The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will probably be without center Evan Dietrich-Smith, right end Luke Stocker, tight end Brandon Myers and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald on Sunday. All four players missed practice today, according to Roy Cummings. While all four are big parts of the Bucs' game plan, Dietrich-Smith's absence is especially disastrous. Not because he's a great player, but because his backup is Garrett Gilkey.
In slightly more positive news, Lavonte David did return to practice today, per Greg Auman. The Bucs did surprisingly well on defense without David last week, although their run defense did take a step back. But having an All-Pro player return to the field is always a good thing.
Having released Marcus Thigpen earlier this week, the Bucs lack an experienced returner. According to Roy Cummings, Bobby Rainey was handling both the kick and punt returns during practice today. Charles Sims and Robert Herron also received some play as returners during the offseason, but that hasn't materialized during the regular season.
As for the Cincinnati Bengals, they're likely to miss two key defensive starters this week in DE Margus Hunt and LB Vontaze Burfict, both of whom missed Friday's practice according to Cincy Jungle. That's good news for a Bucs offense that has struggled throughout the year, and an offensive line that could fairly be characterized as the worst in the NFL.