Bruce Arians is adding a familiar face as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed linebacker Deone Bucannon heading into the playoffs. The move comes as Devin White remains on the COVID-19 list and the team does not expect the star linebacker to play against Washington, per Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith.
The good news is Shaq Barrett was activated from the COVID list and is likely to play in the Bucs’ opening playoff matchup. Arians is very familiar with Bucannon as the linebacker played five games in 2019 for the Buccaneers and his first five seasons for the Cardinals. The Buccaneers indicated the team is adding Bucannon as a linebacker, but he has also played safety along with cornerback during his six-year NFL career.
The Bucs released Bucannon in October 2019 and the linebacker later signed with the Giants to finish out the season. Bucannon joined the Falcons over the offseason but the team released him in September 2020.
Arians Called Bucannon a ‘Tone Setter’ During His First Stint With the Bucs
Arians has a history of bringing players to Tampa that he previously coached at prior stops. During the 2019 training camp, Arians called Bucannon and the other former Cardinals “tone setters.”
“It helps them, they know what to expect,” Arians noted at the time, per Tampa Bay Times. “They can answer questions for the other guys on what to expect. They’re here because I know they’re good football players, and they’re tone setters.”
White Would Have Had a Chance to Play if the Bucs-Washington Game Was on Sunday, January 10
White would have had a better chance to play if the Bucs-Washington game had been scheduled for Sunday, January 10. The Buccaneers playing on Saturday essentially ruled White out for the Wild Card matchup. Arians admitted to not being “overly excited” to play on Saturday instead of Sunday.
“It looks that way right now,” Arians said of White potentially being out against Washington, via Sports Illustrated. “I was not overly excited about that – it could potentially cost us a couple of players that would play on Sunday that we’re still hoping [for.]”
White on His Health Status: ‘I Feel Good’
White took to Twitter to give fans an update on his status, indicating he would be able to play in the Divisional Round if the Buccaneers advance. The Bucs linebacker sent a message to his teammates to “win this game” adding that he “feel[s] good” after having COVID-19.
“Win this game bro’s so I can get back on the field, I got a lot of Team Ball left to play I feel good to 🤠 #VirusFree🦠 #ThankYouGOD🙏🏾,” White tweeted.
If the Buccaneers win, their most likely opponent in the next round would be the No. 1 seeded Packers at Lambeau Field. The Buccaneers had success earlier this season against the Packers, but it would have a different feel on the road in likely frigid conditions compared to sunny Florida. If either the Bears or Rams are able to pull off upsets, the Bucs would face a different opponent in the Divisional Round if they advance.