Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Injuries might force Bucs to do some O-line shuffling vs. Saints

TAMPA — If the Bucs have to play Saturday without their top two options at right tackle — Demar Dotson remains in concussion protocol and backup Gosder Cherilus hasn't practiced because of groin and ankle injuries — there is another option that could put the best five linemen on the field.

The team could turn to undrafted rookie Leonard Wester, who has played in only two games with only six snaps at tackle, or it could make a double switch involving more experienced linemen.

The Bucs could take starting LG Kevin Pamphile, who spent most of his first two seasons as a backup tackle, and move him to right tackle, allowing G/C Evan Smith to fill in at left guard, as he did earlier this season when Pamphile was sidelined by a concussion.

"There are a lot of things in consideration," coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday. "I can't tell you, but we're going to show up and be ready to play, I will tell you that."

The team has a walkthrough practice today before it heads to New Orleans for Saturday's game, so Dotson still has a window to be cleared from concussion protocol, though he did not practice Thursday, suggesting that's less likely.

DE Robert Ayers, who missed Wednesday's practice because of an illness, was back at practice and listed as a full participant. That's encouraging, given that the team will already be without one starting end in Will Gholston, who dislocated his elbow in Sunday's loss at Dallas.

"We've got a little sickness going through our team right now," said Koetter, though no other players were sick enough to be listed on the injury report. "That's just part of this time of the year."

THIS AND THAT: The Saints again practiced without starting CB Delvin Breaux (shoulder). New Orleans played much of the first game against the Bucs two weeks ago without Breaux, but it still kept WR Mike Evans in check. … Bucs players took turns taking shaving-cream pies to the face after practice, helping earn local families 2,200 free tickets to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is in town at Amalie Arena on Jan. 25-29.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected]om and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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