For their first game of the 2016 regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers named six rookies and a third quarterback as their inactive players: QB Ryan Griffin, S Ryan Smith, LB Devante Bond, T Leonard Wester, DE Channing Ward, DT DaVonte Lambert, G Caleb Benenoch.
Three of those rookies were draft picks who apparently aren’t ready yet to contribute in the game. Ryan Smith’s absence is particularly interesting, given that the Bucs are fairly thin at his position — Chris Conte, Bradley McDougald and Keith Tandy are the only safeties on the active roster today.
The only player inactive because of injury is rookie linebacker Devante Bond, who’s suffering from a hamstring strain. Everyone else is ready to go, so the Bucs had to make a few actual choices.
As for the Falcons, rookie safety Keanu Neal and running back Terron Ward are their injured absentees. WR Taylor Gabriel, G Mike Person, G Wes Schweitzer, DT Ra’Shede Hageman and TE Joshua Perkins join them on the inactive list.
Hageman’s the only slightly surprising player on that list. The 2014 second-round pick has been disappointing so far, but still has a lot of talent and the potential to be a game-wrecker. That won’t be this week, though.