It wouldn’t be a Bucs season without drama surrounding the kicker position, so here we go again. The Bucs have dodged COVID-19 positives as well as any team in the NFL this season, but five days before Week 15, their special teams battery is currently down for the count. The team announced on Tuesday that they have placed K Ryan Succop, P Bradley Pinion and LS Zach Triner on the COVID-19/Reserve List. It is unknown at this time who, if any, tested positive, or if all three are simply close contacts of someone else who tested positive.
If the trio remains on the list and can’t play in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, that would present a unique and significant challenge for the Bucs roster. Succop has been brilliant all season, making over 92 percent of his field goal attempts and nearly 93 percent of his extra points. Still, he might be the easiest to replace, as the Bucs have protected practice squad kicker Greg Joseph all year long in the event of a situation like this.
Joseph may also have to handle punting duties on Sunday if Pinion can’t go, as the Bucs don’t have another punter on the practice squad and almost certainly can’t add one in time to clear COVID-19 protocols and play on Sunday. The same problem exists at long snapper, although the Bucs have obviously had emergency backups for that position. The only catch may be if the Bucs have known about the positives long enough before their announcement to begin the process of bringing in a replacement punter and long snapper.
The Bucs travel to Atlanta to take on the division rival Falcons on Sunday at 1 PM.