Tampa Bay BuccaneersKeep informed with our daily updates: News, notes and more throughout the month of SeptemberScott Smith Mike Evans
Height: 6-5Weight: 231 lbsCollege: Texas A&M
September 21 Updates
Mike Evans, who was suspended by the NFL for one game on Monday, submitted his appeal to Appeals Officer James Thrash on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the league announced that Thrash had upheld the suspension, meaning Evans will miss this Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.
Evans was suspended for his part in an onfield altercation on Sunday in the Superdome involving multiple Buccaneers and Saints players. Evans and New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore were both ejected from the game, but only Evans was suspended. A statement from Evans' agent, Deryk Gilmore, suggests that the receiver's appeal was based on "more egregious violations" by players in previous instances had not drawn suspensions, and that Evans' ejection from the game was punishment enough.
The Buccaneers could also be without wide receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, both of whom missed the New Orleans game due to injuries, in their showdown with the Packers.
Height: 6-5Weight: 324 lbsCollege: Regina
September 19 Updates
The Buccaneers will be without their leading receiver, Mike Evans, in Green Bay thanks to a one-game suspension handed down by the NFL. They might also be missing a couple of key players in the trenches.
Starting defensive lineman Akiem Hicks left Sunday's win in New Orleans shortly before halftime with a foot injury and did not return. At roughly the same time, Josh Wells, who was starting at left tackle for an injured Donovan Smith, sustained a calf injury and was also sidelined for the rest of the game. On Monday, Head Coach Todd Bowles commented on the severity of both players' injuries and their chances of playing on Sunday.
"They're banged-up pretty good," said Bowles. "They're availability right now is unknown but both guys got hurt pretty good."
Defensive linemen Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Will Gholston and Logan Hall all saw an uptick in snaps from Week One after Hicks left the game. Meanwhile, Brandon Walton came in for Wells in the second half and saw the first regular-season offensive snaps of his career. Bowles was impressed by Walton's debut.
"He really battled," said the coach. "For his first time out as a starter, coming into the ballgame, playing in an NFL game, we thought he fought hard, we thought he held his own and we thought he did some good things in there. We're very happy to see what he did when he came in."
CLICK HERE to hear more of Coach Bowles' thoughts on Monday following Sunday's win in New Orleans.
Height: 6-6Weight: 338 lbsCollege: Penn State
September 16 Updates
The Buccaneers started their week of practice for Sunday's game against the Saints with nine members of their offense on the injury report, though one of those was simply quarterback Tom Brady getting a 'vet day' of rest. Still, with five wide receivers, lead back Leonard Fournette and both starting tackles on the list, it was fair to wonder how that offensive lineup would shape up in New Orleans.
The Bucs were scheduled to put out a final injury report later on Friday afternoon but after the morning practice Head Coach Todd Bowles was asked specifically about the likelihood of left tackle Donovan Smith and starting wideout Chris Godwin playing on Sunday. It appears the odds are against both being available against the Saints. Smith suffered a hyperextended elbow in the season opener at Dallas and Godwin, in his first game back from a torn ACL sustained last December, had to leave the Cowboys game with a hamstring strain.
"Donovan will be close," said Bowles, who had pegged the situation as a pain tolerance issue earlier in the week. "It will be hard for him to make it but we'll see. The rest of the guys we'll see on Sunday."
As for Godwin: "He's in play by a small margin but we'll see on Sunday. If I had to guess I'd say he wouldn't."
The Buccaneers may decide by the afternoon to list Smith and/or Godwin as "out" or "doubtful" for Sunday's game, but even before it becomes official it seems they are trending in that direction.
September 15 Updates
As it does at the beginning of every season, the NFL surveyed the 53-man rosters for the 32 teams after they were set for Week One and released a collection of charts about their makeup. The Baltimore Ravens, for instance, have the league's biggest team, in terms of weight, with an average of 250.33 pounds per player. The tallest team in the league is the Indianapolis Colts, with an average player height of 6.24 feet.
This year, the Buccaneers hold the distinction of being the NFL's most experienced team. Tampa Bay's 53 active players have played an average of 5.41 seasons in the NFL, the highest average for any team. The next closest team in terms of experience is the New Orleans Saints, with an average of 5.07 years in the league. Unsurprisingly, the Buccaneers also have the oldest team, with an average player age of 27.15 years, and the roster with the most 30-somethings. The Buccaneers have 13 players age 30 or more, one more than the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.
