From Jordy Nelson to Kelvin Benjamin, major injuries are occuring all over the NFL. So far, the Bucs have not endured any of those heart-breaking injuries. However, if a major injury were to come the Bucs way, who are the most replaceable starters on the Bucs roster where it wouldn't sting as much?
We discuss in this week's Bucs Blitz Roundtable:
Justin Pawlowski (@CommishOnline)
Logan Mankins: Yes, I know the Bucs offensive line is its biggest question mark, and I know that Mankins is the most experienced and proven lineman they have, but he's a shell of the All Pro he used to be. Sure, it's nbice to have his experience and leadership in there, but it's not a necessity. If Mankins were to go down, I do believe Kadeem Edwards would be able to fill in and the Bucs offense would be just as they were. Edwards is nowhere near a finished product, and his two penalties on Monday were frustrating, but he has improved. Just don't replace Mankins with Garrett Gilkey...PLEASE!
Clinton McDonald: Suddenly, the Bucs are strong at defensive tackle. McDonald might have brought leadership to the Bucs defense in 2014, but the Bucs just signed the guy he was a backup to in Seattle. Um, Seattle's defense has been a billion times better than the Bucs defense over the last few seasons. If McDonald were to go down, I wouldn't even blink. Tony McDaniel might actually be the better player at this point anyways.
Gil Arcia (@GilArciaTBC)
Bobby Rainey: Running back Bobby Rainey has been serviceable. But that's it. When Doug Martin has gone down, he has been the primary back when it should be the workhorse like Mike James. Rainey's production is a product of a "breakout" run. If you take away two of Rainey's longest runs of 80 and 43 yards in 2013, he averaged under three yards per carry. Take away his two longest last season and he is just over three yards per carry. This year presents a different feel under a new system and Martin is expected to carry the load in a contract year. Charles Sims will be looked upon in the screen game and third down situations. But if Martin goes down again, and Rainey is still on the roster, we could see a struggling running game for yet another season.
Bruce Carter: Newcomer Bruce Carter was expected to be the defense's quarterback. But after being outplayed by rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander in the first preseason game and being outperformed by him in practice, he now finds himself fighting to be the starter at outside linebacker against Danny Lansanah. Unfortunately for Carter, Lansanah outplayed him on Monday night. Carter's chances are limited and are dwindling each week. There is a possibility that one of Tampa Bay's biggest free agent acquisitions of 2015 will be on the bench instead of on the field.
Kyle Marks (@Kyle_on_Scout)
Louis Murphy: Murphy is a veteran wide receiver who is currently third in line being Evans and Jackson at wide-out. What makes Murphy replaceable is there’s nothing extraordinary about him. Murphy is a good 4-5-6 receiver but with the addition of Kenny Bell and the growth in multi-tool Russell Shepard, Murphy becomes more of a road block to the youth than a commodity to the team. Shepard and Bell both offer a more dynamic skill-set to the position while other youngsters such as Rannell Hall and Adam Humphries are coming full steam for spots on this roster. The recent additions of young talent simply make Louis Murphy a replaceable piece of the offense.
Major Wright: Wright may be the most replaceable starter on this entire team. Like Murphy, Wright is a veteran defender who lacks any elite skill-sets outside of knowledge of the defense. D.J. Swearinger has come in and shown the ability to make plays both in practice and out on the game field this pre-season. Swearinger’s presence is seen and felt in games in a way that Major Wright can’t quite replicate. Once Swearinger gets down the language and responsibilities of the position, I’m not sure Major Wright will hold a viable reason to be called the starter at safety, making him very replaceable.