The news was not good for Bucs fans Saturday at One Buc Place, as coach Dirk Koetter made it official that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David will both miss the Monday night rematch with the Atlanta Falcons due to injury.
“I’m very comfortable saying that. I wish they weren’t, but unfortunately they’ll both be out,” Koetter said, when asked about his two Pro Bowl defenders statuses.
McCoy had been a long shot to play after injuring his right biceps in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Detroit. He told the media Thursday that the injury would not require surgery, at least for now. David suffered a hamstring in the second half of the game, but played through it. He had not practiced this week.
Tampa Bay will once again, turn to rookie Kendell Beckwith to help at linebacker. Beckwith has been used to replace Kwon Alexander earlier this year and also David due to other injuries.
Koetter spoke more Saturday about Beckwith’s versatility and replacing David Monday, “we have had to use him – just because of the situation we are in with numbers – we have had to use him basically as a defensive end sometimes, but Kendell has done everything that’s ever been asked of him and he does it with a great attitude and goes out there and plays hard.”
Most fans/observers will now totally write off the Buccaneers chances against a Falcons team that beat them three weeks ago 34-20 in Atlanta. In that game, Julio Jones caught for a season high 253 yadrs and two touchdowns, as the Bucs had virtually no pass rush to bother QB Matt Ryan.
However, we have seen them rise to the occasion through injury adversity on Monday night in the recent past, including a year ago October in Carolina. That night, the Bucs played without three starting defensive linemen in McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Robert Ayers ,who were all nursing various injuries and also running back Doug Martin, who was out with an injured hamstring.
Yet, they persevered and won the game on a last second Roberto Aguayo field goal 17-14.
Granted, Carolina was without their quarterback Cam Newton due to a concussion, but still the Buccaneers found a way on the road to win while seriously challenged by injury.
Because of the banged up defense, there’s a good chance Monday night will become more of shootout between Ryan and Jameis Winston, who didn’t play in game one while nursing his sore shoulder.
And, it’s highly possible that the Buccaneers will take the mentality that they are likely going to give up some touchdowns and points. Yet, be inspired by their first Monday night home game in four years and out score the Falcons when it matters.
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