Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Da'Quan Bowers, Amobi Okoye, Adam Hayward begin training camp on PUP list

TAMPA — Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers tore his right Achilles tendon during an off-season workout in May, depriving the Bucs of one of their most promising pass rushers until at least midseason, if not longer.

"The one injury really hits the defense with Da'Quan," coach Greg Schiano said last week.

Bowers will have company in the trainer's room.

With veterans reporting to training camp Thursday, the Bucs placed Bowers, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and linebacker Adam Hayward on the active physically-unable-to-perform list.

Okoye, the Bears free agent who signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract in May, is expected to provide depth for oft-injured defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. He had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and missed the mandatory minicamp.

Hayward, a sixth-year veteran who can play all three linebacker positions, struggled with a foot injury much of last season.

In the preseason, a player can come off the PUP list at any time. Once the regular season begins, a player on the reserve PUP list must sit out six games.

Bowers, who with Clemson in 2010 led the nation with 16 ½ sacks, played sparingly as a rookie last season as he recovered from knee surgery. He appeared in all 16 games, starting six, and finished with 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

The Bucs' hope of getting Bowers back during the season might be optimistic. He will be replaced as the starting left defensive end by Michael Bennett, who had 35 tackles and four sacks last season.

Okoye's injury was not considered serious when he had surgery. At the time, the Bucs believed he would be ready for training camp. He was signed to provide experience and depth at defensive tackle, where injuries to McCoy and Price the past two seasons have limited their production to a combined 39 games and seven sacks.

Okoye made only one start for Chicago last year but played the second-most snaps of any Bears defensive tackle. He finished with four sacks and 27 quarterback pressures.

"In this league, in college and even in high school, I think it's good to have that rotation for d-linemen," Okoye said recently. "A lot is required for a big man as a d-linemen movement-wise. A guy can get gassed easily.

"It's very good to keep that rotation going and just getting guys getting after the quarterback, getting after the running back, disruptive and getting into the backfield."

But even before the season starts, the Bucs defensive line has been disrupted by injuries.

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