After finishing their preseason campaign, the Bucs’ focus is now on the regular season. As they approach the starting line, there was some good news to report about some of their top defensive players on Friday.
The defense has been without linebacker Lavonte David for all of training camp, and they’ve been with defensive tackle Vita Vea since the first preseason game. Both have been out with knee injuries.
Vea was not certain to be ready for the start of the regular season after his LCL sprain, and and David’s status, to this point, has been unknown. But, on Friday, Bruce Arians gave an update on their conditions, and it sounds like the Bucs are going to have some major upgrades coming to practice.
While it’s not guaranteed that Vea will play yet in Week 1 against the 49ers, Arians was optimistic about Vea’s recovery through the injury.
“He’s progressing very nicely,” Arians said. “I’ll know more by Tuesday and he’ll be here all weekend working out. It’ll be close, but I think he’ll be there.”
Arians was more blunt about David, confirming that he’ll be ready for practice and the regular season.
“Lavonte’s fine,” Arians said. “He’ll be practicing Tuesday.”
With news of roster cuts scheduled to come throughout Friday and Saturday, Arians and the front office are currently in process of finalizing the initial 53-man roster. There has been a lot of competition at multiple positions through camp, and Arians mentioned which positions might make the case to carry extra players on the roster. As often is the case, it ultimately may come down to special teams.
“Wide receivers and defensive backs,” Arians said. “That’s probably been the highest competition areas. Inside linebacker; I would throw tight ends in there. Really high competition, wouldn’t be surprised if you see guys on other teams from those rooms. The special teams part of it is a deciding factor, one guy might be a better player at his position but he’s not as good as a special teams player when you start getting down to four, five, and six.”
Before the Bucs final preseason game, Arians’ message to his players was to play so well that he wouldn’t be able to cut them. After the game ended, there was one player that earned himself a roster spot.
“I would say Jack Cichy was one of them for sure,” Arians said.
As some players on the Bucs have roster cuts on their mind, those that know they’re going to make the team have already switched their focus to the first regular season game against the 49ers.
“You could feel it in the locker room [Thursday] night,” Arians said. “The guys that knew they were going to be here, they were ready to roll.”