TAMPA — The final preseason game is almost always a showcase for backups. That will surely be the case Thursday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will use a backup play-caller on offense during their preseason finale against the Redskins.
Just who that backup play-caller will be remains uncertain. Bucs coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday he was still working on a temporary replacement for ailing offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.
Tedford had an unspecified medical procedure Monday, Smith said, and while he is not expected to be out for a lengthy period of time, he will miss Thursday's game at Raymond James Stadium.
“The procedure went well, and he's fine, alert, up,'' Smith said. “We don't know exactly how long (he'll be out). We just know that the procedure went well. So our staff will pick up the slack and we'll go from there.''
One possible replacement for Tedford as play-caller is quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo, who spent two years working for Tedford as his passing game coordinator at the University of California.
When Tedford was fired as head coach at Cal after the 2012 season, Arroyo moved on to Southern Mississippi, where he spent one year as the Golden Eagles' offensive coordinator and game-day play-caller.
The trade for LG Logan Mankins wasn't the only transaction the Bucs made on Tuesday.
Teams were required to reduce their rosters to 75 players by 4 p.m. and the Bucs met the deadline by placing CB Danny Gorrer (groin) on injured reserve, waiving T J.B. Shugarts and CB Deveron Carr and waiving injured T Matt Patchan.
The Bucs went into the day with 77 players on their roster, but they wound up having to trim four players after they claimed CB Marc Anthony and G Jeremiah Warren off waivers.
The 5-11, 196-pound Anthony spent the 2013 season on the Bucs' practice squad and rejoins the team from the Tennessee Titans. The 6-3, 325-pound Warren was claimed from the Browns, his fourth team (New England, Arizona and New Orleans are the others) since coming to the league in 2012.
Seems like déjà vu all over again
QB Josh McCown has seen the Bucs' defense develop over the course of the offseason and now the preseason. What he's seeing from that unit is something he says he saw regularly during his days in Chicago.
“I was just telling Lovie at some point a few weeks ago, 'Man, when I drop back to pass, this is what it looked like playing against the guys in Chicago,' '' McCown said.
“As we get closer to the beginning of the year, it starts to look the same as far as coverages and things like that, and anytime you have guys taking the ball away the way they are, it's going to help us.''
The Bucs have forced four takeaways this preseason, three during their 24-17 victory over the Bills last week. Three of those takeaways have led to touchdowns, including one defensive score.
What's not to like?
Smith, as you might expect, had noting but praise for Mankins. He said everything about him, from his career spent playing with one of the league's best teams to his six Pro Bowl appearances, makes him special.
“Most people say, Logan Mankins — tough football player, a real man, everybody loves him, great guy in your locker room,'' Smith said. “And that's earned from playing so many years of top-level football.
“He's one of those guys that comes to work every day with his lunch pail, which is exactly what we need on our football team and of course in the offensive line room.''