Bucs center Ryan Jensen misses Thursday’s practice with ankle injury

The team also is still without CB Jamel Dean and WR/KR Jaelon Darden, who wore non-contact jerseys and are in concussion protocol.
Ryan Jensen was out for a second straight day of practice with an ankle injury.
Ryan Jensen was out for a second straight day of practice with an ankle injury. [ MATT PATTERSON | AP ]
Published Dec. 9, 2021|Updated Dec. 9, 2021

TAMPA ― Ryan Jensen was out for a second straight day of practice with an ankle injury Thursday, but the Bucs center has not missed a start since 2016 when he was with Baltimore.

Tom Brady’s battery mate wasn’t the only concern. Safety Jordan Whitehead (calf) did not practice. Cornerback Jamel Dean and wide receiver/kick returner Jaelon Darden are in concussion protocol and wore black non-contact jerseys to practice.

If Jensen cannot play Sunday against the Bills, the Bucs most likely will move Ali Marpet to center and play Nick Leverett at left guard.

The Bucs also have rookie offensive lineman Robert Hainsey, but he has not played a down this season. The question is whether they would trust Hainsey more than Leverett, who held up when Aaron Stinnie went down with a knee injury Nov. 28 at Indianapolis.

Sherman takes some reps at safety

The Bucs have a proclivity for injuries in the secondary this season, so it’s important to have backup plans to backup plans.

With Whitehead out with a calf injury and Mike Edwards suspended for misrepresenting his COVID-19 status, the Bucs seem to be a little short on safeties. That prompted defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to begin working Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman at safety this week.

Sherman has not played since sustaining a calf injury in warmups Nov. 14 at Washington. Prior to that, he missed four games with a hamstring injury.

“It’s a completely different position, obviously,” Bowles said. “We’re cross-training a lot of guys for emergency purposes the way our secondary has been going down. We’re trying to see what he can and can’t do if something happens, then he can go in there and try to work on those things. We’ve been trying to cross-train a lot of people, but to give him everything would be far-fetched right now.”

Brady, White lead Pro Bowl balloting for Bucs

We’re still several weeks away from when players and coaches vote on the Pro Bowl, but only two Bucs players are leading the fan balloting at their position: quarterback Tom Brady and inside linebacker Devin White.

Tackle Tristan Wirfs is fifth at right tackle, while Alex Cappa is sixth at guard. Other contenders include Jensen, who is ninth at center; Marpet, who is ninth at guard and Shaquil Barrett, who is 10th at outside linebacker.

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