TAMPA — The Bucs haven't faced 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick since 2013, when San Francisco handed Tampa Bay a 33-14 home loss, but the remaining players from that team remember well how dangerous he can be.
"He has real athleticism," DT Gerald McCoy said. "There are a lot of athletes in the league at quarterback, but not a lot like him. He can gain ground in a hurry. He's not a quarterback who wastes time making a decision. If he's going to go, he's gone. When he goes, you'd better get on your horse because he can get downfield quick."
That means the defensive line must stay true to its scheme and occupy its rush lanes Sunday in San Francisco. Kaepernick is fast enough to turn a small mistake into a big gain downfield, and the Bucs defense respects that threat.
"He has that versatility," said DT Akeem Spence, a rookie when the Bucs last faced Kaepernick. "He shredded us up in the passing game and in the run game. We know he's very mobile. We have to almost treat him like he's Cam Newton. Just be conscious to make sure we keep him in the pocket."
INJURY UPDATE: The Bucs got encouraging news on one front as starting DT Clinton McDonald practiced for the first time since injuring his hamstring two weeks ago, joining McCoy as possible additions for Sunday.
At the same time, WR Louis Murphy, who had returned to practice this week for the first time since ACL surgery in November, was not present for the initial 30-minute portion of practice seen by the media, though coach Dirk Koetter said without elaborating that he was in attendance later.
One new injury reported by the team was CB Jude Adjei-Barimah, the team's nickel defensive back, who was limited with a knee injury. Adjei-Barimah has been the Bucs' nickel since rookie Vernon Hargreaves moved full-time to outside corner two games ago.
DE Robert Ayers did not practice and is in position to miss a fourth straight game with his ankle injury.
THIS AND THAT: Rookie DE Noah Spence, who injured his shoulder in Week 4 against Denver, said he'll have to play with a harness the rest of the season, but he's getting used to it. "You have to learn how to maneuver almost without your right arm," Spence said. … Koetter said G Kevin Pamphile has been the team's highest-graded offensive lineman. "What we like about his play is he's getting consistent movement in the run game and doing a solid job in the passing game," Koetter said. Pamphile has filled in well for free agent signee J.R. Sweezy, who has yet to play or practice due to a back injury.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690.