The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot catch a break. Rookie defensive end Noah Spence has been ruled out for the game with a shoulder injury. He was just getting more playing time, as the Bucs wanted to get more pass-rush out of their defensive line, and flashed a couple of times this game, before apparently suffering an injury that’s serious enough to rule him out for at least the game.
That comes after defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered a calf injury, and he was downgraded from questionable to return to out for the rest of the game. As was tight end Brandon Myers.
That group of injured starters joins defensive end Robert Ayers, tight end Luke Stocker and running back Doug Martin, as well as backup wide receiver Cecil Shorts, who had already been ruled out for this game. Plus, left guard J.R. Sweezy is on the physically unable to play list for at least a couple more weeks, while starting defensive end Jacquies Smith went on injured reserve at the start of the season.
For those keeping count: that’s eight (potential) starters out for the Bucs, who haven’t been playing very good football anyway. That’s almost impossible to overcome.
Howard Jones is likely to get more playing time with Spence out and defensive end William Gholston filling in for Gerald McCoy inside, but the Bucs have almost no depth on defense anymore.