The Buccaneers have suffered their share of injuries as the season’s progressed, but heading into Week 12, the team appears to be healing up in time for the final stretch. Only two players – defensive end George Johnson and safety Keith Tandy – are officially listed as out for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis.
“When we talk about two guys being out for sure right now, you cant beat that,” head coach Lovie Smith said after practice Friday. “Seems like there isn’t one spot where we’re really in a hole, so we’re in pretty good shape. Again, you can’t be in a better position this time of year.”
Bucs RG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Of course, that’s not to say that Tampa Bay is completely injury-free.
While Smith said Austin Seferian-Jenkins is continuing to make progress, as is Ali Marpet, who’s ankle caused him to miss his first game last Sunday in Philly, the Bucs still have some uncertainty with key players on offense.
In Seferian-Jenkins case, the second-year tight end has been limited in practice for the sixth week but still hasn’t been cleared for contact. His prolonged sidelining since Week 3 continues to suggest that his shoulder injury, first said to be a 4-6 week recovery, was far worse that initial reports.
“A whole lot of progress,” Smith said of Seferian-Jenkins’ shoulder. “Nothing has changed (from a medical standpoint), still hasn’t been cleared – (taking it) day-by-day.”
As for Marpet, Smith called the rookie right guard a “game-time” decision. Same goes for Evan Smith, who’s dealing with a knee issue.
“They’re both limited,” Smith said of Marpet and Smith. “They’re making progress and we have a little bit of time to go (before the game). They both were able to do some type of work out there today. When I say ‘limited,’ I don’t quite know that they’re not 100 percent. They are getting better each day.”
While the Colts have generated just one sack between their two main interior tackles this season – rookies David Parry and T.Y. McGill – and measly 14 in total, Tampa Bay could certainly use its starting lineman for added protection against linebacker blitzes this Sunday. Not to mention for the sake of Marpet’s personal growth and trajectory into becoming one of the league’s better right guards.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
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