TAMPA — The landscape of the NFL changes dramatically week-to-week, but the events of Week 2 had a profound impact on how the Bucs can envision their fortunes in the NFC South.
The division-favorite Saints look beatable, at least for the next six weeks as quarterback Drew Brees recovers from a torn tendon in the thumb on his throwing hand. The Bucs travel to New Orleans in three weeks.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is officially banged up again, a foot injury keeping him out of practice on Tuesday. And in Atlanta, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan leads the league with five interceptions.
But as the Bucs began their practice week Tuesday in preparation for the New York Giants, coach Bruce Arians made it clear he didn’t want his team preoccupied with the opportunities that might lie down the road.
“If there is, I’m going to put a match to it, because it’s (about) this week," Arians said. "You can’t think about all that stuff, because (Brees’ replacement) Teddy Bridgewater is a hell of a player. And there’s other really good players in this league. You take care of today’s business, not Sunday’s, just today’s. Tomorrow’s is hopefully Wednesday. Thursday is Thursday’s. If you stay like that, you’ll be alright.”
Still, Arians wants his team carrying over the confidence gained in Thursday’s night’s 20-14 division road win at Carolina on Thursday Night Football into Sunday’s game against the Giants.
“I think it was big for their confidence,” Arians said of Thursday’s win. "I had the confidence all along. It really depends on them, the locker room, and I think their confidence is pretty high right now. We talked about, we have to practice the same way this week coming off a win as we did coming off a loss. The same sense of urgency can’t leave.
“The one thing we’re doing is playing hard,” Arians added. “We’re not playing perfect, but we’re playing really hard, and if you play harder than the other team for 60 minutes, you’re got a chance.”
Arians on players demanding trades
With Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey demanding a trade out of Jacksonville, Arians was asked about how he views players who might be malcontents and incorporating them into a locker room.
"I walked in here with a clean slate, and we don't have anybody like that," Arians said."I can only talk about my team and the teams that I've been on, we've never had those type of things. It seems to be vogue all of a sudden. Hopefully it changes."
With the Jaguars asking for deal that starts with a first-round pick and Ramsey searching for an extension to make him the highest-paid cornerback, a deal with the Bucs doesn’t appear to fit. No matter how the Bucs’ season plays out, they’re unlikely to deal a first-rounder, and while their cap space opens up next season, that hefty of a commitment to Ramsey, who becomes a free agent after next season, seems unlikely.
White, Dean absent from practice
Rookie inside linebacker Devin White wasn’t on the field during the practice session open to media on Tuesday as the Bucs opened their practice week in preparation for the Giants.
White suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his left knee in the first quarter of the Bucs’ 20-14 road win over the Panthers on Thursday.
Rookie cornerback Jamel Dean also wasn’t on the practice field during the open session Tuesday. Dean suffered a left lower leg injury and had a boot on his foot in the locker room after Thursday’s game.
Right tackle Demar Dotson and outside linebacker Devante Bond didn’t practice, presumably getting veteran maintenance days.
Arians said having extra recovery days following Thursday night’s game should help the team’s overall health going into the Giants game.
“It was good (having the extra days off),” Arians said. “We limited a few guys today that didn’t have a full practice that will have a full practice tomorrow. It’s always good. I don’t like the the second week, now I love it.”
— Wide receiver Amara Darboh, signed to the Bucs’ practice squad on Monday, practices on Tuesday and was wearing No. 83. The Bucs released receiver Emanuel Hall from the practice squad to make space.
— On Tuesday, the Bucs announced their “fantennial” weekend schedule, highlighted by the Bucs Beach Bash concert featuring Billy Ray Cyrus on Saturday at Tradewinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach. For more info, see Buccaneers.com.
A look ahead at Bruce Arians’ first year in Tampa Bay and a critical season for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard