There’s no way around it - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hurting in the secondary in a bad way. Their number one corner, Carlton Davis - who has played phenomenally the last few weeks - will be out against the Carolina Panthers. As will Carl Nassib for the third straight game.
But the Bucs had a lot of game time decisions for this week - a game that may go on to decide who wins the NFC South - including Vita Vea, Mike Edwards, Donovan Smith, and Antoine Winfield Jr. The Bucs are getting corner Jamel Dean back who will team up opposite of Sean Murphy-Bunting - another player who has performed extremely well the last two games.
Fortunately for the Bucs, Winfield Jr. and Edwards are active and will line up in the back of the defense and against the run-heavy Panthers, Vita Vea will suit up and try to limit their effectiveness in the run game. Also some good news is that Smith will suit up and start at left tackle. Though he’s struggled through the season, Bucs fans saw what happens when he isn’t in the game and he is still the best option for Tampa Bay on offense.
Also interesting that Cam Brate is the inactive tight end, meaning Cade Otton will get the vast majority of targets while Kyle Rudolph will suit up and see some action.
For the Panthers, they are without their own top corner Jaycee Horn who had wrist surgery earlier in the week. They’ve called up Josh Norman from the practice squad to provide the secondary some help, but it’s hard to tell how much playing time and how effective he will be.
Here are the inactive players for both teams ahead of a crucial matchup;
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
CB - Carlton Davis
QB - Kyle Trask
DE - Carl Nassib
TE - Cameron Brate
WR - Breshad Perriman
CB - Jaycee Horn
WR - Rashard Higgins
S - Juston Burris
C - Sam Tecklenburg
T - Larnel Coleman
DE - Amare Barno
The Bucs and Panthers will kickoff at Raymond James Stadium at 1:00 p.m. ET with the game being broadcast on FOX. Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, and Erin Andrews will be on the call.
For more on this and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!