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September 24, 2012 @ 2:00 pm
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Clayborn's Status Unknown; Defense Already Feeling The Loss

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


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For the second time in just over four months, the Bucs will face losing another defensive end for an extended period of time. Last year's sack leader Adrian Clayborn was carted off the field in Dallas in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys game. No official word has been given to Clayborn's status, but his team mates are preparing for the worst. 
On a day when the Buccaneers defense had their best performance so far of the season, they also suffered their biggest loss.

In the beginning of the fourth quarter, last season’s sack leader Adrian Clayborn was carted off the field after suffering a knee injury when Gerald McCoy sacked Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

The status of Clayborn’s injury is unknown, but it is thought to be as devastating a loss for the defensive line as the loss of Davin Joseph was for the offensive line.

Several of Clayborn’s team mates spoke about the loss of last year’s first round draft pick during Monday’s open locker room at One Buc Place and how the defensive line must move forward.

“Adrian (Clayborn) – I was pretty shaken up about that,” Bennett said. “Adrian is one of my closest friends on the team. I feel bad, though. He’s hurt, but we are really going to need him down the stretch. But we have guys here that can step up. Da’Quan (Bowers) is going to be back in a couple weeks and we have (Daniel) Te’o (-Nesheim) and George (Johnson). Those guys are going to step up and make some big plays for us.”

Clayborn is the second defensive end the Bucs have lost in just over four months. In May, Da’Quan Bowers tore his Achilles tendon in off-season workouts that have kept the second-year DE sidelined since. Bowers hopes to return in a few weeks, but says that decision is not up to him.

“Right now I’m just taking it day by day,” Bowers said. “I’m working hard on my rehab. It’s a six-week window on the PUP list, so we’ll see what happens at Week 6 whether it’s Coach Schiano and Mark Dominik’s decision to bring me up or go further from there. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

If Bowers were able to return after week six, the Bucs may have caught a break. The Bucs will host the Redskins Sunday, but follow that game up with a bye week in Week five. It could be just two more games before Bowers is able to return, due to the early off week. Until then, Te’o-Nesheim and Johnson will be playing in place of Clayborn unless Schiano decides to take advantage of Bennett’s versatility and moves him to right end.

“On the defensive line I’m the one person that plays multiple positions,” Bennett said. “I play right end, three technique, linebacker sometimes – whatever they ask me to do. I’m one of the guys that moves around on defense.”

According to McCoy, the Bucs D-Line has to keep moving forward, just as they always have done.

“This team always has a ‘next man up’ mentality.” McCoy said. “The past two years, I went down and somebody had to step up or they had to bring somebody in. If you’re going to be a Buccaneer, it has to be a ‘next man up’ mentality. To lose your No. 1 guy but, we’re going to pray for him, wish him the best, but we have 13 more to play.”

With 13 more to play, the Bucs will be losing more than possibly just a pass rushing defensive end who led all Bucs last year with 7.5 sacks.

“Adrian (Clayborn) was always our energy, not just by talking, by how he played.” McCoy said. “He was always a high motor guy, all over the field, making splash plays, and you always need that on a defense and we’re going to miss that, but somebody needs to step up and fill that void.”

Bowers would like nothing more than to get on the field and fill that void left by his draft-classmate.

“It’s not difficult from a physical standpoint, it’s more mental,” Bowers said. “Being in the building, watching my guys go play on Sunday, watching two tough losses and me not being able to do anything to help them. That’s what I mean by being overwhelming. I try to be there for them emotionally, but my presence is missed. I can’t be there on the sideline to pick them up when things aren’t going well. That’s what is tough about the situation for me.

“I’m taking it step-by-step, I’m progressing. Everything is going good. Hopefully by Game 6 I’m on the practice field getting ready to go. There are a lot of things I am doing and I’m very cautious about what I am doing. I’m just taking it day-by-day.”

Due to the Bucs arriving late Sunday, no official word has yet to be given to the extent of Clayborn’s injury, but if you gauge the severity by his team mate’s somber reactions, Clayborn’s absence is already felt - and missed. 
Last modified on Monday, 24 September 2012 16:21

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  • avatar

    Bowers is eligible to return after week six but, in spite of the needs, let's not rush it if he's not ready.
  • avatar

    Bowers has a ways to go before he can play. I don't expect him on the field for another 8 weeks at best.
  • avatar

    he didn't get any sacks but he was a beast in stopping the run and pressuring from his side of the line. Really a terrible blow to lose him after Bowers went down.
  • avatar

    Truth is Clayborn was under performing this year. I don't think the loss is that great but I agree we will need him down the line. Hoping for a quick recovery Mr Clayborn. McCoy luckily is really starting to come into his own. he had a weak game against the Giants, but seems to be bouncing back now. Let's hope that he will continue, because when he plays well our secondary and linebackers really are helped.
  • avatar

    Bennett is no doctor, but he says that "we will need him down the stretch" which makes me think Bennett believes the injury isnt season ending. Perhaps its just wishfull thinking on my part.
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