After Bowers injury, Bucs standing pat at defensive end
Now that starting left defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has suffered a possible season-ending Achilles tendon tear, what are the Bucs going to do in response?
Right now, nothing.
That’s according to general manager Mark Dominik, who said the team wants to continue to evaluate its current lineup of defensive linemen before making any possible transactions. However, acquiring outside help has not been ruled out.
“Right now I think we’re just trying to evaluate these men that we have here for a little bit before we feel like we need to do something,” Dominik said. “But if it gets to the point where we feel like we have to do something, it’s an important position.”
His position was echoed by coach Greg Schiano.
“That’s the nature of team sports,” he said. “When someone goes down, it’s another man’s opportunity. We’ll work at it and Michael Bennett and George Johnson are going to step up. Certainly Adrian (Clayborn) on the other side. We’ll make sure we have a group out there.”
What the Bucs don’t have is an abundance of proven depth at the position. After Bennett, who is still a bit limited after offseason ankle surgery, the Bucs have Johnson, who has played just four career games. Things get even thinner beyond him, with Daniel Teo-Nesheim (seven career appearances) and E.J. Wilson (two appearances) among the remaining options.
As for the notion of Bowers returning late in the 2012 season, as he has vowed, Dominik hasn’t ruled it out.
“His surgery was successful,” Dominik said. “It all comes down to his rehab. He’s going to do his rehab here with Shannon Merrick, who is one of the best rehab gurus in the National Football League, which is why guys have been able to come back like they have at a quicker pace. We hope it does the same thing for him.”