By Tom Krasniqi
What else could possibly go wrong this season? It’s bad enough that the Bucs are 0-4 and still looking for that elusive first win. But the on-field focus has been hampered by the MRSA scare. Yup, MRSA is back and it has claimed yet another victim.
The team confirmed on Friday that a third player has been diagnosed with MRSA. This news comes after Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes initially came down with it during training camp. The Bucs revealed yesterday that Nicks had it for a second time.
The Bucs are not revealing who the player is, but multiple reports have confirmed that rookie corner Johnthan Banks is the latest victim. Banks was not on the practice field on Friday. During a press conference on Friday, GM Mark Dominik would not confirm that Banks had MRSA. He did say that the “player” came forward with some concerns on Wednesday. Cultures were taken and tests confirmed on Thursday night that Banks had tested positive for MRSA.
Dr. Deverick Anderson from the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) addressed the team Friday morning to alleviate their concerns about MRSA. Players said afterward that the meeting was informative and educational.
“I think our organization has chosen to be very committed to making this place a safe working environment,” said wideout Vincent Jackson on Friday. “Bringing the best of the best in the world down here to speak with us—talk to us about it, inform us. I think guys feel really confident about it.”
While Jackson was upbeat about the MRSA scare, there were some players who had some concerns.
“Of course, something so serious like this, you’re scared and concerned,” said cornerback Leonard Johnson said. “But we had one of the top doctors fly in on a private jet today and come in and talk with us for about [one] hour to educate us on what’s going on. That put a lot of guys’ minds at ease…especially mine.”
The team has spent the last couple of days dealing with MRSA again. The players and staff are understandably edgy. And oh by the way, the Bucs host the high flying Eagles this Sunday.
As for the final injury report for the Bucs, Banks did not practice today and is listed as questionable for Sunday with an “illness”. Nicks did not practice on Friday and he’s listed as questionable.
The good news for the Bucs is that TE Tom Crabtree (ankle) practiced all week and he will make his Bucs debut on Sunday. Safeties Dashon Goldson (foot) and Mark Barron (hamstring) along with OL Gabe Carimi (illness), DT Derek Landri (knee), DE Steven Means (shoulder) and CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring) are all probable.
WR Mike Williams (hamstring) was limited in practice and is questionable. CB Michael Adams (knee) did not practice and is out.
Notable injuries for the Eagles: QB Mike Vick (hamstring) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as questionable. This really complicates matters for the Bucs. Head coach Chip Kelly is not revealing his starting quarterback until Sunday. If Vick can’t go, Nick Foles will start. TE James Casey (groin) is questionable. LT Jason Peters (finger), LB Connor Barwin (knee) and CB Brandon Boykin (groin) are probable.
News & Notes:
- Schiano says the possibility of surgery for Carl Nicks is “too soon for us to know that.” Dr. Anderson hinted that MRSA had penetrated into the bone in his foot. If that’s the case, then surgery is likely.
- From what he was able to observe, Dr. Anderson says One Buc Place says is “a safe environment for players and staff.” Anderson says the affected players will be treated with “source control” by using a disinfectant for the skin. Anderson says sanitizing One Buc Place again is not necessary. Every player or staff member is not being cultured unless they have clinical signs or symptoms for MRSA.
- Bucs WR Vincent Jackson says he spent some extra time working with rookie QB Mike Glennon during the bye week: “He’s up to speed…I don’t have any questions about him back there when he’s in that pocket. He knows exactly where he needs to go with the ball and he’s going to make some great decisions.” Expect the Bucs to attempt more deep passes.
- The big challenge for the Bucs this week is trying to contain Philly’s top ranked rushing attack. The Eagles are averaging 186 rushing yards per game. RB LeSean McCoy leads the league in rushing yards (514) and yards from scrimmage (700).
- The last time the Bucs saw QB Nick Foles, he threw a touchdown pass to WR Jeremy Maclin as time expired last December to give the Eagles a 23-21 win at Ray Jay. Foles finished the game with 381 yards and two touchdown passes. He added one touchdown on the ground as well.
- CB Leonard Johnson was asked about the condition of CB Johnthan Banks: “They told me I can’t speak on that so I’m sorry about that.”
- Former Bucs TE Kellen Winslow (now with the Jets) has been suspended 4 games after testing positive for PEDs. He’s eligible to return in early November
- The Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with the Floor & Décor Countdown To Kickoff show.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.