TAMPA - MAY 01: Receiver Arrelious Benn #17 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a pass during the Buccaneers Rookie Minicamp at One Buccaneer Place on May 1, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Greg Schiano has given us a few updates on two injuries to some important backup players: wide receiver Arrelious Benn and cornerback E.J. Biggers are likely to miss the rest of the preseason, if not more. Benn was injured in the first practice of training camp, sidelining him for at least a month. He has since returned to practice in a very limited way, just running a little. Greg Schiano said yesterday that Benn would miss a couple more weeks, which would keep him out for the rest of the preseason, but allow him to be ready for the regular season.
Meanwhile, E.J. Biggers suffered a foot injury during that very same practice on the first day of training camp, and he has been held out throughout training camp as well. At the time, the Bucs noted that he would miss more than two weeks - but it's now turning into nearly two months. Biggers will not be ready for the regular season, Schiano said today, noting that they would probably get him back in "the early part of the season."
Because both players participated in practice prior to their injuries, they will not be eligible for the Physically Unable To Perform list, which means both players will take up a roster spot while they're unable to participate in games. That may hurt their chances of making the roster, but it seems the team is committed to both players. Benn has been productive in a limited way the past two years, and has a lot of talent. Schiano has been complimentary of the wide receiver in the past, and the team is likely to hold on to him despite some serious competition at the position. The team has Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Preston Parker and Tiquan Underwood as productive receivers in training camp so far, and it's quite likely Benn will rank behind all four of those players once he comes back from injury.
For Biggers, the lack of depth at cornerback certainly helps him. Myron Lewis and Anthony Gaitor didn't look good during the first preseason game, but the Bucs don't really have anyone else to play in nickel or dime subpackages. Eric Wright and Aqib Talib should be the starting cornerbacks, but with Ronde Barber at safety the team lacks quality at cornerback behind the two starters. The Bucs could remedy that by moving Barber back to slot cornerback in nickel and dime packages, but at some point they will have to play either Lewis or Gaitor - and that could be a problem.