FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Shortly after signing with the Bucs earlier this week, Richard Sherman was asked if he could play against the Patriots.
The five-time Pro Bowl defensive back didn’t sound like it would be a wise decision.
“I’ll need at least a week of practice to hone into things and play at the level I’ve been before,” Sherman said Wednesday. “I think it would be foolish to expect me to come out this week and play at a super high level. If I did it, it would be another thing to chalk up as a cool thing I did. But I think the expectation is to train and get in shape and give me an opportunity to play the following game.”
Those expectations have changed in a hurry.
Sherman, 33, will start for the Bucs today against the Patriots due to a plethora of injuries in Tampa Bay’s secondary, the Tampa Bay Times confirmed.
The Bucs got some more bad news Saturday, as cornerback Jamel Dean was ruled out and starter Carlton Davis (abdomen/ribs) was downgraded to questionable.
Starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting already is on injured reserve after dislocating his elbow in the season opener.
That concentration of injuries at one position is the only thing coach Bruce Arians predicted would force Sherman to start today.
“There would be a bunch of guys hurt if he’s out there this week,” Arians said. “But we’ll wait and see.”
The waiting is over.
A couple things to remember about Sherman: He isn’t in football shape. Without belonging to a team in the offseason, he had to prepare on his own.
He also doesn’t know much about the Bucs’ defense. Certainly, he has played a lot of football and will know how to play the various coverages. But the communication isn’t where it needs to be.
The Bucs also will lean on Dee Delaney, who played 53 snaps against the Rams. Arians said he played “really, really well.” The Bucs also promoted cornerback Pierre Desir from the practice squad. Rashard Robinson has started 18 games in the NFL and was used primarily on special teams last week.
Ross Cockrell will most likely get the assignment of covering the slot receiver. It’s going to take a village against the Patriots.
Happy birthday, Bruce Arians
Lost in the Brady vs. Belichick storyline is the fact that Bucs coach Bruce Arians celebrates his 69th birthday today.
Actually, Bill Belichick is older. He turned 69 in April.
Earlier this week, Belichick said the Bucs’ passing game is 100 percent what they did in New England.
Arians had a snappy comeback: “I think they copy a lot of ours, so it’s probably the same,” Arians said. “Ask what film they watch every week, they always pick ours up and watched it, so it’s the same stuff.”
Could Gronk miss at least three games?
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski has several broken ribs, a scan revealed this week. He did not accompany the team to New England, even though he made progress during the week.
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The Bucs have decided not to place Gronkowski on injured reserve, which would force him to miss three games. That would mean he would’ve missed Sunday’s game against Miami and a Thursday night game four days later at Philadelphia.
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