The first major injury of the year has hit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: safety Cody Grimm suffered an ACL injury in the game against the Atlanta Falcons and will miss the rest of the season per Rick Stroud. This is the second year in a row that Grimm will be placed on IR.
Grimm injured his knee on a running play in the second half when Geno Hayes banged his head into his knee. Hayes was also kept out of the rest of the game with a head injury, likely a concussion.
Missing Cody Grimm will certainly hurt the Bucs defense. While Grimm isn't overly talented, he is consistently in position and adds a physical presence to the run defense. When Grimm went out yesterday the Falcons offense almost immediately went down the field and scored a touchdown.
The Bucs may not need to add a safety to the roster to compensate for Grimm's injury. The Bucs currently have Sean Jones, Corey Lynch, Devin Holland and Larry Asante on the roster and four safeties is a typical number for an NFL team.
The Bucs do have rookie S Ahmad Black on the practice squad and could call him up if need be. Black was cut after missing most of the preseason with an injury and has been on the practice squad ever since.
The return of Tanard Jackson might also help alleviate this problem, although there are a lot of conditions to be satisfied there. While Jackson is eligible for reinstatement, he has not been reinstated by the NFL as of now. He has applied for reinstatement, though. In addition, if Jackson does return it is very unlikely that he will be ready to play. He may be in shape, but being in football shape is another thing entirely. Besides that, he has been away from the game for over a year and will need time to acclimate to the game.
If he can overcome all that, Jackson would certainly be a very good replacement as he was playing at a Pro Bowl level before his suspension. But we can't assume that he will even be reinstated, let alone that he will be ready to play.
Right now, the Bucs need to go with the next man on the roster. That means we will likely see Corey Lynch return to a starting role on defense. Lynch is a competent pass defender with more range in pass defense than either Grimm or Jones, although he is not as physical in run defense as either player. The Bucs did a good job with replacement players last season, and we will see whether they can do the same thing this year.