As expected, the Bucs are getting linebacker Lavonte David and safety T.J. Ward back from injuries as they play a key game against the Cardinals today.
David, who had missed two games with an ankle injury, and Ward, who missed the Patriots game with a hip injury, are both active against Arizona. The Bucs are still without four players sidelined with injuries: LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring), S Keith Tandy (hip), DE Ryan Russell (shoulder) and DB Josh Robinson (concussion). The other inactives are OT Leonard Wester and OC Joe Hawley, who have been inactive in all five games, and TE Antony Auclair, who has been inactive in four of five.
The Bucs will have rookie Justin Evans starting at safety in Tandy’s place, though the team didn’t announce whether Ward or Chris Conte would start at the other safety spot. The Bucs will count on rookie LB Kendell Beckwith to again step in for Alexander at middle linebacker for a fourth straight game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will get to Pro Bowl defenders back against the Arizona Cardinals tomorrow: safety T.J. Ward and linebacker Lavonte David will suit up after missing the past two games with an injury.
That’s what head coach Dirk Koetter said on Sirius XM NFL today, per the Tampa Bay Times. He also said that Robert Ayers and Ali Marpet will play (both were listed as questionable), while Kwon Alexander and Keith Tandy won’t. The latter two are close to returning to play, but this week is still too soon.
Having David and Ward back should provide a big boost to the team’s passing defense in particular. The Bucs have done a pretty good job handling David’s absence in the run game, but his speed and impact as an underneath defender is hard to replicate. The same is true for Ward, who has a way of making impact plays when he’s on the field. The Bucs had Justin Evans make an impressive debut as a starting last week, so it’ll be interesting to see if they go with Evans and Ward at the safety position.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David is expected to be active Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, barring any setbacks, a source told ESPN.
In Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings, David was carted off the field with a medial ankle sprain, forcing him to miss games against the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
David was officially listed as questionable on the Buccaneers’ injury report.
A former Pro Bowler and All-Pro, David had 16 combined tackles in the first two games of the season and has been one of the Bucs’ top defensive players since 2012.