By Max Luckan
There always seems to be something with this Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Whether it’s a huge injury or a suspension, there’s definitely no shortage of it. Maybe it’s like that with other NFL teams as well, but it doesn’t seem like it.
With the Bucs preparing for a bout against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, the team isn’t expecting any major setbacks in terms of preparation such as injuries or suspensions.
Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, CB Eric Wright, who’s coming off an Achilles injury, practiced on Wednesday and didn’t appear to be limited in any way. Wright played well in last Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, despite reportedly being under investigation by the NFL. However, that whole situation is a bit opaque at the moment and nothing has really come to fruition in terms of a supposed suspension.
Likewise, safety Ahmad Black, who was recently cited for possession of marijuana, also practiced on Wednesday and has not been disciplined by the league, although that could still come.
As far as Black’s status for Sunday’s game, and if any action has been taken by the team because of his off-the-field incident.
“He will play Sunday, yeah,” head coach Greg Schiano said. “I’ve had candid conversations with Ahmad (Black). I’ve taken internal action that will stay internal, and now the league still has to decide what they’re going to do and the courts have to decide.”
Defensive end Michael Bennett did not practice on Wednesday, but Schiano said that he should be okay. Bennett has recently been dealing with a shoulder injury that he suffered against the Raiders. Safety Cody Grimm and TE Luke Stocker were the other two players who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice.
The Bucs continue to work on their pass defense, which is ranked near the bottom, this week and Schiano vowed that it will get better. Against the run, the Bucs have been one of the best in the league this year, but teams have been able to exploit the spotty pass coverage, which is something that the team is dedicating a lot of resources to in practice this week.
Obviously, running back Doug Martin has really stepped up his game in recent weeks and will look to continue his success against the San Diego Chargers’ defense. The Bucs will also continue to take shots down the field and get the vertical game going in order to open up the rushing attack even more. And the Bucs have the luxury of having two receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams that are able to catch the home run passes. So look for them to take advantage of that.
On defense, Schiano said the Bucs are looking to make teams one-dimensional and use their strong run defense in their favor. With Philip Rivers coming to town, the Bucs will need to focus on Rivers’ outstanding ability to deliver accurate passes down the field, and try to curb their success through the air.
The Bucs are 2-2 at home this season and will try to use the home atmosphere as an advantage, something that they haven’t been able to do most of the season.
Schiano also announced that the team signed DL Pep Levingston and TE LaMark Brown to the practice squad.
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Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. You can find more of his work at Examiner.com.