Week Three Injury Report: Rams V. Buccaneers
Week three of the NFL season is set to kickoff. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming into Sofi Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Rams in a battle of undefeated NFC heavyweights. It is only week three of the season but this matchup is already being discussed as a potential NFC Championship preview. Regardless, this game will be important for seeding purposes down the road and a true test of just how good this Rams team can be. Let’s look at the injury report for each team and discuss how that may affect the outcome of the game.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams usual suspects are obviously still out; Cam Akers is on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Tremayne Anchrum remain on the short-term injured reserve list. Hopefully, those two players can return soon as the action begins to ramp up this season. On the positive news front, Ben Skowronek is officially off the injury report altogether and Chris Garrett has been taken off of the COVID/Reserve list. Now let’s take a look at the newest additions to the Rams injury report.
Darrell Henderson came out of the game late against the Indianapolis Colts with a rib cartilage injury. Sean McVay has said he is a game-time decision. However, Henderson’s injury is a painful one and he isn’t likely to play this week. Thankfully, Sony Michel showed that he can step into the role of lead back when needed against the Colts. The Rams aren’t likely to run the ball much anyway as the Buccaneers have a very stout run defense.
Henderson will be missed though as he was off to a good start as an efficient runner and receiver in weeks one and two. Hopefully, Michel can step up and make the plays necessary this week. His most important role against Tampa Bay will likely be as a pass protector, specifically on third downs. The Rams will need him to help the offensive line against Tampa Bay’s relentless defense.
Darious Williams did not practice Friday due to a non-COVID-related illness. The Rams will need him against the Buccaneers talented receiving corps on Sunday. Williams is the Rams second-best defensive back and he has a tough assignment this week. The good news is that McVay said he should be fine and ready to go by Sunday. Let’s all let out a huge sigh of relief and watch Williams come away with a turnover.
Jacob Harris is listed as questionable with a hip injury. He was limited on Thursday and did not participate on Friday. He hasn’t been ruled out, however. Hopefully, he can suit up Sunday as he is important to special teams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have a group of players listed on the short-term injured reserve list. Most of these players were not likely to be big contributors in this game. Those players are Cam Gill, Sadarius Hutcherson, John Molchon, and Zach Triner. Now let’s take a look at the most recent additions to the Buccaneers injury report.
Sean Murphy-Bunting is also on the short-term injured reserve list. He is the Buccaneers number two cornerback and a big loss for Tampa Bay. Murphy-Bunting suffered a dislocated elbow in week one and has been out ever since. The Buccaneers pass defense has clearly struggled at times because of it. That is bad news for the Buccaneers with Cooper Kupp firing on all cylinders through two weeks of play. The Rams have one of the most talented receiving corps in the NFL and Tampa Bay is playing with a man down.
The Buccaneers receiving corps is an embarrassment of riches. However, they are without Antonio Brown most likely on Sunday. He did not travel with the team and has been ruled out. That means one less option for Tom Brady.
Tampa Bay has a stacked front seven but they will be without Jason Pierre-Paul this week. Pierre-Paul did not participate in practice all week with what is listed as a hand/shoulder injury. The Buccaneers will be without another defensive starter Sunday. However, rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was a first-round pick for a reason and will be dangerous as well. Still, one less pass rusher to rotate in and out helps the Rams offensive line to protect Matthew Stafford.
Kevin Minter is a reserve linebacker for Tampa Bay. Where he will be missed the most is special teams as he is the Buccaneers special teams captain. Missing that leadership in the third phase of the game is crucial. Minter is a solid player and is a tough loss. Currently, he is on the COVID/Reserve list. Hopefully, this means the Rams can house a return on Sunday.
Jaydon Mickens is the primary returner for the Buccaneers. Another blow to Tampa Bay’s special teams. Mickens did not participate at all this week with an abdominal injury. He was averaging 29 yards/return. The Rams have had issues on kick coverage to start the game in each of the last two weeks. The Buccaneers will look to rookie Jaelon Darden in Mickens absence. Darden is a talented player but he only averaged 17.6 yards/return at North Texas.