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Bucs' Logan Mankins unsure he'll play Sunday (w/video)

TAMPA — The Bucs again look like they will be without key starters on both sides of the ball Sunday against the Jaguars. LG Logan Mankins didn't practice again Friday due to a groin injury, and CB Johnthan Banks remained sidelined with a knee injury.

Mankins hasn't missed a game since 2012. If he can't go Sunday, the team likely will plug in at his spot backup T Kevin Pamphile, opting for a more proven player out of position ahead of young backup guards Jeremiah Warren and Matt Masifilo, who have never played offensive line in an NFL game.

Mankins said he wasn't sure if he would play.

"It's day by day right now," he said. "I would love to, but we've just got to wait and see. … If I can go, I'll go. If I can't, I can't."

Mankins has played in 40 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak among Bucs players, behind WR Vincent Jackson and DT Tony McDaniel.

Coach Lovie Smith said he was hoping Mankins would heal quickly. "It's about this weekend," Smith said. "If he wouldn't be able to go, there would be a definite reason, and I'm talking about an injury. If it's about pain, he'll play."

The team also was without C Evan Smith, who is likely to miss a third straight game with an ankle injury, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who will miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury.

WINSTON PROTECTS BALL IN PRACTICE: QB Jameis Winston, who is coming off a five turnover game Sunday against the Panthers and has seven interceptions this season, did a good job of protecting the ball in practice this week, his coach said.

"Most guys in practice … protect the ball fairly well," Lovie Smith said. "It's when you get to the game a little bit … Jameis realizes what he needs to do.

"When we talk about ball security, a lot of that is the guy with the ball the most, whether it be our quarterbacks, our running backs, whatever. When we have a lot of turnovers, we need to get a lot of takeaways. That's what we haven't put together."

JAGS' BIG BACK COMING: The Bucs' defense ranks 30th among the league's 32 teams against the run, allowing an average 136.8 yards per game. And it could have its hands full with Jaguars rookie T.J. Yeldon. He is coming off his best game as a pro, having rushed for 105 yards on 22 carries Sunday in a loss at Indianapolis.

At 6 feet 1 and 225 pounds, Yeldon runs with power and speed.

"He carried the ball and did a good job of making people miss," Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "He showed some power, too, to be able to run through some tackles. We saw that when he was in college (at Alabama), and now he is displaying it here at our level as well.

"He has a chance to be a very good back in our league. He's a good blocker, also. They leave him in for protection. He does a good job there. He has the ability to catch the ball. He can run the ball well, and he's a good blocker. Those are three ingredients in a back that you would like to have."

Bucs' Logan Mankins unsure he'll play Sunday (w/video) 10/09/15 [Last modified: Friday, October 9, 2015 9:48pm]
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