline for Friday's practice but did not participate.

Bowles indicated that sixth-year veteran Aaron Stinnie would likely step in at right guard if Mauch is not cleared to play against the Vikings. Stinnie started three games at that position in the 2020 playoffs, including Super Bowl LV. He also started one game at left guard in 2021.

CLICK HERE to hear more of Coach Bowles' thoughts after Friday's practice.

September 7 Updates

For the first time in 39 days, Buccaneers rookie defensive lineman Calijah Kancey took part in practice on Thursday.

Kancey suffered a calf injury on July 30, early in training camp, and was given an initial prognosis of a four-week recovery. Though it took him a bit longer than that to resume practicing, his work on Thursday keeps open the possibility that he'll be able to suit up for the regular-season opener in Minnesota on Sunday. He was, however, still listed as a limited participant on the Bucs' updated injury report. Kancey will have one more chance to improve his status when the Bucs practice on Friday before heading up to Minneapolis on Saturday.

The Buccaneers selected Kancey with the 19th-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They have him listed as a starter on the depth chart and expect him to be an explosive interior pass-rushing complement to the powerful Vita Vea.

CLICK HERE for a look at Thursday's updated injury report.

September 6 Updates

Starting free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. did not practice over the last two weeks of the preseason due to a calf injury but he appears to be rounding into shape just in time for the start of the regular season.

On Wednesday, Winfield participated fully in the team's two-hour field session, according to the post-practice injury report. Several other defenders who had been limited by minor injuries in the last two weeks, rookies Yaya Diaby and SirVocea Dennis, weren't even listed on that injury report, meaning they should be good to go on Sunday in Minnesota.

"It's good to have them back," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "We've just got to get the mental part of it down, but they're running around pretty [well]."

CLICK HERE for a more detailed look at the Bucs' and Vikings' Week One injury reports.

The Buccaneers kept the majority of their starters out of harm's way during the first two weeks of the preseason before giving them one big dose of live action in the final warm-up against Baltimore. That meant it was August 26 before Tristan Wirfs finally played his first snap at left tackle in an NFL game. He would play 21 of them all, and in the process essentially wrap up the process of converting from right tackle to the other end of the line.

"I think just getting those first snaps in the last preseason game," he said of when it 'clicked' that he was now a left tackle. "You're always nervous, everyone is nervous and excited at the same time – but once you go do it, you're like, 'Okay, I know what I'm doing, I'm alright.' So, getting that first snap out of the way, getting those first-snap jitters out of the way, then you're good to go.

"I'm fine. It's kind of just business as usual, now. Focus on Minnesota, focus on getting better and improving, and focus on being a leader for the guys in the locker room."

The 13th-overall pick in the 2020 draft, Wirfs landed in the NFL fully-formed as an elite right tackle (even if it took him a bit to fully believe that). He famously allowed just one sack in his rookie season while starting for the eventual Super Bowl champs, then took home first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors in his second year. Last season, he was a second-team choice while getting his second straight Pro Bowl nod. The Buccaneers are confident that Wirfs will be just as effective at left tackle.

September 4 Updates

Rachaad White spent the back half of his 2022 rookie season as the Buccaneers' starting running back, though the work load was still split very evenly between him and Leonard Fournette. After Fournette was released in a cap-related move in March, White was quite clearly anointed as the lead back for 2023, and nothing has changed in the intervening months as the regular-season opener is less than a week away.

How the rest of the pecking order in the backfield shapes up may be a work in progress.

The Buccaneers kept three other running backs through the cuts to 53, and they have very different backgrounds. Chase Edmonds is a sixth-year veteran who has already played for the Cardinals, Dolphins and Broncos. Ke'Shawn 'Sneak' Vaughn was a third-round draft pick by the Bucs in 2022 and he has seen relatively limited action in his first three seasons. And Sean Tucker is a rookie who went undrafted this spring before signing with Tampa Bay.

Noting that Skip Peete, the Bucs' new running backs coach, has frequently rotated multiple backs at his other NFL stops, Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales expects to employ a backfield committee with those three reserves. Peete most recently coached in Dallas, which had a very clearly number-two back in Tony Pollard…who is now a number-one with Ezekiel Elliott off to New England.

"I don't feel like we're in as unique of a situation as Dallas where you have two really top-tier backs," said Canales. "I think we have a really fantastic back and I think we have a bunch of good backs, so I think they can kind of platoon that.

"I think there's more to learn about just how we use Rachaad on third down, and [are] there other guys who can have a role, [who] can do some of the same things? Chase, I know, can do some of the pass game stuff where I feel like Sneak and Sean have a lot of value on first and second down as runners, but so does Chase. There is still a lot of stuff that I'm really not sure about to get the full complement of who [our] backfield is in a game-type of situation. You'd love to have the freshest back in – I do know that."

CLICK HERE to hear more of Coach Canales's thoughts on the Bucs' offense as the season begins.

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