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Bucs battling injuries, prepare for trip to Tennessee with new faces

WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg logo WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg 8/15/2022 Evan Closky

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles took no chances with his impact players in the preseason opener as he decided to sit 29 players against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday.

A few more guys are expected to suit up against the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 20, but do not expect all starters to play until the team faces the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 27.

A lot was learned about a slew of backups, including quarterbacks Kyle Trask and Blaine Gabbert who had nice performances inside Raymond James Stadium.

Former head coach Bruce Arians was ready to ride into this season with Gabbert as Tampa Bay's starting quarterback if Tom Brady would have stayed retired, so the coaching staff already knew where they stood with him. As for Trask, the former Gators signal caller, he was more of an unknown. Bowles loved his second half poise, helping his team get in a position to win the game despite a missed game-winning field goal.

“He was calm and he was in control of the offense, and that was great to see," Bowles said. "He got put in a lot of situations that we practiced and are hard to do in the game with your first time playing that amount of time. I thought he handled it well."

While the team nurses guys like Mike Evans, Russell Gage and Chris Godwin to health, other names were added to the injury list. Linebacker Cam Gill will be out a while with a lisfranc injury. Fellow special teams specialist Grant Stuard tweaked a hamstring as well. Running back Giovani Bernard is nursing an ankle issue while Kenjon Barner was put on the Injured Reserve, meaning he will not play for Tampa Bay at all this season.

The Buccaneers have since signed Patrick Laird.

“We had him here in [rookie] camp," Bowles said. "He’s in shape, he can run. With ‘Gio’ [Bernard] down and [Kenjon] Barner down, we needed an extra back and a set of legs to come in, and he knew the system. So, we brought him back in because he looked good when we worked him out.”

The team also brought in former pass rusher Carl Nassib, according to ESPN. 

Nassib played two, fairly disappointing, seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders from 2020-21. He will be hoping to gain some of his mojo back returning to Tampa Bay where he tallied 12.5 throughout the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Todd Bowles was his defensive coordinator that final year.

The Buccaneers play their second preseason game against Tennessee on 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. 

Tampa Bay's first regular-season game of the 2022 NFL season will be against the Dallas Cowboys at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 at AT&T Stadium. Their home opener is scheduled at 4:25 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25 against the Green Bay Packers.

For information on how to purchase game tickets, click here.

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