The Buccaneers look like they’re turning into the 2021 Ravens with all of the injuries they’re facing. Hopefully this turns around soon.
The Ravens were one of the best teams in the NFL during the first half of the 2021 season. Instead of finishing the season like they started, Baltimore ended up losing a ton of players to injuries; something that derailed the season for the contenders. The Buccaneers can’t go through the same thing.
While we still aren’t to the point yet where it becomes an identical situation (which should show how bad it truly was for the Ravens), the Bucs are getting to a point where it might be fair to ask whether or not the team is cursed.
Losing Keanu Neal for the rest of the preseason and potentially beyond that point should make that question more than fair.
Yes, Neal is not as important a piece as Ryan Jensen or Russell Gage, but his role as the third safety is not a small one either.
That third guy on the depth chart has done a lot for the Bucs over the past two seasons in this Todd Bowles defense (Mike Edwards), and pretending that the loss of a guy like this from now until early in the season is nothing is silly.
From Neal to Gage and Giovani Bernard to Cam Gill, the injuries are adding up for the backups. The timing is hopefully going to work out so that these guys can make it back to 100% before the meat of the season, but none of this is guaranteed to change or fix itself over the next few weeks.
The common trend of this preseason is looking for that next man up to actually take those steps, but it is becoming harder as more guys are going down.
Tom Brady is healthy, and that will always be the most important thing in the modern NFL, but it’s going to be hard to make a deep playoff run if the supporting cast isn’t there. Hopefully the injuries slow down soon.
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