The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered training camp this year dead-set on improving the league’s worst pass defense, and did so by stocking up on a number of seemingly-healthy, capable cornerbacks, along with a still-on-the-mend Darrelle Revis.
But those numbers are starting to dwindle.
On Tuesday, it was announced that cornerback Danny Gorrer, who played in some of the Bucs’ defensive subpackages last year, underwent surgery to repair a groin injury. Gorrer, who picked off Joe Flacco in the preseason opener, had not participated in preseason games since aggravating the injury.
“It’s not season-ending or anything, but he’ll be a little bit,” said head coach Greg Schiano on Gorrer’s injury.
How long? According to Gorrer’s own Twitter account, 4-6 weeks.
On Monday, it was announced that another backup, Anthony Gaitor, was headed to IR after sustaining a torn ACL.
This comes after the team parted ways with Myron Lewis just before the preseason opener and traded Eric Wright to the 49ers, only to have the trade voided, which resulted in his release. The team also opted not to re-sign E.J. Biggers, who signed with the Washington Redskins this offseason.
“We have enough right now, but you lose anymore – it’s going to get dicey,” Schiano said. “And not dicey like last year-dicey; that was really dicey.”
The team hopes to have Darrelle Revis back in time for Week 1 against the New York Jets. They also have second-round pick Johnthan Banks and Leonard Johnson, who saw action in all 16 games last year, including six starts.
After that, there’s Michael Adams, who lined up primarily at the nickel corner position for the Arizona Cardinals. At this point, he may be the best fit to defend the slot, a position that has essentially become a starting role, given the team’s propensity to line up in nickel.
Other backups include some talented undrafted free agents in Rashaan Melvin, Mason Robinson, and Deveron Carr.
Melvin, out of Northern Illinois, may have been one of the biggest surprises in camp, earning his way into some practice time against first and second-teamers, while Robinson, out of Rutgers, picked off Tim Tebow in the second preseason game against the Patriots.
And Carr, a product of Arizona State, got a significant amount of guaranteed money in his undrafted free agent contract, meaning he’ll likely be sticking around.
While Gorrer and Gaitor’s injuries certainly won’t doom the team, it means the club cannot afford to lose any more cornerbacks.
It also could mean scouting the waiver wire in the hunt for additional talent.