Outside of the injury report, wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith has been brought back to practice and designated to return from injured reserve. He won’t be listed on the injury report because he has not been activated to the 53-man roster yet. As he works his way back, keep an eye out for a potential Saturday report of his activation. But first, he’ll have to prove healthy enough to return to play. Here’s a look at the updated practice participation report:
From the Saints
- T Terron Armstead (Elbow), Limited Participation
- TE Jared Cook (Back), Limited Participation
- DE Trey Hendrickson (Neck), Limited Participation
- QB Taysom Hill (Knee), DNP
- RB Latavius Murray (Quadricep), DNP
- CB Patrick Robinson (Hamstring), DNP
Why it’s important: Stasis for the Saints as there are no changes to any designations from yesterday’s report. That means both good and concerning news for New Orleans. The good is that Trey Hendrickson remained limited. Last week at this time, he had been knocked down to DNP when his stinger (neck) gave him issues. On the other hand, Taysom Hill and Latavius Murray remain out. Hill gives the Saints a ton of versatility on the offensive side and is a solid contributor in the run game.
If Hill is ruled out on Friday, it could spell bigger roles for Deonte Harris (who they lined up all over the field against the Chicago Bears last week) and Tre’Quan Smith’s role as a blocker if he’s healthy enough to play. Missing Taysom Hill will likely account for a few players having to fill the various roles he serves.
As The Atheltic’s Kat Terrell mentioned, worry around Murray’s absence is palpable. He, of course, is an important piece as a runner, but could also raise some concerns matching up with Todd Bowles’ blitz-heavy defense. It may be Michael Burton’s time to shine and help keep Drew Brees clean in that area.
From the Buccaneers
changes to status in bold
- S Andrew Adams (Not Injury Related), DNP
- G Alex Cappa (Ankle), DNP
- CB Carlton Davis (Groin), Limited Participation
- WR Mike Evans (Knee), Limited Participation
- WR Chris Godwin (Hip/Quad), Limited Participation
- RB Ronald Jones (Quad/Finger), LIMITED PARTICIPATION
- DL Jeremiah Ledbetter (Calf), DNP
- RB LeSean McCoy (Illness), Full
- OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (Knee), DNP
Why it’s important: Barring a miracle, Alex Cappa won’t be on the field on Sunday. That could open up some opportunities for the Saints’ defensive interior to get pressure on Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. That, coupled with the hopeful return of Trey Hendrickson could pay dividends.
The only two changes for the Buccaneers are one not injury related addition and the elevation of running back Ronald Jones. Getting Jones back means Tampa would be able to lean on their usual lead back. Otherwise, the role likely goes to Leonard Fournette like we saw against the Washington Football Team in the Wild Card Round. Last week, Fournette ran for 93 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Like Bucs Nation Writer David Harrison observed:
Getting back the running back with the fourth-best rushing yards per carry average among backs with 190 or more carries in 2020 doesn’t mean the Bucs will go run heavy. But it means they can, and it gives New Orleans something more than Tom Brady passes to worry about.
Keep an eye out tomorrow for Friday’s injury report which will also feature game status designations.
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