If losing games wasn’t enough, the Bucs are losing players also. The latest in the rash of injuries is to wide receiver Mike Williams who told Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman he has a torn hamstring.
"I think it's kind of always aggravated,” head coach Greg Schiano said when addressing Williams’ injury on Friday. “He has a condition, it's just a matter of can he play with it."
Williams initially injured the hamstring in Tampa Bay’s Week 3 loss to the New England Patriots. He would play Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals but would then be declared inactive for their Week 6 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles following the bye in Week 5. He would return to action in Week 7 at Atlanta but Thursday night against Carolina Williams was visibly limited after catching three passes for 20 yards.
The four-year wide receiver out of Syracuse signed a new deal this offseason worth $40.25 million for six years. This season Williams has caught 22 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. His 9.8 yards per catch average this season is his lowest so far from any of his previous three seasons. All three combined total an average of just over 14 yards per catch from 2010 – 2012.
If Williams misses significant time, the Buccaneers do have depth at the position but with limited experience. Outside of veterans Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood, the other four on the depth chart have just three years combined experience. Receivers Skye Dawson, Russell Shepard, Eric Page, and Chris Owusu have 11 receptions among the four this season while Owusu accounts for six of that total.
Williams missed the first game of his career when the team played Philadelphia. Up until now he has been healthy and has never had any injury problems that jeopardized his availability. His 23 touchdowns ranks him eighth overall in team history for most touchdowns scored in a Buccaneers uniform.