TAMPA — The challenge for the Bucs last week was traveling 3,000 miles to play the 49ers with one fewer day of rest. That clearly didn't go too well after a 48-3 loss, tied for worst in franchise history.
The challenge this week might be trying to defeat NFC South rival New Orleans without two of their top players.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is week to week because of a left ankle sprain, coach Raheem Morris said. And running back LeGarrette Blount could miss Sunday's game with a left knee injury.
"Right now, I'm not real motivated to say (McCoy's) going to definitely play this week," Morris said Monday. "But I'm not ready to count him out, either.
"I don't want to rule (Blount) out, but I'm not looking at him. It is what it is. Next man up. I'd like to get more detailed information on him. I'll call him day to day."
McCoy was injured with less than a minute left in the first quarter while trying to tackle 49ers running back Frank Gore. A pile of players rolled into McCoy and his left ankle bent backward. He did not return.
Morris said he would move Brian Price to nose tackle and put Frank Okam in McCoy's place if McCoy can't play. And he said rookie Da'Quan Bowers could fill McCoy's spot on passing downs. Defensive end George Johnson was added to the roster.
Blount left in the third quarter after making a 29-yard catch and getting tackled at the knees by safety Dashon Goldson. If Blount can't play, Earnest Graham will get the bulk of the carries. Kregg Lumpkin and Allen Bradford will play too. In five games, Blount has 77 carries for 328 yards, both tops on the team, and has three touchdowns. Graham has 18 carries for 84 yards. Bradford and Lumpkin have a combined seven carries.
"We've got some guys who are capable of running the football," Morris said. "Hopefully they'll show that this week."
McCoy has 11 tackles this season and one sack. But he brings more to the team than just statistics, Morris said.
"He's certainly been a catalyst for how we play," Morris said. "With McCoy, we've lost our engine a little bit. We've got to have somebody else pick it up."