The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a well timed bye week for week 6, needing as much time a possible to heal up on injuries and the like. Due to the list of injuries, the team decided to work out eleven players this week, primarily on the defensive front. While there are question marks on both sides of the ball, the injuries to mainstays Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers means that the defense needs help quick, fast, and in a hurry. Per ESPN’s Adam Caplan and Field Yates, the Buccaneers worked out defensive linemen Sealver Siliga and Chris McCain; linebackers Quentin Gause, Brandon Hepburn, Jason Fanaika, and Randall Johnson; wide receivers Da’Ron Brown, Matt Hazel, and Jamal Robinson; tight end Clay Burton, and defensive back Robertson Daniel (Bucswire.usatoday.com).
For the sake of time I’m going to only focus on the defensive unit. What really stands out when I look at this list of players is that only one defensive back worked out for Tampa Bay. Just one. This is the same Bucs defense that’s currently ranked 22nd against the pass. Far from dead last I know, but the DB’s are susceptible to giving up big pass plays. Nothing against Robertson Daniel, but since being drafted out of BYU in 2015, he’s yet to play on an active roster in the NFL. Considering that the defensive backfield has been the Achilles’ heel for the last few seasons, you would think the Buccaneers would look elsewhere than a player that was just released from the Packers’ practice squad for the second time. However, there are plenty of veteran free agents that could help boost the Tampa Bay’s DB unit, like Antrel Rolle and Cortland Finnegan.
Its been documented that Tampa Bay is thin at the linebacker and defensive line spots, so the list of tryouts at those positions makes sense. Sealver Siliga last played for the New England Patriots, tallying 28 tackles in 13 games last season. LB’s Quentin Gause and Brandon Hepburn had similar paths as the aforementioned Robertson Daniel, not making much noise in the pros but had decent collegiate careers at Rutgers and Florida A&M, respectively. All three could be beneficial for the depleted front seven, especially considering at linebacker.
I understand that the Bucs are trying to buy low when it comes to adding to the depth chart. At the same time, plenty of teams around the league are off to hot starts or are currently getting hot. They still have to face Drew Brees and the Saints twice and rematches against the Falcons and the Panthers, and I’m sure both of the latter teams are looking to avenge their losses at the hands of Pewter Nation. Factor in games against AFC West QB’s Derek Carr and Philip Rivers, there could be more struggles on the horizon unless Tampa Bay figures out who would be best suited to stop opposing passing attacks.
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