The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been operating at a frustrating percentage of their overall offensive capacity given the number of injuries to key players—especially along the offensive line and the pass catchers. Fortunately a few of those figures might be making their return on Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs visit the Bucs in primetime on Sunday Night Football in a game that anchors the Week 4 slate. It’s an important non-conference game for each team, because the loser will slip to .500 after starting the season at 2-0, which would mean the loss of the division lead for K.C.
The Bucs have been decimated by losses up front, some of which began in the offseason. Guard Alex Cappa signed in free agency with the Cincinnati Bengals while Ali Market retired from the game. Even those who came back have suffered injuries, including major losses of center Ryan Jensen, tackle Donovan Smith, tackle Josh Wells, and guard Aaron Stinnie.
The Buccaneers might be able to get two veteran wide receivers back in time to play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The losses at the skill positions haven’t been that much better considering that the team is missing Rob Gronkowski at tight end from last year along with O.J. Howard, and the ailing at wide receiver is legion. Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage are all quesitonable while Breshad Perriman is doubtful for Sunday.
The good news among all of this is that a few key players are questionable and that could mean a return to the field for the Bucs in Week 4. Smith, the team’s left tackle, would be a welcome sight in front of Tom Brady to help anchor a makeshift line. Both Jones and Godwin haven’t run a route since Week 1, but both practiced this week in limited fashion. Both are called game-time decisions.
While the Bucs still have plenty of injuries, some of these faces will be back sooner than later, even if they can’t make it work against the Chiefs. However, even if just one player can return, it will help add talent and depth to a team that’s been struggling on offense so far in 2022.