At 4-8 and with all but nothing left to play for than pride, the Bucs will look to some younger and less experienced players during the final four weeks of the season, starting this Sunday in Jacksonville. S Ahmad Black has been promoted to the active roster off the practice squad and, per Raheem Morris, will be active on Sunday. The move was available with DE Tim Crowder (concussion) being placed on injured reserve and was one that appeared out of necessity, with S Larry Asante is listed as doubtful this week with a hamstring injury he sustained in practice. The move will also prevent another team from signing him off the practice squad before the end of the season.
However, Morris said Black has earned his spot on the active roster.
“Ahmad was granted a helmet, not because anybody felt sorry for him or felt like it was time. He’s worked his way into this role. I actually stood in front of the team today and was able to tell those guys that I was proud of him, and for what reasons, and that he did it the right way.”
Black was lauded for his instincts coming out of college, but a high-ankle sprain in the preseason derailed his chances of making the active roster.
Rookie CB Anthony Gaitor, who was active against the Carolina Panthers last week in place of CB Myron Lewis, should be active again on Sunday with CB Aqib Talib out. RB Mossis Madu saw his first career action in the backfield last week against the Panthers, carrying the ball 8 times for 25 yards. Madu was a player that received positive feedback in the preseason for the burst and change of pace he provided.
“A lot of it is based on kind of earning your stripes a little bit,” Morris said. “(Mossis) Madu has been one of those guys. He’s been here working. Now he’s gonna get his opportunity to go out there and play, because of injury, and some just because he’s deserved to go out there and get an opportunity.”
Madu’s emergence comes at a time when reserve running back Kregg Lumpkin has failed to provide an impact in the running game. Lumpkin has averaged 3.7 yards per carry this season on 22 attempts and has rushed for more than 15 yards in a game once this season.