In his final press conference of the 2012 season, Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano touched on the players who finished the campaign on injured reserve. He primarily focused on the four primary starters who were lost along the way: linebacker Quincy Black, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks.
Obviously, those four players were at different stages in their respective rehab processes at the time, but Schiano spoke optimistically about most of them, noting that things were still up in the air regarding Black.
“Carl’s mending; he’s on the heal,” said Schiano on December 31. “Quincy right now, they are still not sure what they are going to do medically. Quincy has been to some different places in the country, finest people there are, so I’m not sure what is going to happen there. Adrian is coming along nicely. Davin has been a while now. I saw him the other day walking in and he feels good and he is excited. The thing that I was really impressed with Davin is, in his absence of playing, just all the community service things he did. I know he has always done that but I think he took it up a notch between his rehab and that. I think he really refocused his energies which is neat to see. He’s a guy that doesn’t wallow in self-pity, he just goes and gets better physically and helps where he can help on the football end of things and really did a great job in the community.”
Obviously, the Bucs are eager to get all of their important contributors back to start the 2013 season. There were actually 13 players on the team’s injured reserve list at the end of 2012. In a way, this is the first wave of quality additions to the Buccaneers’ 2013 season, before free agency and the draft. Here’s a look at the full list, in alphabetical order:
- WR Arrelious Benn: Went on injured reserve on Nov. 22 with shoulder and knee injuries, missing the last seven games…Came into the 2012 season as the presumptive third receiver behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams…While large role in the offense didn’t materialize, Benn did take over as the primary kickoff returner before he went to I.R., averaging 23.5 yards on 13 returns.
- LB Quincy Black: Went on injured reserve on Nov. 13 after being hurt in a collision with Chargers RB Ryan Matthews two days earlier, with the injury causing him complications with his left arm…Was the team’s starting strongside linebacker prior to the injury, a position he also filled the previous three seasons…Was re-signed to a five-year deal before the 2011 campaign…Had 32 tackles, three tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and one fumble recovery at the time of his injury and, according to Schiano, was playing his best football just before he was hurt.
- DE Adrian Clayborn: The team’s sack leader (7.5) as a rookie in 2011, the former first-round pick went on injured reserve on September 24 after suffering a knee injury in Game Three in Dallas…Had no sacks at that point but was clearly a key reason that the Bucs’ pass rush was very successful in the first month of the season, as the overall results tailed off significantly after he went to I.R…Was the starter at right end in 2011 and in 2012 before his injury, and is expected to regain that role in 2013.
- TE Drake Dunsmore: A rookie seventh-round pick out of Northwestern, Dunsmore was actually on the practice squad when he suffered the injury that sent him to I.R. on December 22…Prior to that, he was on the practice squad for the first 14 weeks of the season, joining QB Adam Weber as the only two players to last on that crew for essentially the entire season…More a pass-catcher than a blocker coming out of college, will get another chance to prove he can be a weapon in the NFL in 2013.
- S Cody Grimm: A starter for much of his 2010 rookie season and the beginning of 2011, Grimm primarily played on special teams in 2012 after returning from his ’11 knee injury…Placed on injured reserve on November 27 after spending several weeks trying to return from a hamstring injury…Among the team’s kick-coverage tackle leaders, with five, despite missing seven games.
- G Davin Joseph: Injured in the Bucs’ third preseason game and placed on I.R. on August 27, thus missing the entire season…Was expected to team with free agent acquisition Carl Nicks as a pair of Pro Bowlers to potentially give the Buccaneers the most talented interior line in the NFL…Re-signed to a seven-year deal by the team before the 2011 season and will be expected to once again be among the Bucs’ cornerstone players in 2013.
- CB Myron Lewis: Was playing primarily on special teams – and doing well in that capacity, before tearing a hamstring covering a punt against the Eagles in Week 14…Placed on injured reserve on Dec. 10…Had contributed three tackles each on defense and special teams before the injury, playing in nine of a possible 13 games.
- DE Aaron Morgan: Placed on injured reserve on December 22 due to a shoulder injury…After an October signing and a midseason promotion from the practice squad, Morgan had been seeing increasing playing time as a situational reserve on the defensive line…An interesting third-year prospect, Morgan had one tackle on defense and also played on special teams due to his size/speed combination.
- G Carl Nicks: After battling through a painful toe injury for much of the first half of the season, the free agency prize finally had to shut it down after seven games, landing on injured reserve on October 30…Before his injury, was contributing heavily to a quickly-developing rushing attack behind rookie RB Doug Martin…As with Joseph, is expected to be a key part of the team’s offensive success in 2013.
- TE Danny Noble: One of the surprises of training camp, the undrafted rookie out of Toledo made the Buccaneers’ 53-man roster after a series of strong preseason performances…Played sparingly in the first four games of the season but didn’t get much of a chance to deliver on that preseason promise after hitting injured reserve on October 30 with a hamstring ailment.
- WR Sammie Stroughter: The hard-luck receiver failed to play 16 games in a season for the fourth time in his 14 years after landing on I.R. on September 21 due to a foot injury…Caught one pass for 14 yards and returned three punts for 16 yards before the injury…A seventh-round pick in 2009, has 60 catches for 639 yards as a Buccaneer and is a proven return man.
- T Jeremy Trueblood: The Bucs’ starting right tackle for most of the 2006-11 seasons and the opening game of 2012, Trueblood went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury on November 27. He also dealt with an ankle injury in the season’s first month and was replaced as the starter at RT by Demar Dotson…Trueblood saw reserve action in eight of nine games from Weeks 3-12 before going to I.R…Had signed a two-year contract with the Bucs prior to the 2011 season.
- G Desmond Wynn: An undrafted rookie out of Rutgers, Wynn landed on injured reserve on September 1…Had played in each of the team’s four preseason contests before going to I.R. with a shoulder ailment.