Beat Writer & Videographer
The Buccaneers will be without several key players as they travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons for NFC South supremacy. Tampa Bay's offensive line will remain the same from a week ago as center Jeff Faine and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood have been ruled out for the Falcons game.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons this Sunday, first place in the NFC South will be on the line. If they Bucs are going to win, they will have to do it without three offensive starters.
During his Friday press conference, head coach Raheem Morris revealed that center Jeff Faine (quadriceps), right guard Jeremy Trueblood (knee), and fullback Earnest Graham (hamstring) will not play against the Falcons. Morris said that he would have the same five offensive linemen starting against Atlanta that played last week in Arizona. That group consisted of Donald Penn, Ted Larsen, Jeremy Zuttah, Davin Joseph, and James Lee.
“Yes, we’ll have that same core of guys,” said Morris. “We’ll be able to go out there and let those guys get better. It was fun to see Larsen get better in his second week. It’ll be fun to see James Lee get better in his second week as well.”
Faine and Trueblood each were limited in Wednesday’s practice, but both were unable to participate in Thursday or Friday’s practice.
Meanwhile, Graham has been dealing with off the field issues, but that is not why he will miss the upcoming contest. Morris is trying to rest Graham now in hopes that his hamstring problem will heal.
“He’s been dealing with it throughout the season and he’s been limited, probable, and did not practice, and all those things,” said Morris. “Last week he stepped it up for us, but he won’t be able to do it this week. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a setback, but we have to find a way to get that thing better as fast as we can because they can bother you for the season if you don’t fix it now.”
The Bucs will also be thin at the defensive tackle position. Veteran Ryan Sims (knee) will also not be able to play. This comes just days after the Bucs lost rookie defensive tackle Brian Price for the season. Morris said that he would have to choose between newcomers Alex MaGee and Al Woods for that third defensive tackle spot behind starters Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller.
As for the rest of the injury report, McCoy (neck), tight end Kellen Winslow (knee), defensive end Kyle Moore (shoulder), and wide receiver Preston Parker (knee) are probable. Second-year wide out Sammie Stroughter has been dealing with a foot injury and is listed as questionable.
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