TAMPA — After two weeks of practice, the Bucs on Monday signed former Gators RB and Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps to the 53-man roster. He takes the place of TE Luke Stocker, who went on injured reserve with a hip injury.
Demps, 23, acquired from the Patriots in an offseason deal for RB LeGarrette Blount, could provide a spark on offense and especially on returns. Current returner Eric Page may have an increased role on offense with injuries there. Demps didn't join the Bucs until the start of the regular season, honoring commitments to his track schedule.
Stocker, who was inactive for Sunday's loss to the Patriots, did not catch a pass this season. The third-year pro from Tennessee has 28 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown since joining the Bucs. Tampa Bay traded two fourth-round picks to Philadelphia to take him in 2011.
With Tom Crabtree sidelined for the first three games, the Bucs have been limited at tight end, with Nate Byham starting Sunday. Rookie Tim Wright had his first catch, and Danny Noble was promoted from the practice squad Saturday.
BACK HOME: Bucs coach Greg Schiano did not travel with the team from New England to remain with his father, Barry, who became ill during the Patriots game.
Schiano said he flew home to Tampa on Sunday night once family members could arrive in Boston.
"During the game, my dad became ill and I thought it was necessary to stay back with him until some other family members could get up to Boston," Schiano said. "I traveled in the middle of the night last night to get back and take care of business here. So he's still in Boston."
When asked about his father's condition, Schiano said, "They're doing tests and stuff."
LITTLE THINGS: Schiano still believes tiny changes can add up to the big difference his team is seeking on the scoreboard after an 0-3 start.
"Details," Schiano said when asked what stood out to him from Sunday's loss. "Schematic issues that we have to be more precise. We left way too much on the table there. If we just do our jobs, we'll score a lot of points."
NICKS OF TIME: Schiano was pleased to get Pro Bowl G Carl Nicks back for his season debut after he missed the first two games with a toe injury and a staph infection. Nicks started at left guard and stayed in the full game.
"He looked like a guy who practiced for a week, as far as all the little details, but he's just so big and strong, you can feel his physical presence in there," Schiano said. "I look forward to him getting more practice and fine-tuning his game."
INJURY UPDATES: Schiano confirmed that WR Vincent Jackson (ribs) and DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) are slowed but said it's too early to know what that will mean for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. He said WR Mike Williams has an upper leg injury. Crabtree has missed three games with an ankle sprain, and Schiano said there's a chance he plays Sunday against Arizona.