The Buccaneers, through five games this year, are losing at least one starter per week on average. Most of those issues have come on the defensive side of the ball, so it’s somewhat easy to understand how a unit that dominated the final eight games in 2020 is struggling so early out of the gates in 2021.
Last week, the victim was linebacker Lavonte David - who suffered an ankle injury late in the first half against the Miami Dolphins. David is ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles and may miss more time after that.
Despite head coach Bruce Arians’ optimism about Rob Gronkowski’s improvement, Gronk will also miss the prime time contest, marking his third straight game that he’ll be in street clothes on the sideline.
Finally, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. wasn’t able to clear concussion protocol and will miss his second consecutive game. Mike Edwards will start in his place.
As the Bucs get ready to take on the dual threat Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, the duo of tight ends in Philadelphia has been cut in half. Dallas Goedert was placed on the Reserve/COVID list on Wednesday, leaving Zach Ertz as the leading tight end target. There was certainly plenty of concern about the mismatch the Eagles posed with their tight end group as the Bucs would be without Lavonte David, the best cover linebacker on the team.
Both teams face offensive line issues as the Bucs’ center Ryan Jensen is questionable with a hip injury and Eagles’ tackle Lane Johnson is their lone player ruled out with a personal matter.
Also questionable for the Bucs are defenisve lineman Patrick O’Connor (calf) and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder/hand). Pierre-Paul was able to return last week against the Dolphins so it seems likely that he will play this week in Philadelphia.
Here is the full injury report for the Buccaneers and Eagles;
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