Height: 6-6Weight: 306 lbsCollege: James Madison
September 14 Updates
When Donovan Smith left Sunday night's season-opening win in Dallas with an elbow injury midway through the second quarter it was eighth-year veteran Josh Wells who stepped in to finish the game at left tackle. Wells was part of a front line that produced strong results in the opener: 152 rushing yards plus only two sacks and four hits on quarterback Tom Brady.
On Monday, Head Coach Todd Bowles clarified that Smith suffered a hyperextended elbow and that his availability in Week Two will likely be a pain-tolerance issue. If Smith can't go - it would be just the second game he's missed in his eight-year career - Wells will be in line for more action.
"If Donovan can't go, obviously Josh is next man up," said Bowles on Wednesday. "We thought he stepped in and did a good job. There are some things we can get better at there but overall I thought he did a good job."
Wells is in his fourth season as the Buccaneers' primary swing tackle, which means he is the one active reserve tackle on game days ready to fill in on either side. He has started eight games over the past three seasons (sometimes as sixth offensive lineman) and has seen action on both sides of the line.
"It was good," said Wells of his opportunity to get in the game in Week One. "It was fun to get in there and compete with the guys. Obviously I never want anybody to get hurt, but my job is to be able to fit in when they need me and to help the team win when I'm called upon."
The Buccaneers made the first change of the season to their practice squad on Wednesday, signing third-year tight end David Wells. To make room on that 16-man crew, the Buccaneers released rookie tight end JJ Howland.
Wells spent most of the 2022 offseason with the Arizona Cardinals but was released at the end of July and subsequently signed by Tennessee midway through August. The Titans waived him during the final round of roster cuts. Wells originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys after playing his college ball at San Diego State. He has spent time with the Chiefs, Patriots, Titans and Falcons, primarily on practice squads, and he saw action in three games for the Cardinals last season.
Howland joined the Buccaneers in May as an undrafted free agent out of Yale.
Height: 6-6Weight: 338 lbsCollege: Penn State
September 12 Updates
The Buccaneers got their 2022 season off to an encouraging start on Sunday night in Dallas with a dominant 19-3 win over the Cowboys. However, they also lost two key players on offense to injuries along the way. The first was stalwart left tackle Donovan Smith, who left midway through the second quarter with an elbow injury.
On Monday, Head Coach Todd Bowles revealed the nature of Smith's injury.
"He's got a hyperextended elbow," said Bowles. "It's a pain tolerance thing, so he's pretty sore right now. We'll monitor him during the week."
Smith has played through painful injuries before and has proved to be an iron man during his eight years in Tampa. The 34th-overall pick in the 2015 draft. Smith has played in and started 118 of a possible 119 games and has never been on the field for fewer than 96% of the team's offensive snaps over the past seven seasons. The Buccaneers will enter the week hoping that Smith will be availably by game time on Sunday.
"We'll see how he feels, yeah," said Bowles of that possibility.
CLICK HERE for highlights from Sunday's victory in Dallas.
Height: 6-1Weight: 208 lbsCollege: Penn State
Two drives after Donovan Smith left Sunday's game with his elbow injury the Buccaneers also lost the services of wide receiver Chris Godwin. After making a five-yard catch to start what would prove to be a field goal drive to tend the half, Godwin left the game due to a hamstring injury. The Bucs feared it might be a significant injury at the time but Head Coach Todd Bowles sounded a more optimistic note on Monday afternoon.
"I don't think it's as serious as we thought it was, but it all depends on how his treatment goes and how he heels," said Bowles. "Hopefully we'll have him back sooner than later."
Godwin caught three passes for 35 yards, including 24 yards on a tunnel screen on the Bucs' first offensive play of the game. He was playing in a game for the first time since last December, when he sustained a torn ACL and torn MCL, and his return came less than nine months after that mishap. Godwin did not have any trouble with that knee on Sunday and his new injury is unrelated.
Height: 6-1Weight: 208 lbsCollege: Penn State
September 9 Updates
On Thursday, wide receiver Chris Godwin discussed his return from a December knee injury in positive terms but ultimately didn't predict whether he would suit up for the season opener in Dallas on Sunday night. Godwin said he believed that would be a "game time decision," and on Friday Head Coach Todd Bowles reiterated that message.
