The biggest game of the 2021 regular season looms for the Bucs on Sunday, as they travel to Los Angeles to face the undefeated Rams. But Tampa Bay will compete without outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul or wide receiver Jaydon Mickens, after Bruce Arians ruled out both players on Friday.

“Not making the trip this week will be JPP (Pierre-Paul) and ‘Mick’ (Mickens),” Arians said. “Both will be out this week.”

Mickens left the second half of the Bucs Week 2 contest with a hip injury. In his place, rookie Jaelon Darden is likely to be active for the first time. Darden flashed as a punt returner in preseason action, but struggled on kickoffs. It remains to be seen if Darden will handle the starting returner duties. Scotty Miller and Antoine Winfield Jr. will also garner consideration.

On defense, first round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will get his first NFL start. In just eight pass rush opportunities on Sunday against Atlanta, Tryon-Shoyinka picked up three pressures. He’s looked dynamic in his brief NFL career, but veteran Anthony Nelson will see a share of snaps as well. Neither can replicate Pierre-Paul’s all-around impact, but Tryon-Shoyinka’s pass rush ability may make up for it.

In addition to Pierre-Paul and Mickens, Arians added that WR Antonio Brown and LB Kevin Minter are “very questionable” to play on Sunday. Both players remain on the COVID list.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Mike Pengelly
28 days ago

JPP on defense and possible AB on offense…Two big holes to fill. Let’s hope our backup guys stepup bigtime vs a very strong opponent. Watching tapes of Rams and seeing Kupp all over the field,,,scary stuff ! I see Rams and Bills as our two toughest games of the regular season.

Reply to  Mike Pengelly
28 days ago

The flip side to that coin is every NFL team see us as their toughest opponent. GO BUCS!

28 days ago

Joe would’ve had an easy sack, but Vea took him out of the play. Go get em kid!

28 days ago

Sounds like AB still has a possibility of playing. AB seems to get jacked up playing in games like this.