The hits keep on comin’ for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network announced early Sunday morning that wide receiver Julio Jones is not expected to play against the Bengals today. That’s in addition to the Bucs already being without Vita Vea and Jamel Dean on the defensive side of the ball.
Russell Gage hasn’t lived up to the off-season excitement that surrounded his signing, but will get a bigger opportunity today now that he’s healthy and Jones won’t be active,
For the Bengals, they’ll see the return of Tee Higgins - a major weapon for Joe Burrow - as well as Tyler Boyd, but will be without tight end Hayden Hurst as well as key pass rusher Trey Hendrickson.
Heading into today the Bucs had plenty of game time decisions. Antoine Winfield Jr. and Mike Edwards - who have each missed the last two games - were trending up but head coach Todd Bowles said the team would have to wait and see how they continued to progress leading up to kickoff. Another bit of good news is that tackle Tristan Wirfs was listed as “questionable” which shows he’s getting closer to returning to the team, so even though he is inactive today things are trending in the right direction for the final stretch of the season.
Both teams are beat up in the secondary with the Bucs missing Dean while the Bengals are without cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Jalen Davis.
Here are the inactive players for the Bucs and Bengals ahead of their week fifteen matchup;
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
QB - Kyle Trask
WR - Julio Jones
CB - Jamel Dean
LB - Genard Avery
LB - Carl Nassib
DL - Vita Vea
RT - Tristan Wirfs
CB - Mike Hilton
DL - Trey Hendrickson
CB - Jalen Davis
TE - Hayden Hurst
OL - D’Ante Smith
OL - Jackson Carman
The Buccaneers did elevate linebacker J.J. Russell and wide receiver Deven Thompkins from the practice squad ahead of this game. Like he did last week, Thompkins is expected to handle return duties on special teams.
The Bucs and Bengals will kickoff at 4:25 p.m. ET inside Raymond James Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS with Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, and Tracy Wolfson on the call.