Disaster on the horizon for Buccaneers’ special teams?
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers need to be firing on all cylinders for this last stretch of the season if they hope to start the playoffs strong. COVID-19 may have other plans.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have almost made it through the entirety of their 2020 NFL season without any massive COVID-19 issues outside of the obvious. The Bucs haven’t seen any of their star players go to the reserve list like many other teams, which has helped out substantially during this weird year.
With the playoffs just a few short weeks away, the Bucs could be in danger, as all of their special teams unit, other than returners, have entered COVID-19 protocol, according to Adam Schefter on Twitter.
A loss like this could prove disastrous for a team that is close to ending one of the longest playoff droughts in the league.
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Tampa Bay’s special teams have taken a massive step forward this year, making the potential loss hurt even more. Ryan Succop has been one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL, and Bucs fans have appreciated his sure leg after the previous seasons of horror.
In addition to Succop, Bradley Pinion has done well on punts and kickoffs. Together, this duo has shifted the narrative surrounding this weaker part of the team, and their loss will hurt substantially.
Zach Triner is a decent long-snapper, but this could actually be the first step the Buccaneers take towards using someone else in that role to maximize roster space. A player that only plays long-snapper fits into a niche that may be too small in the modern NFL, but Triner’s potential absence still throws a wrench into this weekend.
The Buccaneers currently have Greg Joseph on their practice squad, who should serve as the insurance policy for Succop, but this is still difficult to manage. The Buccaneers will have to hope that their offense and defense can pick up the slack if an entirely new group steps in on special teams.
We can only cross our fingers and hope, but it is a nice feeling to finally have a special teams unit that we are scared to lose.
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