First the bad news. Just as we suspected after he was seen walking out of Raymond James Stadium wearing a protective boot on Sunday, Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy does indeed have a foot injury. He acknowledged as much during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “The Blitz’’ on Tuesday.
Now the good news: as it stands right now, the foot injury McCoy apparently suffered during the Bucs win over the Seahawks won’t keep him from playing against the Chargers in San Diego on Sunday. McCoy said that as well during his interview with NFL Radio, which later tweeted out that McCoy says he’s ready to “rock and roll’’ against Philip Rivers.
The same apparently cannot be said of safety Chris Conte.
Conte disappeared from the Bucs game against Seattle late in the fourth quarter with an unspecified injury and his chances of returning in time for the San Diego game appear quite dicey, because the Bucs agreed to terms on a deal with former Lovie Smith protégé Major Wright, the team announced late Tuesday.
The loss of Conte could prove problematic. Conte has always been one of the fans’ biggest targets for criticism but he had a picks in each of the two games prior to facing the Seahawks and tied for the team-lead in tackles against Seattle with seven.
The signing of Wright makes sense because at this late juncture of the season it’s hard to find a player with a good working knowledge of a team’s scheme and Wright was with the Bucs during training camp. Don’t look for him to be in the starting lineup against the Chargers, though.
If Conte can’t play the Bucs will almost certainly turn the starting duties over to Keith Tandy, who has performed rather well at times as their third safety, recording seven tackles and two pass defenses on the year. He’s also made regular contributions on special teams.
The addition of Wright came at a cost, though, and those feeling the pinch included running back Mike James and wide receiver Louis Murphy, both of whom were waived, Murphy from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List.
Those moves were part of another busy Tuesday for the Bucs, who also signed defensive tackle Rodney Coe to the practice squad. That move is an indication McCoy may not see a lot of work in practice this week. To make room for Coe the Bucs released Kourtnei Brown from the practice squad.