"No, it will come right up to game time right now," said Bowles.
Sunday's game will land less than nine months from when Godwin tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee on December 19 against the New Orleans Saints. Even though he subsequently missed the final three games of the regular season he still finished as Tampa Bay's leading receiver with 98 catches for 1,103 yards. He finished third in the NFL with 7.0 receptions per game.
CLICK HERE for Chris Godwin's thoughts on when he would return to action.
Height: 6-5Weight: 312 lbsCollege: Central Michigan
The Buccaneers will have three new starters on their offensive line between incumbent tackles Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs, but only one of them will be seeing his first regular-season NFL action on Sunday night in Dallas.
Right guard Shaq Mason started 98 games in New England before coming to Tampa in an offseason trade. Second-year center Robert Hainsey saw just a handful of offensive snaps in his 2021 rookie season but did have the whole year to work on his new position. The youngest player in that trio is Luke Goedeke, a 2022 second-round pick who is stepping into the void created by Ali Marpet's retirement in February.
Head Coach Todd Bowles is not wary about playing rookies and expects Goedeke to bring a lot of good things to the Buccaneers' offense. Bowles pointed to some other rookies who have had prominent roles over the last three years, including safety Antoine Winfield Jr., cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean and inside linebacker Devin White.
"He's physical," said Bowles of Goedeke, who played tackle at Central Michigan. "He works hard every day. I don't think any rookie is going to polished their first time starting. There's going to be things he learns along the way. But Winfield has started [as a rookie], Bunting and Dean have played quite a bit, Devin started Day One. We've played rookies here before. We understand the things he has to learn in the pass game but he does a lot of good things for us and we don't think he has that much to learn. He doesn't have that far to go.
"It's football. You play football. Everybody's going to have new starters every year. Like I said, we play young guys every year. Once you start, the first day you start you're a rookie. The second day you start, you're not a rookie anymore. He's played quite a few days."
Height: 6-0Weight: 214 lbsCollege: Arizona State
September 7 Updates
There were a couple changes to the Buccaneers depth chart after the 53-man roster was set and one of those was the elevation of rookie running back Rachaad White to the first spot at kickoff return. On Wednesday, Head Coach Todd Bowles explained why that job went to the third-rounder out of Arizona State.
"He's secure with the football, number one," said Bowles. "He's big enough to absorb hits and he's athletic enough to go out and make some yards and see the holes. He has very good feet and he's a quick guy that can get to the whole real fast, so we like where he is."
White had the most kickoff returns of all the candidates during the preseason, running out four kicks for 98 yards and a 24.5-yard average. While he seems to have earned a fairly significant role on offense, too, moving up to second behind Leonard Fournette on the running back depth chart, he is more than happy to add work on special teams, and not just as a return man.
"I know that everywhere coaches pay attention to everything, so yeah, the more you can do the more it helps your chances to even get more reps at running back," he said. "If I'm popping off the screen at kick return or kickoff or personal protector on punt or whatever I'm doing on punt return, I just know that makes coaches want to give me more opportunities, more reps at running back. You're just all about trying to win so you're just all about trying to do your job."
CLICK HERE to see the Buccaneers' updated depth chart.
Height: 6-3Weight: 220 lbsCollege: Alabama
Seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones wore jersey number 11 for 10 years in Atlanta and then donned number 2 during his one season with Tennessee, so it was admittedly jarring to see him in the 85 jersey during the Buccaneers' training camp. As of Wednesday morning, however, Jones was no longer sporting number 85.
With the roster trimmed down to 53 players, Jones had an opportunity to switch jerseys and he has chosen to wear number 6. That means the Buccaneers have no wideouts in the 80-89 range on the active roster. Jones would become the first receiver ever to wear that number in a regular season game for Tampa Bay. Running back Le'Veon Bell most recently put on number 6 during a brief stint with the Bucs last season.
CLICK HERE to review the Buccaneers current 53-man roster.
Height: 6-1Weight: 208 lbsCollege: Penn State
September 5 Updates
The Buccaneers will begin the preseason with four players on injured reserve - center Ryan Jensen, guard Aaron Stinnie, outside linebacker Cam Gill and running back Kenjon Barner - but otherwise made it out of the preseason with an enviable doctor's report. Head Coach Todd Bowles anticipates having all 53 of the players on the active roster available to play against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend as the regular season begins.
