Buccaneers: Antonio Brown OUT, spotlight shifts to depth

Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Who steps up in Antonio Brown’s absence?

Well, we all feared this would happen. The Buccaneers don’t live or die by a single player, but a red-hot Antonio Brown would have soothed some of Bucs fans’ nerves before the matchup with the Packers. Now, Tom Brady will have to rely on the depth receivers after Ian Rapoport confirmed on Twitter that Brown is out for the contest.

When healthy, the Buccaneers have the best receiver trio in the NFL. In fact, there are arguments to be made that this trio is one of the most talented groups in the history of the league. Antonio Brown was an unexpected addition, but his chemistry with Tom Brady is undeniable.

Prior to last week, Brown had five touchdowns in four games and was a safety-valve for Tom Brady in the passing game. The good news for the Buccaneers is that Brown played a minimal role last week in the victory versus the Saints.

Given the colder weather and Green Bay’s strengths, the Bucs will probably come out with a run-heavy approach (ugh), and this could reduce the reliance on three-receiver sets.

Brady will certainly miss having the reliable Brown on the field for key downs, but the Buccaneers are fortunate to have some excellent receiver depth to fall on when necessary.