Watford was with the Bucs throughout 2019 season, starting in four of his 15 appearances. He’s a favorite of Bruce Arians, having played in 43 games (21 starts) for him in Arizona from 2014-2017. Now in his third stint with the Bucs, Watford will provide depth in the wake of several OL injuries. The team is currently practicing without Robert Hainsey, Donell Stanley, Josh Wells, and Chidi Okeke, as Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.
“[Watford] can walk in any play four positions for us,” Arians said earlier this year “Guys that have been in this system for a while, veteran players – when you lose a guy, you try to look for veteran players rather than young guys who might not be ready.”
January 22nd, 2021 at 1:09pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Jan. 22: The Bucs have officially activated Vea, as Peter Schrager of the NFL Network tweets. Vea will bolster an already terrific D-line and, depending on how much he plays, could provide a major boost to Tampa’s Super Bowl aspirations. In a corresponding move, the team has waived Earl Watford.
Jan. 18: The Buccaneers could be adding significant reinforcements ahead of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Packers. Tampa has designated defensive tackle Vita Vea to return from injured reserve, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
Stroud adds that the big man in the middle “will begin practicing Wednesday and could be activated for Sunday’s NFC title game.” This is something of a surprising development, as Vea was previously believed to be done for the season after fracturing his ankle back in October. The Washington product had been having a career year before going down, and his injury correlated strongly with a general decline in the Bucs’ defense.
He had ten tackles, three for a loss, and two sacks in five games while regularly eating up double teams before getting hurt. The 12th overall pick of the 2018 draft was up and down as a rookie, but started all 16 games in 2019. He had made another big leap in 2020, so it was a shame to see his season get cut so short.
Stroud noted in a follow-up tweet that the team thinks there’s a “very good chance” he’ll be able to suit up against Green Bay, although a final call won’t be made until later in the week. If he’s able to play on Sunday, it’d be a huge boost for Tampa Bay as they look to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the league’s most efficient offense.
January 15th, 2021 at 12:02pm CST by Zachary Links
The Buccaneers have signed offensive lineman Earl Watford. He’ll take the roster spot of guard Alex Cappa, who has been placed on injured reserve with a season-ending ankle fracture.
Watford was with the Bucs throughout 2019 season, starting in four of his 15 appearances. He’s a favorite of Bruce Arians, having played in 43 games (21 starts) for him in Arizona from 2014-2017 .
The Bucs beat the Washington Football Team on Saturday, but they lose their a starting lineman when Cappa was forced out. Between the regular season and the Wild Card game, Cappa logged 17 starts for Tampa Bay this season. Cappa, in his second year as a first-stringer, helped the unit place second in sacks while aiding the offense to 30.8 points per game, good for third in the NFL.
Watford, in his eighth year, will be eligible to play against the Saints on Sunday.
“He can walk in any play four positions for us,” said Arians of Watford. “[We’ll] just get him back in a little bit of football shape; he stayed in pretty good condition. Just like [with] Ted Larsen – guys that have been in this system for a while, veteran players – when you lose a guy, you try to look for veteran players rather than young guys who might not be ready.”
Aaron Stinnie will start in Cappa’s place, but Watford will be on call if needed.
The Buccaneers will be without starting right guard Alex Cappa this week, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. Cappa sustained an elbow injury in Tampa Bay’s game against the Jaguars this past Sunday. Head coach Bruce Arians removed Cappa from the game in hopes that the precaution could allow Cappa to play this week, but unfortunately the injury is just too severe.
Veteran offensive lineman Earl Watford is behind Cappa on the depth chart and is expected to start in his place against the Colts. A six-year veteran, Watford has played all across the line, but is primarily an interior lineman. An injury earlier in the year forced Watford to start in place of Cappa for two games, so this will not be entirely unfamiliar territory for Tampa’s o-line.
Here’s some more injury notes from the NFC South:
Panthers tackle Greg Little was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Falcons with an ankle injury, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. While Little was selected with the 37th pick in this year’s draft by Carolina to immediately jump into their rotation along the line, injuries have limited him to only four appearances on the season. Little can play either tackle spot, but was listed as the team’s top left tackle on the depth chart. Fellow rookie Dennis Daley will likely return to the starting lineup in his place.
Rookie offensive guard Chris Lindstrom will return to the field for the first time since Week 1 for the Falcons. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta is activating Lindstrom from the injured reserve to start this week against the Panthers. The Falcons focused on solidifying their offensive line through the draft last offseason, selecting Lindstrom with the 14th overall pick and tackle Kaleb McGary later in the first round. Lindstrom, however, has been out since injuring his foot in the season opener and the offensive line has struggled mightily, allowing 38 sacks on the season.
The Buccaneers have agreed to sign offensive lineman Earl Watford, according to Adam Green (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.
Watford, who spent the 2013-17 seasons with the Cardinals, will now reunite with a bevy of ex-Arizona coaches — including head coach Bruce Arians and run game coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin — in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers’ offensive line is already set in stone, so Watford, who can play both tackle and guard, will settle in as a top reserve.
The 28-year-old Watford has historically served in a backup role, although he did start 11 games in 2016. All told, the James Madison product has appeared in 55 games and made 22 starts since entering the league as a fourth-round pick. Watford spent the 2018 campaign in Cleveland on a minimum salary deal.