TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For yet another week, the Bucs will be without several starters because of injuries or COVID-19, but as they’ve proved in weeks past, they feel equipped to win with whoever’s in the game.
“We’ve been scrambling since week four,” said Bucs Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich. “That’s what people don’t realize. We haven’t been a full deck of cards really since week three or four, so it’s not shocking when we don’t have our full deck of cards. We’ll prepare the way we need to prepare. We’ll put guys in position to have success. That’s what you do as coaches. That’s what you do as players because the game is still going to be played on Sunday, so we have to be ready to play the game.”
Out for the Bucs on offense this week, in their regular season finale against the Panthers, are running back Ronald Jones and wide receiver Justin Watson because of injuries. That’s in addition to running backs Giovani Bernard and Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Chris Godwin, who have been out for several weeks on the injured list. Then on the defensive side of the ball, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett was placed on the reserve/ COVID-19 list, while outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerback Rashard Robinson are both out with injuries. They will also still be without linebacker Lavonte David, who’s still on the injured list.
While the list of starters out seems to grow by the week, Head Coach Bruce Arians knows he’s got a squad full of talent, who’s ready to step-up– just as they’ve done in weeks past.
“I have all the confidence in the world,” Arians said. “If you look at the guys who stepped up since Buffalo – ‘BP’ (Breshad Perriman) wins a game, Cyril (Grayson) wins a game. It’s just a great opportunity. Scotty (Miller) has played big for us. It’s just an opportunity for another guy, but we have a great roster. Hopefully, we’ll have almost everybody back defensively next week, so we’ll wait and see how that goes. Let’s win this week and set a franchise record for a number of wins because it’s a big goal, man. 13 wins is huge.”
The Bucs (12-4) and Panthers (5-11) kick-off at 4:25 p.m.