The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not have many injuries going into the opener Sunday verses the Carolina Panthers, but the ones that are injured, could have a big impact.
Wide receiver, Arrelious Benn, has a knee injury and is listed as questionable, a 50/50 shot for Sunday’s game. He was hurt in the first full squad practice of camp, as he collided with cornerback E.J. Biggers, trying to catch a pass. Benn has participated in full squad workouts since Wednesday. If Benn does play, he will be the third option behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. He has not had any live contact and this could hurt him. Not having practiced one-on-one, full live contact, he may be rusty and could make a few mistakes. He needs the practice but Coach Schiano said they may wait on a few players if he does not feel they are “ready to win, they may have to wait a week.” And he may do that, as he seems a little hesitate about playing Benn this week
Cornerback, E.J. Biggers, has a foot injury and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. He was hurt in the same collision with Arrelious Benn, trying to break up the play. It ended up breaking a bone in his foot. Soon after the collision, he was in a walking cast and on crutches. Biggers has been limited at practice but is doing more and more each day.
Defensive backs, Anthony Gaitor, has a hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. He has been jogging and is 50/50 for Sunday.
The Bucs are deep in defensive backs but most of them have little experience, including three rookies. With Biggers and Gaitor hurt, we could see some interesting defensive alinements. It is hard to say what Coach Schiano is going to do, but we can all bet that it will be something interesting. With his history in defense, I think he feels comfortable enough with who he chose for defense and whatever combination of guys he puts out on the field at anytime.
Coach Schiano said that most of the injury decisions will be decided Sunday morning after talking with the doctors and trainers.
Another injury discussion came up at the end of Friday’s press conference. When Coach Schiano was asked about how he feels with Ted Larsen filling in for the injured Davin Joseph, he laughed, said that was smooth and left without answering his or anyone else’s questions.It will be interesting to see who will play in Joseph’s spot Sunday.
The Bucs also announced their team captains Friday. The captains were voted by their teammates, which also shows the most respect. On offense, Josh Freeman was named captain for the second time along with first year Buc, Vincent Jackson. Gerald McCoy said he has the most respect for Jackson saying he is the “ultimate professional.” On defense, Ronde Barber is once again a captain along with Gerald McCoy. For special teams, Adam Hayward and Andrew Economos have been named and who both have been team captains in years past.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.