By Max Luckan
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but once again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a decent chance to win their first game of the season this week against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have struggled on both sides of the ball and haven’t found their rhythm at all this season. Even though it’s only Week 7, the season already appears to be in jeopardy for the Falcons, who have very high expectations and Super Bowl aspirations this season. It’s not too late to turn it around for the Falcons or for the Bucs, theoretically, but with the New Orleans Saints playing at a very high level, it will be tough.
The Bucs lost two more players this week for the foreseeable future because of injuries. Left guard Carl Nicks underwent surgery on his foot this week to remove the problematic staph infection once and for all. While good for the future, the Bucs again will have to do some shuffling on the offensive line.
Head coach Greg Schiano said there’s no timetable for Nicks’ return at this point.
“Carl got an opinion outside of town and they decided they were going to do surgery last night,” Schiano said. “They did surgery, and he’s doing well. I don’t have a timetable for you and I don’t really know anything more than that, but that’s why Carl wasn’t here.”
Furthermore, running back/kick returner Jeff Demps, who was starting to make some decent contributions, underwent surgery for a groin injury that he suffered in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Wide receiver Eric Page will probably handle return duties in Demps’ absence.
With Nicks out, the Bucs reverted to their old method of putting center Jeremy Zuttah back at left guard, while Ted Larsen took most snaps at center. Meanwhile, right guard Davin Joseph missed practice on Wednesday, which resulted in tackle Gabe Carimi taking snaps at right guard. However, Joseph, who is dealing with a knee injury, was back at practice on Thursday.
“Davin, he’s going to be OK, I believe,” Schiano said of Joseph’s status. “He just got hit in the game. We thought he’d be able to practice today. He didn’t quite feel right, so we held him out. Hopefully he can practice now.”
Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and wide receiver Mike Williams were both limited on Wednesday and Thursday.
As we know, Williams has a nagging hamstring injury, but Bowers’ toe injury is rather new. Williams’ status for Sunday is uncertain, but Bowers should be able to play through the injury.
Cornerback Michael Adams was back at practice after missing an extended amount of time with a knee injury.
Wide receiver Julio Jones is out for the rest of the season. And now, wide receiver Roddy White has missed practice two straight days because of an old ankle injury and a new hamstring injury.
White never really misses a game, but there’s a good chance that he’s held out of this matchup against the Bucs this weekend.
Running back Steven Jackson also remains sidelined because of a hamstring injury and he’s not expected to play against the Bucs. Same goes for tackle Sam Baker, who has not been able to practice because of a knee injury. Baker’s status is unclear for Sunday’s game.
However, running back Jason Snelling participated fully on Thursday, but he will still need to be cleared by a neurologist as he tries to recover from a concussion.
Tight end Chase Coffman was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday due to a knee injury. Coffman likely won’t play, but the Falcons still have Tony Gonzalez.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.