Still in the hunt.
That's the new catchphrase Bucs coach Raheem Morris rolled out on Monday. A day after the Bucs fell to 7-4 by losing 17-10 to the Baltimore Ravens, it seemed to have a double meaning.
In addition to describing the team's status in the playoff race, it also could describe the search for a safety to replace Cody Grimm, who was placed on injured reserve along with right guard Davin Joseph.
Though Sabby Piscitelli stepped in for Grimm (broken ankle) against the Ravens, there's a good chance someone else - possibly even cornerback Ronde Barber - will take over when the Bucs take on the Falcons on Sunday.
"We'll have a competition at safety with Sabby and (Corey) Lynch and (practice squad member) Vincent Anderson," Morris said. "We'll have all those guys working back there.
"And Ronde's always a thought to go back to safety. Really, both of those guys, Ronde and Aqib (Talib), they both have the mental capacity (to play safety), because both play physical enough.
"And I know you've seen some of the stuff where we (position Barber in the slot), so that's always a thought. But really, with the way they're playing, do you want to move any of those guys right now?"
Barber and Talib have combined for nine interceptions - Talib is second in the league with six - and rank third and sixth on the team in tackles with 57 and 38, respectively.
The Bucs may have no choice but to move one of them, though. The loss of Grimm, a rookie seventh-round draft pick who compiled 57 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown in just nine starts, was felt immediately on Sunday.
Three plays into the defensive series that followed Grimm's injury, Piscitelli lined up out of position and bit on a run fake that allowed Joe Flacco to hit a wide open Todd Heap with a 65-yard touchdown pass.
"It was just kind of a blown coverage, a miscommunication," said Bucs middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, who believes the team has lost in Grimm a player that embodied their image as one of the league's biggest surprises this year.
"He's exactly like this team I think, because he took a lot of ridicule for no reason because he gave up one play (a 46-yard touchdown pass to Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace) and people thought he wasn't very good. But from the day he stepped on the field here, even during preseason, he's been one of our better players. He's played great ever since the day he stepped on the field and he's going to be a big loss."
Joseph's loss is a big one, too. He is, after all, the Bucs' lone Pro Bowler on the offensive line and it was behind Joseph the Bucs ran a lot of their power rushes.
But the issue of replacing Joseph (broken left foot) isn't as dicey. Just as they did in 2008, when Joseph missed the first four games with a knee injury, and on Sunday when Joseph left the game in the first half, the Bucs will replace him with backup Jeremy Zuttah.
"He's definitely one of the guys that gets us going," Morris said of Joseph. "He's a tough hard-nosed down-hill player, so we'll certainly miss that.
"But we'll gain something from getting Zuttah in there, because he's a guy that gives us great body presence and some smart, sharp, thinking ideas and some faster movement."