It’s perhaps one of the only times in NFL history that a player being announced as out is a good sign, as it is in Tampa Bay’s current situation. The defending Super Bowl defense is hobbled all over, especially its secondary. Cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are on injured reserve, while safety Antoine Winfield has been in concussion protocol for the past two weeks. That forced general manager Jason Licht to bring in reinforcements, and Sherman and eight-year vet Pierre Desir joined mainstays Jamel Dean and Ross Cockrell to make up Tampa Bay’s cornerback group for Thursday night’s 28-22 win over the Eagles.
But then Sherman pulled up in the first quarter grabbing his hamstring, and things looked bleak. They looked even worse when Sherman walked gingerly to the locker room and was pronounced out right away. But he avoided major injury, which is the break the Buccaneers needed.
Head coach Bruce Arians said after the game that they will play with who they have and ruled out adding others to the secondary. The secondary has managed to hold up well with the injuries, faring well against both Jacoby Brissett of Miami and Jalen Hurts of Philadelphia in the last two games. Thursday’s game was also played without linebacker Lavonte David, who was placed on injured reserve with a low-ankle sprain.
Sherman will be missed, but his absence comes during an easier stretch of schedule for the Buccaneers. Next up is the Bears (2-4), who have failed to move the ball through the air under rookie quarterback Justin Fields. Then it’s a Halloween showdown with New Orleans (3-2), who have been more conservative on offense than originally thought with Jameis Winston under center. The Saints’ unreliable receivers, including Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris, should help the Buccaneers’ makeshift secondary as well.