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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jeff Faine, Jeremy Trueblood, Earnest Graham out for Sunday vs. Atlanta Falcons

TAMPA — C Jeff Faine (quad) and RT Jeremy Trueblood (knee) won't play Sunday against the Falcons, meaning the Bucs will use the same young offensive line as last week, coach Raheem Morris said Friday.

And with Earnest Graham (hamstring) also out, the team likely will start rookie Erik Lorig at fullback.

Faine will miss his fourth straight game and Trueblood his second.

But Morris said he had confidence in a line that includes rookie LG Ted Larsen, C Jeremy Zuttah and RT James Lee, who performed well Sunday despite an extremely loud, domed environment in Arizona.

It was a good test for the hostile crowd they can expect Sunday in the Georgia Dome.

"You can simulate crowd noise all you want, you can do as many things as you like," Morris said. "Until you get to a dome and it was as loud as it was on that first third down, that was impressive."

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said he was "extremely gratified and satisfied" with the way the line performed, noting how difficult it is for young players such as Larsen and Zuttah to adjust to new positions.

Morris credited G Davin Joseph and T Donald Penn, the veterans of the group, for their leadership. Penn, who prides himself on facing — and faring well against — some of the league's top defensive ends, will have a tough challenge with Falcons DE John Abraham.

"That's one of the guys I have a high, high respect for," Penn said. "But John Abraham knows what he has in front of him, and I know what I have in front of me. … We've battled year in and year out since I've been in this league. He's lost a couple, I've lost a couple. We'll see who wins this one."

MEDICAL MATTERS: Graham's hamstring has bothered him all season, and though Morris said he "sucked it up and went for us" in Arizona, Graham hasn't practiced all week. "You've got to find a way to get that thing better as fast as you can," Morris said. "As you know, (hamstring injuries) can bother you for a season if you let them."

DT Ryan Sims (knee) also is out.

Morris said either DT Al Woods, signed from the Steelers' practice squad this week, or DE Alex Magee, acquired from the Chiefs, could be activated. The Bucs also could promote DT Doug Worthington from the practice squad.

Others on the injury report: WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) is questionable, and DT Gerald McCoy (neck), DE Kyle Moore (shoulder), WR Preston Parker (knee) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee) are probable.

For the Falcons, starting FB Ovie Mughelli (hamstring) returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable along with LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee), who didn't practice. Backup TE Justin Peelle (groin) is out. Abraham (ankle), LB Curtis Lofton (knee), CB Dunta Robinson (head, knee) and RB Antone Smith (shoulder) are probable.

DOUBLE THREAT: LeGarrette Blount's impact isn't limited to his rushing yards. The threat of having a big, productive running back also changes how defenses have to approach the Bucs, potentially forcing them to move more players inside the box to stop the run.

"Anytime you have a big, strong running back like Blount that is going to be tough to tackle, he's a load, you don't want to see him rumbling down in your secondary," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "It creates opportunities for other guys because now you're going to possibly have to change your strategy and your tactics in how you're going to defend the offense when they have the ability to run effectively. It really creates issues for defensive coaches in terms of how they want to try to present how they're going to stop the run game."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jeff Faine, Jeremy Trueblood, Earnest Graham out for Sunday vs. Atlanta Falcons 11/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 10:46pm]

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