After missing most of training camp and every practice leading up to the Bucs home opener, head coach Bruce Arians has officially ruled safety Jordan Whitehead out for the Week 1 tilt against the Cowboys.
On Sunday Arians told media that Whitehead has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Whitehead had offseason shoulder surgery to repair the torn labrum he suffered during the NFC Championship game. The safety then started training camp on the reserve/COVID list. After a brief return, Whitehead injured his hamstring and has been out since, labeled as day-to-day.
Listed on the injury report Monday as a non-participant, Whitehead has continued to work with trainers individually. Third year pro Mike Edwards will step in for the hard-hitting safety on Thursday night. Edwards is more of a ballhawk then an in-the-box safety, but has been playing the position all camp and would be a starter on most teams.
Behind Edwards, Ross Cockrell has been cross training at safety all summer. While Antoine Winfield Jr. will most likely fill that in-the-box role until Whitehead’s return, Arians is comfortable with the current depth they have at safety.
“Super comfortable,” Arians said. “Ross (Cockrell) has had a hell of a camp and obviously made the transition easily for us. Mike is a ballhawk. So, I’m very, very comfortable with where we’re at there.”
It will remain to be seen how long Whitehead will be out, as soft tissue injuries can be difficult to put a timetable on. Jason Licht and co. have built quality depth on the roster that should be ready to step up to the challenge. The season kicks off Thursday as the Bucs take on the Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium.
J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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