Injury Issues Compound Loss
Sunday's loss to the Ravens was ugly, particularly up front where the offensive line was handled by a ravaging Baltimore defense. But the news going forward doesn't stand to get a whole lot better, with coach Jon Gruden on Monday disclosing that starting right guard Davin Joseph likely will be out for at least the next three weeks.
Joseph suffered a sprained knee in practice last Wednesday and hasn't practiced since.
"I'm confident that Davin will be close to being ready to go after the bye" week," Gruden said. The Bucs' open date is Oct. 1, but before then, they play at Atlanta on Sunday and at home against Carolina on Sept. 24. Using Gruden's time frame, Joseph most likely wouldn't return before the Oct. 8 game at New Orleans. As for left guard Dan Buenning (sprained ankle), Gruden said he will attempt to practice on Wednesday and could make his return against the Falcons.
Also Monday, Gruden said the Bucs already are in the process of evaluating free-agent long snappers after veteran Dave Moore suffered an injury to his ribs Sunday. Several candidates were flown in Monday morning and the Bucs could make a roster move in the coming days if Moore's injury is deemed serious.
Tight end Doug Jolley stepped in after Moore's injury and snapped on the game's final two punts, but he is a relatively inexperienced long snapper having only done so in preseason games during his career. Guard Jeb Terry has done some long snapping, but Gruden said he views him as a secondary option.
And running back Cadillac Williams also had issues Sunday with back spasms, according to Gruden. Asked whether they were heat related, Gruden said "he took some hits." Gruden said the spasms were a factor in Williams being limited to eight carries.
Whatever the reason for the back problems, Gruden defended his usage of Williams in the preseason, when he was used sparingly, carrying 4 times for 3 yards. Williams only carried the ball in one game, against the Jaguars in the third preseason contest.