Advertisement

Bucs have to be ‘reasonable,’ about their plan to play defensive tackle Vita Vea

The Bucs first round draft pick from Washington has gone seven weeks without playing football after injuring his calf in July.
Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea (50) smiles while watching teammates run through drills during practice in July in Tampa. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea (50) smiles while watching teammates run through drills during practice in July in Tampa. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
Published Sept. 22, 2018

Defensive tackle Vita Vea made it through practice this week, his first since straining his left calf muscle July 29. But coach Dirk Koetter was pretty non-committal about how much, or if, Vea will play Monday night against the Steelers.

"When you've been out for seven weeks, conditioning indoors is different than playing football outdoors when you've got bodies around your legs," Koetter said. "There's no lack of want to or anything like that. We've got to be reasonable with how much time we give him. We'll see."

Vea,  the Bucs first round pick from Washington, was listed at 347 pounds when training camp began. Koetter said he did a great job with his weight and actually lost 15 pounds during his rehab.

"They got a bunch of different ways guys can get cardio with a boot on," Koetter said. "It starts off on a bike. It goes to the treadmill in the water. They've got this ultra-G machine. They got a lot of different things. But cardio and football are not the same thing. We could all go over to Gold's Gym and see some good cardio people."

The Bucs are expected Monday to be without defensive tackle Beau Allen, who has not practiced this week due to a foot injury he suffered in last Sunday's win over the Eagles.

That's why Vea would be a welcome addition this week and defensive coordinator Mike Smith has indicated they could utilize him in a rotation. But it sounds like it may be a game-time decision.