Bucs guard Logan Mankins may return vs. Rams

Logan Mankins left the season opener with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn't return. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
Logan Mankins left the season opener with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn't return. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
Published Sept. 9, 2014

TAMPA — Bucs coach Lovie Smith said little about injuries Monday, but hinted that G Logan Mankins might be ready to play against the Rams.

Mankins left the season opener with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn't return.

Smith initially said he didn't have an update on Mankins' status. But when asked whether Mankins' injury might force the Bucs to take another look at troubled guard Richie Incognito, Smith said the six-time Pro Bowl player thinks he might not miss a game.

"We have 10 guys on our 53-man roster on our offensive line. … We'll probably choose from that group if Logan can't (go)," Smith said. "But Logan has been injured before. He feels like he'll be able to go."

Smith didn't provide any updates for CB Mike Jenkins, who didn't return after an unspecified fourth-quarter injury, or TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (leg) and RB Doug Martin (leg).

TEDFORD BACK: Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was back at One Buc Place on Monday morning and is expected to have a normal work week.

He was in the press box Sunday but didn't call plays after having a heart procedure last month. Tedford is expected to assume play-calling duties against the Rams.

"We were really kind of gearing toward him being ready this week," Smith said. "He's in the office. He was in early this morning, full time, ready to go, leading the meetings. Hopefully we're back on track."

VIRAL BAND VIDEO EXPLAINED: One of the strangest parts of Sunday's game was Carolina kicker Graham Gano pushing a trombone player as Gano tried to warm up at halftime through the late-arriving Bethune-Cookman University marching band.

The band's director, Donovan Wells, said late Sunday night that heavy thunderstorms and Interstate 4 accidents delayed the band's arrival by more than an hour and forced it to take the field three minutes before the start of the third quarter.

"I have no ill feelings toward the kicker. I don't think he did anything malicious," said Wells, who wrote a letter of apology to the Bucs. "Just a bad situation, everybody trying to do their best in a bad situation. … I understand. The game may come down to him and the only time he can get practice in is the end of halftime, so he's getting his kicks in."

Gano called the trombone player and apologized, offering the Atlanta native two field passes to the Falcons-Panthers game in December, according to the Charlotte Observer.

"It's just that is the only time we have to practice," Gano said. "But I never should have done that, and I feel bad about it."

PATTON HIGHLIGHT: WR Solomon Patton ended a turbulent nine days with a strong performance.

After being one of the team's final cuts, Patton was signed to the practice squad but moved back up to the active roster.

The former Gator averaged 14 yards per punt return (fourth in the league after Sunday) and 26 yards on kickoffs (seventh).

"He was one of the bright spots and had a winning performance from that game, from start to finish," Smith said.

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ATTENDANCE FIGURES: Sunday's announced attendance at Raymond James Stadium was 62,442 — an increase for the fourth consecutive year. The actual attendance was 53,364, according to the Tampa Sports Authority. That's a decrease of 3,942 from last year's home opener.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report. Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.