“We’re good with what we have right now,” Bowles told reporters on Monday, September 18.
Edmonds injured his knee in the Bucs’ 27-17 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, September 17. NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported that Edmonds sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain and will miss 4-6 weeks.
The Bucs signed Edmonds as a free agent in the offseason with a $1.23 million contract to help rebuild the running game. Edmonds has a career rushing average of 4.5 yards per carry, and he has five yards per attempt in the young season.
That leaves the Bucs with Rachaad White, rookie Sean Tucker, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn at running back. White has 112 yards and a touchdown this season, Tucker only has 22 yards on 13 carries, and Vaughn hasn’t played a snap yet.
As a team, the Bucs rushed for 120 yards on Sunday against the Bears, a significant improvement from 73 yards in Week 1. Edmonds chipped in for the Week 2 win with a pair of carries for 12 yards.
“We got better,” Bowles said. “Like I said [before], we’re going to do whatever we have to do to win the game. I’m not sitting here saying we’re [expletive]-bent on getting a 150 yards rushing a game.”
“We rushed it efficiently. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s what we got,” Bowles added. “We’ll break some [for big gains], and some games we may not, but it helps us win the ball game and keep time of position.”
Chase Edmonds Could Land on Injured Reserve Amid Questions
If Edmonds lands in injured reserve, the Bucs won’t have him back until late October. The Bucs face quality defenses in the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, and Buffalo Bills in that span.
Tampa Bay could find a free agent running back or pull a trade to fill the void left by Edmonds, though Bowles indicated that’s not in the works. The Bucs have $4.5 million in salary cap space to work with at the moment.
If the Bucs stick with Tucker and Vaughn, both will need to take steps forward or match their previous flashes of promise. Tucker impressed in the preseason before he won the second running back job, and Vaughn scored two late-season touchdowns in 2021 before his downturn in 2022.
Bucs Face a Tough Run Defense in the Eagles Next
Tampa Bay has the Eagles up next in Week 3 on September 25, and that will pose the biggest challenge of the young season overall and in the run department. The Eagles allow 52 yards per game and 3.4 yards per attempt.
“Very talented team. Very well-coached,” Bowles said. “They were in the Super Bowl last year. We’ve been in that situation. They got talent at every level on both sides of the ball, so we’re going to have to use everybody to try and win this ball game.”
“It’s not going to come from one or two groups. It’s going to have to be individual players. It’s going to have to be group play, and we’re going to have to be very sound,” Bowles continued.