Tampa Bay released its official injury report Wednesday.
Defensive end Simeon Rice (hamstring), safeties Dwight Smith (knee) and John Howell (ankle), tackle Kenyatta Walker (leg) and tight ends Dave Moore (ankle) and Ken Dilger (ribs) are listed as probable for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.
Safety Jermaine Phillips, who has been sidelined several weeks with a fractured forearm, participated in Wednesday’s workout and is listed as questionable.
“He did a little bit more, and once again his status is very questionable,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of Phillips. “It’s a serious injury he has. He wants to play, he’s a tough guy, but we’ll see how feels the next couple of days.”
DEFENSIVE LINE CHANGES:
According to several published reports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made two significant changes to its starting defensive line.
Starting Sunday, left defensive end Greg Spires will move inside to play under tackle and Dewayne White will move outside to start at left end.
These two moves come less than a week after Tampa Bay’s defense allowed San Diego to rush for 130 yards on 30 attempts (4.3 avg.).
SWEEPING NEW ORLEANS:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are attempting to defeat the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium for the first time under head coach Jon Gruden.
In fact, in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, the 5-8 Bucs must sweep the 5-8 Saints, which is something they’ve never done since both teams were realigned into the NFC South Division back in 2002.
“It is important,” Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said of sweeping the Saints. “We haven’t done that in awhile. They swept us a couple of years back when we won the Super Bowl and obviously, we want to show that we have figured out a way to beat this team. It gives us a chance to go 5-2 at home. Something we didn’t do last year was play well here at home, so we definitely want to keep that going also.”
Even if they don’t make the playoffs, the Bucs know they still have a chance to top their regular season win total of seven from last season by winning their final three regular season games.
“Wins,” Bucs safety Dwight Smith said when asked what motivates the team at this point. “Trying to get wins. We still have a chance to end the season at .500 without a losing record. That should be a motivation tool in itself to the guys. You don’t really want to be on the team that has had back-to-back losing years, so hopefully we can put that in our memory bank and try to push towards getting to 8-8.”
That’s a feat that Bucs head coach Jon Gruden wants to accomplish this season in order to avoid a second straight losing season.
“I never enjoy not being on the winning side of the ledger,” Gruden said. “I’m in evil spirits when it comes to losing. Fortunately, we’ve got three games left. We’ve got an opportunity to win some more games and we will work our hearts out to do that.”
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