The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to start their season against the Chicago Bears without defensive end Jacquies Smith, despite not listing him on the injury report this week. Apparently he’s not fit enough or acclimated enough to play yet, as he’s barely rehabbed from an ACL injury that kept him out of action for over a year.
The Buccaneers are almost entirely healthy, though, and the only injury-related inactive on the list is linebacker Devante Bond, who has been out since the middle of preseason. Bond’s absence means Kendell Beckwith got the starting strongside linebacker position more or less without having to win a competition.
Surprisingly, the Bucs are keeping last year’s starting center Joe Hawley inactive in favor of Evan Smith, who’s perhaps a little more versatile as he can play multiple spots along the interior offensive line. Cornerback Javien Elliott is also out, as the Bucs have a surplus of quality cornerbacks.
As for the Bears, they’ll have to start without wide receiver Markus Wheaton, guard Kyle Long, cornerback Prince Amukamara or safety Deon Bush, all due to injuries. Running back Jordan Howard is active, though.
Bucs inactives: CB Javien Elliott, DE Jacquies Smith, LB Devante Bond, T Leonard Wester, C Joe Hawley, TE Antony Auclair, DE Will Clarke
Bears inactives: QB Mark Sanchez, WR Markus Wheaton, CB Prince Amukamara, SS Deon Bush, RB Benny Cunningham, DE John Jenkins, OG Kyle Long