**CORRECTION: Jason Pierre-Paul has not been ruled out of this game. He is, at this time, listed as questionable. Running back Giovanni Bernard is ruled out with a knee injury so Ke'Shawn Vaughn will be active in his place on Sunday. We apologize for the confusion.**
Bruce Arians got ahead of the game on Friday when he spoke to the media following Buccaneers practice. Cornerback Jamel Dean, who suffered a knee injury against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, and Jason Pierre-Paul who is still nursing a shoulder injury were both ruled out for Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium as the Bucs take on the New England Patriots.
As for newly acquired cornerback Richard Sherman? He will be dressed and available as one of the 48 active players on game day, but that doesn’t guarantee that he’ll see the field;
Arians said of Richard Sherman "we'll have him up, just in case," which is to say he'll be part of the 48 active players, but not playing unless they need him, like if another corner were to get injured or struggle Sunday.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 1, 2021
JPP was dressed and at practice on Friday but obviously isn’t well enough to be able to go which means rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will step in again along with Anthony Nelson as the Bucs try to get their pass rush going against rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
With Dean out and Sean Murphy-Bunting still on injured reserve, that leaves Carlton Davis as the lone starter among the cornerbacks. Ross Cockrell and Dee Delaney will get playing time again this week but if things begin to go awry we may indeed see the debut of Sherman in a Bucs uniform.
Though, at practice on Thursday, Sherman appeared to already be in mid season form;
Another player that fans have had their eye on this week is the other former Patriot - tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a rib injury against the Rams. Gronk did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday he was at practice but had just a helmet rather than his pads like the rest of the team.
Gronk would probably have to be forced by the trainers and coaching staff to miss this game so while his time off during the week is somewhat concerning, it’s likely he will play. That said, it’s unclear how effective he would be given the nature of his injury. The Bucs could very well use him as a decoy to free things up for Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown as the Patriots will likely suspect Gronk to be heavily featured in this game.
The Buccaneers and Patriots play Sunday night on NBC. Kickoff will be at 8:20 p.m. ET with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michelle Tafoya on the call.