The Bucs offensive line has been healthy all season, but their fortune swung in the Wild Card game. All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs went down against the Eagles with an ankle sprain on the Bucs’ first drive. Wirfs tried to return, but lasted just three plays. Meanwhile, center Ryan Jensen was rolled up on in the second quarter, but didn’t miss a snap. Both players are in question for Sunday’s game against the Rams.
“I was scared to death it was an Achilles on Tristan,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said on Bucs Total Access this week. “But it ended up being a high ankle sprain. He thought he could go. They worked him out behind the bench and said, ‘yeah, he can go’. But he couldn’t go.”
Wirfs gave up a sack to Ryan Kerrigan on his third play back in the lineup. He quickly fell to the ground in pain, and the Bucs subbed him out. Jensen was able to return without missing a play, but his condition could worsen by Sunday. Arians described him as “tough a dude as there is playing this game” on Sunday.
Bucs C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Ryan is just tough as nails,” Arians said. “His ankle wasn’t quite as severe. It’s a little sore today though. But we’ll see how they are this week. But Jensen, it didn’t effect him. Once the adrenaline gets going, it’s different for him than those guys.”
For now, the Bucs are in the dark about the availability of either lineman for Sunday. On Monday, Arians said Wirfs is wearing a boot. But listening to the head coach on Bucs Total Access, it sounds like both linemen are wearing boots this week.
“I probably won’t know anything until Friday,” Arians said. “It’s gonna take that long to get them out of the boot. Get them walking on it and see how they can play.”
On Bucs Total Access, Arians was asked what Plan B will go if Wirfs and Jensen can’t play.
“There’s a number of combinations,” Arians said. “We could do (Robert) Hainsey, who we trust, at center. We could start Ali (Marpet) at center and (Aaron) Stinnie at guard. We’ll just see how the tackle (situation) plays out. It could be Josh (Wells) or Tristan.”
The Bucs host the Rams on Sunday at 3pm EST in the divisional playoffs.
You can listen to the fantastic entirety of Bucs Total Access right here.