Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Preseason injuries nag at Bucs

TAMPA — Four days before the most important game of the Bucs' preseason schedule, six players listed on the defensive two-deep depth chart were held out of Tuesday's practice with various injuries.

The newest addition to the list was DE Michael Johnson, who has a knee bruise, joined as a spectator in defensive line drills by Will Gholston (shoulder) and Da'Quan Bowers (groin). The other cluster of injuries is in the defensive secondary, where CB Mike Jenkins (hamstring) remains out, as does S Major Wright (back) and CB Rashaan Melvin (ankle).

"(Johnson) should be good to go," said coach Lovie Smith, whose team plays Saturday afternoon at Buffalo. "(CB) Alterraun Verner (hamstring) is getting better but this is his first work in a long time so we'll ease back into the mix."

The only players Smith has said are likely out Saturday are Gholston and RB Mike James (shoulder). DE Steven Means, who sat out last week's loss to Miami with a groin injury, was back at practice. "He's improved a lot quicker than we thought he would," Smith said. "Guys need to make the football team and they need to get out there. Every rep they miss, of course, someone else is taking advantage of."

Go lefty: WR Mike Evans played exclusively on the right side of the formation during his two seasons at Texas A&M. So he carried the football in his right hand.

That was what led to his fumble through the end zone after a 41-yard reception instead of a touchdown against Miami. As he ran down the left sideline with a pass from Mike Glennon, CB Brent Grimes stripped the ball just before Evans reached the goal line. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback.

"I wasn't comfortable holding it in my left so that's another thing I need to practice on, holding the ball in my outside arm, whatever sideline I'm on," Evans said. "If it's in the right (arm) and I'm holding it tight, it wouldn't have come out. But holding it in my left, it wouldn't have happened at all."

This and that: NFL cuts start next week, as rosters will be reduced from 90 to 75 players Tuesday, then down to the final 53 on Aug. 30. But two more hopefuls per team will have jobs, as the league announced it was expanding practice squads from eight players per team to 10 for the next two seasons. Eight current Bucs were on Tampa Bay's practice squad at some point last season. … Rookie G Kadeem Edwards said he played exclusively at left guard in college but has cross-trained at both guard positions in recent weeks. … Smith points to Buffalo's 57 sacks last year, second in the league, as another strong challenge for his offensive line. "That's getting after the passer. They have legitimate rushers," he said.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

The 2018 NFL schedule won't be released until 8 p.m. tonight, but the Bucs' eight home games were posted early — and presumably accidentally — on the team's site, showing what would be a daunting start to the upcoming season.Multiple outl...
Published: 04/19/18
Is Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick a first-round fit for the Bucs?

Is Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick a first-round fit for the Bucs?

Minkah FitzpatrickPosition: SafetyCollege: AlabamaHeight/Weight: 6-1, 201Draft projection: First roundWhy Fitzpatrick makes sense for the BucsOne of the Bucs' biggest needs is to improve their secondary. Fitzpatrick is a playmaker, arguably the best ...
Published: 04/17/18
Jameis Winston set to make $21 million in 2019 as Bucs pick up his option

Jameis Winston set to make $21 million in 2019 as Bucs pick up his option

TAMPA — Jameis Winston is headed for a big pay day after this season, whether he gets a contract extension or not.The Bucs on Tuesday picked up the fifth-year option on Winston's rookie contract worth $20.9 million for 2019. The deal is not gua...
Published: 04/17/18
Get to know potential Bucs NFL draft target Vita Vea of Washington

Get to know potential Bucs NFL draft target Vita Vea of Washington

As next week's NFL draft nears, Bucs fans might want to learn a little more about a potential target at No. 7: Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea.The 6-foot-4, 347-pound monster moves very well for someone his size and could be an intriguing option...
Published: 04/17/18
DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were in perfect harmony on Day 1

DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were in perfect harmony on Day 1

TAMPA — DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were finally on the same page.For the first day of the offseason workout program, anyway.Jackson, 31, is coming off one of the worst seasons of his 10-year career with 50 catches for only 668 yards and ...
Published: 04/16/18
Jameis Winston says he has still not been interviewed in NFL probe

Jameis Winston says he has still not been interviewed in NFL probe

TAMPA — Jameis Winston was excited to be back with his teammates at One Buc Place Monday beginning the first phase of  the off-season workout program."It means everything, because it's back to football," Winston said. "It's back to that te...
Published: 04/16/18
Bucs’ Ali Marpet ready for transition to left guard

Bucs’ Ali Marpet ready for transition to left guard

Ali Marpet is on the move again, but says not to worry about his transition to left guard — his fourth offensive line position in five years — for the 2018 season."Moving from right to left is less of a transition from guard to center," M...
Published: 04/16/18
Report: Bucs’ Demar Dotson to miss summer after knee surgery

Report: Bucs’ Demar Dotson to miss summer after knee surgery

Add offensive tackle to the positions where the Bucs have a question mark, less than two weeks before the NFL draft.Starting right tackle Demar Dotson, who missed the final five games of last season with a knee injury, had surgery this past week to r...
Published: 04/15/18