Wide receiver Chris Godwin demonstrated that he could catch the football on Friday less than two weeks from having surgery to repair a fractured right index finger. And that means the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will let Godwin play on Sunday night when they take on the New Orleans Saints in a battle for NFC South supremacy.
Godwin is not the only receiver the Bucs will have available that weren't in uniform a week ago. Veteran wideout Antonio Brown, signed on October 27, will make his Tampa Bay debut as he is one of six receivers the team kept active for Sunday night's contest. Godwin and Brown will join Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, Jaydon Mickens and Tyler Johnson to give quarterback Tom Brady a wide array of pass-catching options. Third-year wideout Justin Watson is inactive.
However, Brady will not have his full complement of usual blockers in front of him on Sunday, as starting left guard Ali Marpet is inactive due to a concussion. Marpet is the first of the Bucs' five starting offensive linemen to miss a game so far this season. Versatile veteran Joe Haeg is expected to step in to replace Marpet on the left side of the line.
The Buccaneers announced their list of inactives at 6:50 p.m. ET, 90 minutes before kickoff against the Saints. With 53 players on the active roster and no players elevated from the practice squad this week, the Buccaneers had to name five players inactive in order to get down to the limit of 48 active players.
The Saints put two players – defensive back Justin Hardee and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins – on injured reserve during the week but have no other players on the active roster who will miss Sunday's game due to injury. That's because wide receiver Michael Thomas, the NFL's leading pass-catcher a year ago, is active for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury against Tampa Bay in Week One.
The Saints put two players on injured reserve during the week and didn't sign anyone new, and they also did not elevate any players from the practice squad for the game, so they only had 51 active players coming into the evening. That means they only had to name three players inactive, and wide receiver Michael Thomas was not on the list. Thomas returns after missing the last six games due to a couple injuries, including a sprained ankle suffered against Tampa Bay in Week One. Thomas had three catches for 17 yards in the Saints' win over the Buccaneers but was the NFL's leading receiver in 2019.
- DL Khalil Davis
- QB Ryan Griffin
- G Ali Marpet
- RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn
- WR Justin Watson
Godwin is out due to injury.
- CB Ken Crawley
- OL Derrick Kelly
- RB Ty Montgomery
None of the Saints' inactives are out due to injury.