Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano announced Monday that second year defensive end Adrian Clayborn has torn his ACL and will be headed to the injured reserve. Clayborn is the second player from the Buccaneers to hit the injured reserve joining Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph.
Never is an injury a good news to a team, but I couldn’t think of a worse player for this to happen to for the Buccaneers. Clayborn was the leader in sacks last year and becoming a leader for a young Buccaneers team.
Not only that, but he is now the second defensive end from last year’s draft to get injured for the Buccaneers as second round pick Da’Quan Bowers went down earlier in the summer with a partially torn Achilles tendon.
Coach Schiano is hopeful that Bowers will still play some meaningful snaps this year, but is still three weeks from even being eligible to come off of the PUP list. Even if he does come off and is healthy, will he have close to the same speed and explosiveness that we saw last year?
Through this early season the defensive line has played very well, with both Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett sharing the team lead with three sacks a piece. While Clayborn didn’t register a sack this year, he was sound at his assignments and did a great job setting the edge, allowing McCoy to get to the quarterback early in the season.
The Buccaneers are going to need someone to step up, and that guy could be Daniel Teo-Nesheim. A former third round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles, he was lost in the depth chart of a deep Eagles defensive end rotation. In college his production led him to become the University of Washington’s all-time sack leader, totaling 30 career sacks
Teo-Nesheim won’t just be handed the job though as there is another Buccaneers fan favorite and a familiar face to coach Schiano in George Johnson. Johnson played for Schiano at Rutgers University and tore up the preseason last year, forcing his way on to the roster last year.
Whether it is Johnson or Teo-Nesheim the important piece to the whole defensive line puzzle is McCoy. If he can keep up his level of play that he is playing at, it will help whoever is at the right end spot. Clayborn should be able to have a full recovery before the next season, but this opens up an opportunity for someone to make a name for themselves.