“Next man up” is becoming the mantra of this team. Following the loss of Gerald McCoy and Quincy Black last week, “Next men up” might be more appropriate.
As the Buccaneers continue to fight the war of attrition that has plagued them the past few weeks, the Bucs will look to a combination of several new faces to step in and contribute yet again this Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium. According to Raheem Morris, the Bucs will go with a committee approach to filling the 3-technique spot, depending on the personnel package for the given down and distance.
“We’ll have different bodies in there,” Morris said. “It’ll be Roy Miller, or it’ll be [Frank] Okam. It all depends on what they come out in their personnel group. So, you could see either Roy Miller there at 3-techique, or you could see Okam there at 3-techique. It depends on what they come out in. I’m not saying you won’t see Mike Bennett. I don’t know if they’re going to come out in a passing situation on the first snap. You could certainly see him go in there on passing downs.”
Bennett’s speed should land him in there on in passing situations, and given the Lions tendency to air out the ball, Bennett could be see a significant number of reps at the position on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Okam will get his first chance to make an impact for the Bucs. Okam was drafted in the fifth-round (151st overall pick) by the Houston Texans in the 2008 Draft. He went on to play in 13 games for the Texans before being released on October 25, 2010. Okam signed with Seattle on November 2, but was released before playing in any games. He was signed to the Bucs’ practice squad and promoted to the active roster on November 24 when Ryan Sims was released. Okam certainly brings a big body to the middle at 6-5, 350 pounds. He looks like a stereotypical 2-gap player, but, even as big as he is, he has a little bit of the quickness that is needed for the 3-technique position. He should be in the game on short yardage situations at a minimum.
Regarding the strongside linebacker position, I asked Raheem who will start on Sunday. As he did with the 3-tech position, he remained mum on who would actually get the start between Dekoda Watson and Adam Hayward.
“You’ve got two guys in that spot. You want them all to be detailed,” Morris said. “I want those guys to come out in the walk through more detailed, so that when I make that decision on whoever’s starting, it really shouldn’t matter. They both should be ready.”
Hayward has been solid in run support against the run in his limited playing time this season and should figure in the lineup in obvious running downs and short yardage situations. Watson should see more time on passing downs.
Kickoff is set for 1 pm on Sunday.