By Max Luckan
In the upcoming matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams, it won’t be two teams fighting for a playoff spot this year, but rather two teams that are looking ahead to the future. Both teams are littered with talent on their respective rosters, but they are still in the building phase.
If the records of the two teams is an indicator of their progress, that would mean that the St. Louis Rams, who are 6-8 on the season, are further ahead than the Bucs, who hold a 4-10 record this season. Both teams are certainly close to being above a .500 record, but they are both just looking to finish the season strong at this point.
Team InjuriesThe Bucs have been one of the most injury-plagued teams in the entire NFL this season. After the addition of special-teams player Russell Shepard to the injured reserve list this week, the team currently leads the league with the most players on IR.
Furthermore, cornerback Darrelle Revis said this week that he is still not 100 percent healthy.
“It’s not where I want to be, because I’m not 100 percent,” Revis told the media. “But at the same time, I’m out here; I’m doing what I can with what I got. So just got to finish the season strong, and work my butt off this offseason and get prepared for next year.”
While Revis is still not at full strength, he has started every single game this season for the Bucs and has done an above average, if not better, job on the number one receivers of opposing teams.
Guard Carl Nicks did not practice on Wednesday and he almost certainly will not play this Sunday. Nicks has a very slim chance of playing in the team’s final game of the season, but even that is unlikely.
Safety Mark Barron was limited in Wednesday’s practice session because of a hamstring injury.
The Bucs did not file an injury report with the league office for Thursday because they did not finish the session.
That means that Barron’s status for Sunday is unclear, but his injury does not appear to be too serious. The same applies for defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (knee) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (hamstring), who are both just dealing with nagging injuries and have been able to play through them.
Guard Davin Joseph (knee) had his scheduled day of rest on Wednesday and was just limited in practice as a result.
The Rams actually do not have many injuries to list at all, which is surprising given the fact that we are in Week 16 of the NFL regular season.
Wide receiver Tavon Austin, a key weapon on offense for the Rams, has an ankle injury and did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
Much like the Bucs, the Rams did not file an injury report for Thursday’s practice, so Austin’s status for Sunday is unclear.
The only other injury listed for the Rams is running back Daryl Richardson, who has a thigh injury. Richardson was held out of Wednesday’s practice because of it, but might be able to play against the Bucs. Richardson is currently third on the depth chart, so he won’t be missed much if he is unable to play.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
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. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.