While the loss on Monday night to the Eagles didn't leave anyone in Tampa Bay feeling great, this Sunday presents an opportunity to bounce back in a big way.
A win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday would send the Buccaneers into their bye week with a 3-1 record and control of the NFC South. It's the perfect elixir to the MNF loss, but it's a tall task that continues to get harder.
One of the many reasons the bottom fell out on the Bucs during Week 3 was injuries. Carlton Davis missed the game and hasn't played since the first week of the season, and Jamel Dean needed to leave the Eagles game after getting banged up. Tampa Bay is already super thin at cornerback and that lack of depth is being exposed in the worst way ahead of perhaps the biggest game of the season so far.
It's not that the Eagles game wasn't huge -- because it was -- rather it became a bigger deal after the Bucs hot start. Playing the Saints is always something to circle on the schedule and it's a game that will likely impact how things shake out in the NFC playoff picture as the season goes on.
To win, the Bucs will need to do things the hard way on defense.
Buccaneers get brutal injury update head of Week 4 vs. Saints
Head coach Todd Bowles spoke to the media on Friday and essentially described the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan when talking about who will be out on Sunday against the Saints.
Three players have already been ruled out, with Dean not yet officially out but things seem to be trending in that direction.
Even the good news is tinged with some anxiety and doubt. Carlton Davis seems to be on track to return on Sunday, but one has to wonder if he would once again be out if Dean and Pitts weren't going to miss the game.
Having Davis back is huge, but it feels almost like it's out of necessity rather than him returning to full health. The Bucs need all the help they can get for Sunday and a baned up Davis being the most healthy cornerback in the room is not exactly ideal.
What could end up happening is the Bucs signing some cornerback relief ahead of Sunday. William Jackson III was brought in for a workout earlier in the week, which means he's been in the building and is at least in the vicinity of getting up to speed if needed. Bowles didn't comment on whether the Bucs would sign any of the corners they brought in for workouts, but it seems that after the bummer news about Dean that something will happen before the team takes the field in Week 4.