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With Quincy Black injury, Dekoda Watson could start for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ROLE INCREASING: Kregg Lumpkin has five receptions for 38 yards coming out of the backfield this season including three for 25 yards Monday. He had one catch all of last season.

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ROLE INCREASING: Kregg Lumpkin has five receptions for 38 yards coming out of the backfield this season including three for 25 yards Monday. He had one catch all of last season.

TAMPA — For the second time in three games, the Bucs likely will be without starting strongside LB Quincy Black, who is battling an ankle injury.

"Quincy is struggling a little bit," coach Raheem Morris said Friday. "He didn't go (Friday), so it will be questionable to see where he is."

Black, who is listed as questionable in the injury report (meaning he has a 50 percent chance to play), injured his ankle in the first half of the Bucs' 24-20 win in Week 2 at Minnesota and did not play Sept. 25 against Atlanta. If Black is unable to play, Dekoda Watson will replace him in the Bucs' base defense.

The Bucs also are expected to be without TE Luke Stocker (knee), LB Zac Diles (hamstring), S Devin Holland (back) and T James Lee (knee). Diles is listed as doubtful. Three other players who did not practice or were limited Thursday will play — TE Kellen Winslow (knee), CB Aqib Talib and FB Earnest Graham (hamstring).

Morris said he is confident Watson can get the job done. He had two tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Falcons in Black's absence.

"Last year gave me confidence about Dekoda," Morris said. "We went out there and started a bunch of games, and Dekoda can go out there and play at a high speed and a high level. He's fun to watch, and obviously Dekoda will go if Quincy can't."

PLAYING TIME FOR LUMPKIN: His was just a cameo role Monday, a few snaps on third downs and a couple of check-down receptions, but don't be surprised to see more from RB Kregg Lumpkin.

He was passed over by coaches when they decided Graham would be the third-down running back. But Lumpkin, who caught three passes out of the backfield against the Colts for 25 yards, is seeing more time and could continue to have an expanded role.

Lumpkin doesn't appear likely to overtake Graham on the majority of third downs, but offensive coordinator Greg Olson has been looking for situations where Lumpkin's skill set can be used. Lumpkin's comfort level in the offense is making that possible, Olson said.

"He's had a very good couple of weeks of practice," Olson said. "He's another guy who's had a great attitude, and he looks more comfortable. He's looked more comfortable in practice. He's playing faster. There's a better understanding with him and understanding what we want out of that position, the third-down running back.

"So he's had a couple of good weeks of practice, and he's had a chance to go out in the game, and he was a big part of a couple of those big plays on third down. We'll continue to try and utilize Kregg."

There's room for more of Lumpkin given how many passes have been thrown to running backs. Of the team's 97 completions, 30 (31 percent) have been to running backs. Graham leads the team with 23 receptions.

BUCS BITS: The 49ers lead the NFL with a plus-8 turnover ratio (11 takeaways, 3 giveaways). … The Bucs are 7-1 when RB LeGarrette Blount has 18 rushing attempts or more. … The Bucs have won nine out of their past 11 on the road.

With Quincy Black injury, Dekoda Watson could start for Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 9:55pm]
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