Bucs coach Dirk Koetter told reporters on Monday that Alterraun Verner would be staying in California for the majority of this week.

Verner, a native of Orange County, lost his father unexpectedly last Friday and planned to spend time with his family. 

“Alterraun [Verner] has been through a lot here since Thanksgiving. Alterraun actually stayed out in California, will not be with us Wednesday and Thursday,” Koetter said, adding that Verner will attend services for his late father. “We knew that was [the plan] coming [to San Diego] and we weren’t sure – I think that was really an emotional game last week where Alterraun came in.”

After an inspirational performance last Sunday against the Seahawks, which included a momentum-shifting interception before halftime, Verner struggled early on in San Diego. Koetter admitted as much after watching the tape. That likely led to Javien Elliott, who was promoted to the active roster two weeks ago after news broke of Jude Adjei-Barimah’s four-game suspension, to see significant time after playing just seven snaps on special teams in his first outing. The undrafted rookie from Florida State played 42 percent of defensive plays.

While Elliott didn’t put his name in the stat column, Koetter was pleased with his effort for his first time out on defense. The majority of the coaches’ confidence in Elliott’s ability, though, comes from his knack for making plays on the ball in practice. He leads the team in interceptions at One Buc, Koetter said.

“He’s a kid who practices hard – we encourage those guys (the defense) not to hit our guys (the offense), not to take shots on our guys, but if you can get the ball in practice, get it. Nobody picks off Jameis Winston more than Javien Elliott,” Koetter said. “And he makes plays, so we knew when he had a chance to come up, that we weren’t going to be afraid to put him in the game.”

Verner’s status for next Sunday against the Saints is still unclear while Adjei-Barimah, the original starter at nickel, is sidelined for two more games. With the former set to miss at least two days of practice, it appears Elliot will at least prepare as if he’s going to start at nickel corner when the Saints visit Raymond James Stadium.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

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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5 years ago

Sounds logical to me. Go Bucs!