The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bred two players from their practice squad to play their season opener Thursday night against Dallas, and now those two have found a more permanent spot on the 53-man roster.
On Monday, the Buccaneers signed safety Andrew Adams to the active practice roster. The team had used their two lift options in Week 1 on Adams and wide receiver Jaydon Mickens, and Mickens was then promoted to the active roster on Saturday.
However, while Mickens ‘promotion was driven by his great job in the second leg against the Cowboys, Adams’ call-in comes with bad news. His place on the 53-man roster was created by the transition from starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting to the injured reserve.
Additionally, a hand injury suffered by long snapper Zach Triner in the season opener also forced the team to switch positions. Triner was placed on the injured list and the team signed former longtime Jaguars player Carson Tinker from the active roster.
Finally, the Buccaneers added secondary depth on Monday by signing eighth-year cornerback Pierre Desir and first-year safety Chris Cooper to their practice squad.
Murphy-Bunting suffered an elbow dislocation in the first quarter of the Buccaneers’ 31-29 win over the Cowboys. X-rays taken at the stadium came back negative, leaving the team on hold regarding how much time they would miss due to the injury. After further testing, the decision was made to put Murphy-Bunting on IR, meaning he will miss a minimum of three games before being eligible to return to the active roster.
Murphy-Bunting has played in all 20 games in 2020, including the playoffs, making 17 starts and registering 66 tackles, one interception and three defended assists. He then led the team to the playoffs with three interceptions and five assists defended, becoming the first player in team history to land an assist in three consecutive playoff games.
Adams’ promotion gives the Bucs more flexibility in high school as they adjust in the absence of Murphy-Bunting and await the return of starting safety Jordan Whitehead from a hamstring injury. Head coach Bruce Arians said on Friday Whitehead is “about 90%” of recovery and is hopeful the fourth-year defenseman can play Atlanta in week two. With Adams and perhaps Whitehead safely available, the Bucs can let Ross Cockrell focus on playing in the slot while Murphy-Bunting is out. A trade cornerback who replaced the Buccaneers well last year, Cockrell learned the safety post during training camp and was impressive in that role as well.
Adams is in his fourth season with the Buccaneers, although he actually left for Philadelphia in free agency last offseason. When the Eagles released Adams to the downsized 53 roster, the Buccaneers initially brought him back to the practice squad. He played 11 snaps in defense after being bred for the Dallas game, replacing as safety Mike Edwards was cramped aside, and made a key third tackle near the end zone to force the Cowboys to settle for a placement in the third quarter. Adams also played 15 snaps on special teams; these contributions and his familiarity with the Bucs’ defensive scheme make him a valuable in-depth item on the active roster.
Desir, who has seen five teams play in the regular season, was recently part of the Baltimore Ravens’ training squad for the second half of the 2020 season. He started that campaign with the New York Jets and completed eight. departures before being released in November; he went on to play three more games with the Ravens after a series of training team elevations. He finished with a total of 49 tackles, three interceptions and eight assists defended last year.
Desir first entered the league as the Cleveland Browns fourth-round pick in 2014. He played for the Browns, Chargers, Colts, Jets and Ravens and had 259 tackles, eight interceptions. and 42 passes defended during his NFL career. Cooper was initially on the Buccaneers’ 53-player roster to start the season through hard work on special teams in the preseason, but was inactive for Game 1 before being suspended the next day.
Triner has been the Buccaneers’ longtime player since the start of the 2019 season, playing a total of 37 games, including the playoffs. Tinker, who played his college ball in Alabama, was most recently in training camp with the New York Giants this summer before being suspended in late August. He spent all of last season on the Giants’ practice squad.
Tinker recently saw regular season action with the Jaguars in 2018, playing five games before landing in the injured reserve with a knee injury. He also spent 2017 in IR with a separate knee injury, but was Jacksonville’s long snapper for all 64 games of 2013-16. He first joined the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in May 2013.