TAMPA – The idea of having to play 16 games without a break isn’t sitting well with the Buccaneers, but the idea of having another week to prepare for their season debut is sitting very well with some of their players.
Take veteran right tackle Demar Dotson, for example. Dotson is still recovering from a groin strain he suffered late in the preseason so he actually welcomed the postponement of Sunday’s season opener against the Dolphins.
“Yeah, I was kind of hoping that we’d push (the game) to the bye week because it would give me an extra week to get my groin feeling a whole lot better,’’ Dotson said.
“I would have been ready to go. I would have played no matter what, but I probably would have been at like 80-percent. But with an extra week to get ready now, it should be phenomenal.’’
The Bucs have an extra week to get ready because the NFL postponed their opener against the Dolphins, scheduled for 1 p.m. in Miami, to avoid conflicts with Hurricane Irma.
The Bucs and Dolphins are now scheduled to play their game at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 19, the day both teams originally shared a bye week, which means both teams must now play 16 games in a row.
No one is looking forward to that, but players such as Dotson and defensive end Jacquies Smith believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for them.
“It’s a big deal for me to have this extra week to get ready,’’ said Smith, who only returned to practice on Monday after missing all of training camp and the preseason with a knee injury.
“Obviously, I get another week, a couple extra days to get on the practice field, and get some more time to recover and go back and look at what I’ve been doing in practice and that’s a positive for me.’’
It could be a positive for the Bucs as well. Smith, who has 13.5 sacks in 28 career games, figures to be an integral part of their pass rush and the extra week could result in him getting more playing time in the opener.
One of the options the NFL was believed to be considering was playing the Bucs-Dolphins game at a neutral site. Interestingly, that idea was even less popular with some players than postponing the game.
“I don’t think the neutral site would have worked,’’ said safety T.J. Ward, who just came to the Bucs over the weekend after he was cut by the Broncos on Saturday.
“I mean, for both teams to go to another city and fill up a stadium – not likely. I’d rather do without the bye. Playing at a neutral site would have been like a scrimmage against nobody. It just didn’t make sense to me.’’