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The Bucs may be a little short on intensity along the defensive line this weekend in New Orleans.

Fiery defensive end/tackle William Gholston didn’t practice Tuesday after exiting Sunday night’s loss in Dallas late in the fourth quarter with a dislocated elbow. The injury occurred on the first play of the Cowboys’ final scoring drive with less than seven minutes remaining and Gholston did not return.

Gholston is sixth on the defense with 49 total tackles (37 solo and 12 assisted), has recorded three sacks, and forced a fumble.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said Tuesday that it’s too early in the week to make a determination on Gholston but that it would be multiple players stepping in to help fill the void.

“If it works out that way, that loss would be absorbed throughout the defensive line,” Koetter said. “It’s not just one guy that’s going to absorb it. We’re still going to rotate our D-linemen no matter who’s up there.

“If Will can’t go, we’ll miss him, but like other guys that are out, the next man up’s got to be ready to help us go.”

Since Gholston will line up on the interior and on the edge, the next men up along the defensive line would be a mix of multiple players getting increased playing time. That includes ends Noah Spence and Ryan Russell and tackles Akeem Spence and Sealver Siliga.

Russell, a second-year pro out of Purdue, was promoted from the practice squad last month and made his first appearance during Week 9’s home win over the Chicago Bears that sparked a five-game winning streak. He’s played 38 percent of the Bucs’ defensive snaps since that afternoon, averaging about 23 per game, but recorded only two tackles. One of those takedowns was a sack of Russell Wilson during Tampa Bay’s 14-5 home win over the Seahawks on Nov. 27.

Since the Bucs are playing Saturday in New Orleans, the team is preparing with an adjusted schedule. Tuesdays are usually an off day for the team. Even though the Bucs practiced, however, they will not release their first injury report until Wednesday.

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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4 years ago

Just when our defense was healthy, another big blow. We’ve been through worse this year so I’m sure we’ll find a way. Spence has been playing very well and is a more than capable replacement. The extra play time will help his development as well

4 years ago

Next man up because I don’t see Gholston playing in the regular season; maybe playoffs assuming we get there. Go Bucs!

4 years ago

D line taken lot hits this year. Really wish could had Jaques Rodgers and Spence at ends. Gholston will be out several weeks I bet. That’s bad injury.

Reply to  fredster
4 years ago

I think you mean Jacquies Smith at DE.

4 years ago

Sits out practice? With a dislocated elbow? Damn, I would expect he sits outs more than a practice. These guys are tough but I don’t see how he plays the last two games.

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