The Buccaneers’ cornerbacks and pass-catching corps have encountered constant injury trouble this season, but the defending champions will have some help soon.
Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and wideout Scotty Miller surfaced as IR-return players Tuesday. Given that this is a bye week, that marks a good sign for their prospects of being active when the Bucs resume play in Week 10. Each has 21 days from Tuesday to return to action.
Murphy-Bunting, a former second-round pick, has been out since going down with a dislocated elbow in Week 1. A two-year Bucs starter who notched three interceptions during the 2020 playoffs, Murphy-Bunting was the first of a few Tampa Bay corners to go down this season. The Bucs subsequently lost Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis, though Dean has since returned. Davis, who has been out since Week 4, is eyeing a Week 10 return. The cornerback brought in because of this injury run, Richard Sherman, has also missed the past two Bucs games. Fellow replacement Dee Delaney also missed last week’s game.
Operating as the Bucs’ No. 4 wide receiver, Miller has seen a “severe” turf toe case sideline him since Week 3. Miller has just two catches this season but eclipsed 500 receiving yards in 2020. He added a rather crucial deep touchdown grab in the NFC championship game to help the Bucs to their second Super Bowl.
The Bucs have since played without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski for much of the time between then and their loss to the Saints on Sunday. With Brown not expected to need an IR stint, it is possible the Bucs will deploy Gronk, Brown and Miller alongside Mike Evans and Chris Godwin following their bye week.
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