According to Greg Orman of Fox Sports, the Bucs signed cornerback Don Gardner to their practice squad after struggling badly on defense last game, especially in the secondary. Orman also reported that Tampa Bay placed rookie offensive tackle Cyrus Zance on injured reserve, making room for Gardner.
The Bucs are returning cornerback Don Gardner to the practice squad. As a rookie out of South Dakota State, he spent last year at Tampa Bay’s PS, but was waived due to injury during the preseason and is now healthy and back with the Bucs.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 8, 2023
Gardner was on the Bucs’ practice squad last season and appeared in one game. He played in this year’s training camp, but was released by the team due to injury.
The Bucs had several injuries in their secondary during their 39-37 loss to the Texans in Week 9. Cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Josh Hayes both left the game with concussions. This left the Bucs with only Carlton Davis III, Zion McCollum, and fellow safety Dee Delaney.
It remains to be seen whether either player will be ready for Sunday’s game against the Titans, but Gardner could be called up to the roster over the weekend. McCollum, who has already started at points for Davis and Dean this season, will start, but other players are needed to back him up.Tampa Bay also has corners Keenan Isaac and Derek Pitts on its practice squad and could be options as well.
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The Bucs returned to practice on Wednesday, giving them a chance to review the availability of Dean and Hayes. Dean initially warmed up with the team, but then ran individually on a separate field with a trainer. Hayes watched practice but did not participate in any role.
Jamel Dean and Josh Hayes are still in concussion protocol. Dean is #backs After that, I ran alone. Hayes didn’t practice at all.
Logan Hall and Matt Feiler returned to practice. pic.twitter.com/L2dftIKseL
— Matt Matera (@matty4_matera) November 8, 2023
Regardless of whether they are available or the practice squad players are called up for the next game, the Bucs’ secondary will need to fix a number of deficiencies. Week after week, there are reports that Todd Bowles has addressed communication issues. But this week, Bowles finally acknowledged that some players need to perform better.
“The truth is, it’s not all about communication. Some people just fail.” Mr Bowles said: Monday. “It’s that simple. We say communication and we respect that, but certain people had to play better. It’s really that simple and most of the time , it’s not a communication problem. It wasn’t yesterday.
“We just have to play better. You could say all we want is communication, but there are some things that don’t need communication, but there are things that need to play better. They just have to do what they’ve done a million times.”