Safety Jordan Whitehead started all 20 games for the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, but he'll start the 2021 season on the sideline.
Whitehead, who has missed approximately three weeks with a hamstring injury, was one of seven players the Buccaneers named inactive 90 minutes prior to kickoff for Thursday night's season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Third-year safety Mike Edwards will start in Whitehead's absence and veteran cornerback Ross Cockrell, who cross-trained at the safety position in training camp, provides depth.
Whitehead is the only Buccaneer who will miss the Kickoff Game against the Cowboys due to injury. The team still had to name six other inactives in order to get down to the game day limit of 48, and that group included rookie quarterback Kyle Trask. As expected, veteran Blaine Gabbert will be active and will serve as the primary backup to starting quarterback Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers elevated safety Andrew Adams and wide receiver Jaydon Mickens from the practice squad on Thursday, and both of them will be active for the game, getting the call over safety Chris Cooper and wide receiver Jaelon Darden, respectively. Mickens will likely handle return duties with Darden inactive.
Like the Buccaneers, the Cowboys elevated two players from their practice squad – safety Darian Thompson and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle – so they also had two name seven inactives to get down to the 48-man limit. None of the players the Cowboys deactivated are out due to injury; however, the team will be without Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Third-year man Connor McGovern, who started eight games at right guard in 2020, is expected to fill Martin's spot in the lineup.
- S Chris Cooper
- WR Jaelon Darden
- DL Khalil Davis
- OL Nick Leverett
- QB Kyle Trask
- RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn
- S Jordan Whitehead
Whitehead is out due to injury.
- WR Noah Brown
- LB Luke Gifford
- DE Chauncey Golston
- QB Will Grier
- S Malik Hooker
- DE Azur Kamara
- S Israel Mukuamu
None of the Cowboys' inactives are out due to injury.