"Everybody's trending towards playing Sunday night," said Bowles on Monday after the Bucs held a 'bonus practice' to start their week of preparations for the Cowboys. "We feel pretty good right now. We're just getting wet as far as the game plan's concerned but everybody's in, everybody's running around. So we can prepare for tomorrow and get ready for that."
Presumably that includes wide receiver Chris Godwin who is nearing the end of his recovery process from the knee injury he suffered last December. Notably, Godwin did not wear the knee brace that he has been using since returning to practice in training camp. The Bucs were not in full pads for their bonus practice.
"Well, we're in spiders. It's a plus to always see him without a brace, running around, which means his confidence has grown," said Bowles.
CLICK HERE to listen to more of Coach Bowles thoughts after Monday's practice.
The Buccaneers got their 2022 practice squad up to full capacity on Monday by signing fifth-year linebacker Kenny Young. The team had started that unit last Wednesday by re-signing 14 of the players it waived or released in the cutdown to 53, including quarterback Ryan Griffin and rookie receivers Deven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger. The 15th spot went to cornerback Anthony Chesley, who joined the team on Thursday after being released by the Colts.
Young has significant NFL experience, having played in 59 games with 25 starts, including 13 starts split between the Rams and Broncos last season.
"He's a good football player," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "He's played some games in this league, quite a few. He's started quite a few. We want to get acclimated. He can run. He's a run-and-hit guy and he has some tools that can help us in our scheme. So we'll try to get him acclimated and get him up to speed and see what he can do for us."
CLICK HERE for more on the addition of Kenny Young to the practice squad.
September 2 Updates
On Friday, the Buccaneers reached an injury settlement with veteran cornerback Rashard Robinson and released him from the roster. Robinson had been placed on injured reserve on Tuesday as part of the team's long list of moves to trim the roster to 53 players. Because Robinson was placed on injured reserve before making it through to the 53-man roster, he is not eligible to play for the Buccaneers in 2022 but he can sign with another team.
Robinson played in seven games for the Buccaneers in 2021, recording two tackles on defense as well as two stops on special teams. He had previously seen action with the 49ers, Jets and Cowboys.
CLICK HERE to review all of the Buccaneers' roster moves of the week.
Height: 6-0Weight: 185 lbsCollege: LSU
September 1 Updates
Like offensive linemen Robert Hainsey and Nick Leverett, wideout Russell Gage is trending towards being available when the Buccaneers open their regular season in Dallas on September 11. After missing several weeks due to a hamstring injury, Gage has returned to the practice field this week and was in good spirits after Thursday's workout.
"I'm feeling well," he said. "Practice today went well, so yeah, I feel good."
Added Head Coach Todd Bowles: "He's getting better and better every day. We expect him to be on track to play and trending in the right direction."
As the season draws near, the Buccaneers are close to having their envisioned big four of Gage, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones on the field together. Evans and Jones played in the preseason finale last Saturday and Godwin is nearing the end of his recovery from last December's knee injury. Godwin has not yet been given clearance by the medical staff to return to full game action, but he has become increasingly involved in practice.
When those four are on the field together, Gage believes it will bring a lot of stress to opposing defenses.
"Pick your poison is kind of how we see it," he said. "We know we're probably going to see a lot of zone and things like that. It's probably one of the best groups maybe ever, so we're excited to get out there and play as a group."
CLICK HERE to hear more from Coach Bowles on the injury situation and the upcoming season opener.
The Buccaneers are nearly done forming the first iteration of their 2022 practice squad. They filled 14 of the 16 spots on Wednesday by re-signing a group of players they had waived or released the day before on the cutdown to 53. On Thursday, they went outside the organization to add third-year cornerback Anthony Chesley, who had been waived by the Colts the day before.
Originally an undrafted free agent out of Coastal Carolina, Chesley has played in 12 regular-season NFL games, three with the Texans as a rookie and nine last year in Indianapolis.
"He's got good foot quickness, he's got good transition," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "[He's] a guy we were looking at early on and we'd like to see him. We thought he'd upgrade us on the practice squad - we'll see if he can get better. He can play [special] teams, he's a gunner. He can play on the kickoffs and kickoff returns as well."
The Buccaneers have one more spot on their 16-man practice squad to fill and will likely do so soon.
CLICK HERE for more on Thursday's roster moves.