TAMPA — The Bucs are preparing to face the Giants on Sunday without top LBs Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, who remain sidelined with ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively.
Both missed practice again Wednesday.
Defensive coordinator Mike Smith said rookie Kendell Beckwith, a third-round draft pick from LSU, would be given the helmet transmitter and responsible for calling the defense.
"Nothing really surprises me about Kendell Beckwith at this point," coach Dirk Koetter said of the rookie's progress. "He did have to (call the defense) do it at the end of the game (Sunday against the Vikings), and he handled it fine."
David began the Bucs' 34-17 loss Sunday with the helmet transmitter until he suffered an ankle injury. From that point on, Beckwith called the defense.
Alexander started the season opener against the Bears but did not finish the game after aggravating a hamstring injury. He did not play against the Vikings.
More injury updates
The other three players held out of Sunday's game with injuries — CB Brent Grimes (shoulder), DT Chris Baker (illness) and DE Jacquies Smith — practiced with full participation.
DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) and DE Robert Ayers (knee) were limited in practice. DE Noah Spence, who dislocated his shoulder Sunday against the Vikings, had full participation.
Two new names were on the injury list: S T.J. Ward (hip) didn't practice, and G J.R. Sweezy (back) was limited.
The Giants held six players out of practice with injuries: DE Olivier Vernon, LB Jonathan Casillas, OT Bobby Hart, LB J.T. Thomas and RBs Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen.
McCoy: Pray for Trump
DT Gerald McCoy, who made critical comments of President Donald Trump on Monday, apologized for using the word "retarded" as part of that, saying people should first be praying for the president.
"As a man, when you make a mistake, you've got to admit your faults and correct it," McCoy said. "When I was talking the other day, I called the president 'retarded.' Even though he doesn't make the best decisions, it wasn't my right to say that. Being being a man of God, the first thing I should have said is 'We need to pray for him.' "
Koetter to fans: Please stay
Some NFL fans are upset enough about players protesting during the national anthem that they're pledging to boycott the NFL — not go to games, not watch games on TV, not even give their business to NFL sponsors.
Coach Dirk Koetter (right), trying to navigate a difficult issue, hopes the Bucs can keep their fans, on Sunday for a sold-out home games against the Giants, and beyond.
"I hope you don't do that," Koetter said when asked of potential fan boycotting. "I hope you can find it to support your local team, and I hope your local team is the Bucs. I still hope we have all Bucs jerseys in the lower bowl. Nothing has changed."
Koetter has said the anthem is one of his favorite moments of the game and he wouldn't protest but the players are freed to express themselves as they want. WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson knelt with their hands on their hearts during the anthem before Sunday's game at Minnesota.
"Everybody has their belief on what they think they believe, but our country is also built on respecting the other man or woman's opinion," Koetter said. "That's where we are. … I hope they come support us. We still love our fans. I hope they love us. Go Bucs."