Leonard Fournette’s absence creates an opportunity in the Bucs’ running game

Posted October 2, 2020|Updated October 2, 2020

TAMPA — The Bucs will not only be without wide receiver Chris Godwin in Sunday’s home game against the Chargers, but also running back Leonard Fournette, who will miss the game with an ankle injury.

Fournette was starting to become a bigger part of the Bucs’ offense after a 100-yard rushing performance in Week 2, but he had just 15 rushing yards on seven carries in Sunday’s 28-10 win. in Denver.

His absence will mean that Ronald Jones and LeSean McCoy will potentially shoulder more of the workload. Additionally, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said rookie third-round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn should see his first action this season. Vaughn has yet to play a snap on offense, seeing all five snaps this year on special teams.

“He’s more than ready,” Arians said.

The Bucs drafted Vaughn in April, seeing him as an immediate contributor as a rusher and wide receiver, but during the offseason the Bucs signed both McCoy and Fournette, dropping Vaughn in the depth chart.

Wide receiver Scotty Miller returned from a hip/groin injury to participate in practice on Friday, and he was listed as questionable on the injury report. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who left Sunday’s game with a groin injury, was a full participant on Friday, and Arians said he should have no limitations on game day.

Chargers defense sees red

On Sunday, the Bucs will face a Chargers team ranked No. 1 in the NFL in red zone defense. Los Angeles allowed touchdowns in just 22.2% of their opponents’ red zone moves (2 for 9), and in the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to Carolina, they allowed just one. hit in six Panther moves in the red zone.

“They are extremely well trained and they know their plan,” Arians said. “It’s a bit of a different pattern, but the biggest thing for them is that they have such a good passing rush and they fit together really well, so they get the quarterback running.”

The Bucs have been one of the best teams in the league in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on eight of their 10 trips there (80 percent), ranking fourth in the league.

weather the storm

With an 80% chance of rain predicted for Sunday afternoon, the Bucs could face their first game day with inclement weather.

Arians said his team is ready, however, as they do wetball drills once a week in practice with quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

“These are just the elements,” Arians said. “That’s what we love about football. The elements play a role, and we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully there is no lightning delay.

quote of the day

“I wish they could have microphones under their masks, so they could (each) be (as loud) as 10 people. But be as loud as possible and enjoy. I hope we play well enough for them to have a good time.

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– Message from the Arians to the less than 10,000 fans who will be allowed to attend Sunday’s game, the Bucs’ first home game this season open to fans

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at [email protected] Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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