The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have to try to beat the Carolina Panthers without the help of starting defensive end Robert Ayers and starting wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Both veterans have missed the last two practices with injury, leaving only tomorrow for these two players to get healthy. That seems a little unlikely.
If Jackson can’t go, the Bucs will replace him with Chris Godwin, who’s having a pretty good rookie year. Mostly, though, it’ll mean more quality targets for Mike Evans, who’s been a little starved for attention this season. But with O.J. Howard on injured reserve and DeSean Jackson injured, he should at least get some extra targets. That’s not to say that missing Jackson is a good thing, though: the Bucs have no one with his gamebreaking speed on the roster, and that’ll be missed.
As for Ayers, the Bucs haven’t had any kind of pass rush all season anyway, so his absence can’t hurt too much. Let’s be real here. Other than that, the Bucs are mostly healthy for Sunday’s game.
The same can’t be said for the Carolina Panthers, who the Bucs face in a couple of days. They’re a little beat up at wide receiver, with Russell Shepard and Devin Funchess missing all their practices so far this week. Guard Trai Turner and defensive end Mario Addison also have yet to practice this week, and their participation on Sunday seems unlikely.