Cornerback Jamel Dean is back in action for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after missing one game with a knee injury. His return for Sunday's Week Five clash with the Miami Dolphins is good timing for a Buccaneers secondary that just saw Carlton Davis join Sean Murphy-Bunting on the injured reserve list. Davis, Dean and Murphy-Bunting were the Bucs' Week One starters at cornerback (including a nickel back) but now Dean will be mixing in with such recent additions as Richard Sherman and Pierre Desir.
Dean was not among the players the Bucs' named inactive for Sunday's game, but three regular contributors were: tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. and defensive lineman Patrick O'Connor. Gronkowski and Winfield are both starters and O'Connor has played 91% of the team's special teams snaps so far.
Winfield remains in the NFL's concussion protocol after sustaining that injury last Sunday night in New England. Mike Edwards will start in Winfield's place with steady veteran Andrew Adams waiting in reserve. Cornerback Ross Cockrell also cross-trained at the safety position in training camp and could fill in if needed.
The front end of the Buccaneers' defense gets a boost in Week Five with outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul returning from a two-game absence due to shoulder and hand injuries. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka performed well as the starter in Pierre-Paul's place but the Bucs' edge rushing rotation is significantly deeper with their 2020 sack leader once again involved.
The Buccaneers' offensive backfield is also deeper with veteran Giovani Bernard getting back on the field after missing one game with a knee injury. Bernard had been serving as a third-down and two-minute back in Tampa Bay's offense before he was injured making a touchdown catch late in the Week Three game in Los Angeles.
The Buccaneers and Dolphins submitted their list of inactives at 11:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, 90 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of their Week Five meeting at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers came into game day with 55 eligible players after elevating cornerback Rashard Robinson and tight end Codey McElroy from the practice squad on Saturday. That means Tampa Bay had to name seven players inactive in order to get down to the game day limit of 48.
Miami had to declare six inactives after elevating wide receiver Isaiah Ford and defensive end Jabaal Sheard from the practice squad on Saturday. Most of those six are healthy scratches, as the only player considered questionable for Sunday's game on the Dolphins' injury report was wide receiver DeVante Parker. As it turned out, Parker was not able to sufficiently recover from a hamstring injury and was ruled out for Sunday's game.
- WR Jaelon Darden
- TE Rob Gronkowski
- OL Nick Leverett
- DL Patrick O'Connor
- QB Kyle Trask
- RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn
· S Antoine Winfield, Jr.
Gronkowski, O'Connor and Winfield are out due to injury.
- Noah Igbinoghene
- T Greg Little
- TE Hunter Long
- DT John Jenkins
- WR DeVante Parker
- CB Trill Williams
Parker is out due to injury.