TAMPA — All signs point to Chris Conte returning healthy this week after missing two games with a chest injury, leaving the Bucs with a big decision: Does he or Keith Tandy start at safety against the Cowboys on Sunday night?
Conte had two key interceptions at the start of the Bucs' five-game winning streak, getting a pick-six against Chicago and an end-zone pick against the Chiefs, but Tandy has been just as good, coming up with interceptions on the final drives to clinch wins against the Chargers and Saints.
Tandy had a hand in another interception Sunday as he anticipated a pass against the Saints, jumped the route and deflected a pass that was picked off by CB Brent Grimes for the second of the Bucs' three interceptions.
The Bucs could rotate both safeties in with fellow starter Bradley McDougald, but their general plan in the secondary has been to identify a starter and play him every snap.
TRANSACTION: The Bucs signaled Conte's return by waiving veteran S Major Wright, who had joined the team two weeks ago for depth after Conte's injury. Wright played exclusively on special teams, tying for the team high Sunday with 17 snaps. The Bucs re-signed DT John Hughes, who had been waived Saturday to make room for other signings. Hughes has six tackles in five games with the Bucs this season as a backup.
THIS AND THAT: The Bucs beat the Cowboys in Tampa last season but had lost five straight to them before that. The last time the Bucs beat the Cowboys in Texas was 2001, when QB Brad Johnson ran for a late score in a 10-6 victory. … Tandy is a finalist for the NFL's Clutch Performer of the Week award for his interception to seal Sunday's win. … Bucs rookies spent time at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, spreading holiday cheer with patients on their day off from practice.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.