Buccaneers: Mounting injuries a cause for major concern
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers have a massive issue with injuries.
Is it time to sound the alarm in Tampa? Probably not, but there is still cause for some concern on the injury front. The Buccaneers are a very deep team at most positions, but a roster can only suffer so many injuries before it impacts the game plan.
Tampa is currently without key players such as Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Jason Pierre-Paul, Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller, Giovani Bernard, and Carlton Davis is listed as questionable for the matchup against the Patriots tomorrow.
That is three players at the most important positions on the defensive side of the ball with the potential to lose one of the best corners in the NFL, the Bucs’ leader in touchdown receptions on the season, the only qualified third-down back, and a reliable depth wide receiver.
There may be some teams throughout the league that have some slightly worse luck, but this is still not far off from an impact standpoint.
Even after signing Richard Sherman, the depth woes are about to be on full display in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. This New England team is far from flashy, but Bill Belichick knows how to exploit weaknesses on any team. The depth that propelled Tampa to the Super Bowl last season is gone, and now it is on the healthy players to right the ship.
There are still enough receivers and tight ends to keep the offense afloat, but the defense is a much larger question mark. The unit has been one of the worst in the NFL this season, and losing the sack leader from last season and a combination of the starting corners won’t help in that pursuit.
If the injuries stay a problem, the Buccaneers will have to start looking in the trade and free-agent market. Fans may not like upsetting the balance in a locker room that knows itself very well, but wasting one of Tom Brady’s last seasons due to injuries is not the right move.
Depending on how this game goes, look for Jason Licht and Bruce Arians to start making some moves to keep the team on track for another deep playoff run.
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