The Buccaneers’ trip to Atlanta was not a successful one. The Bucs lost their second straight game, 13-10 to the Falcons, missing out on a chance to clinch a playoff berth and creating a logjam in the NFC playoff picture. The Bucs do control their own playoff destiny over the season’s final two games, but a playoff run will now take place without at least one of their defensive stalwarts.
Bucs coach Jon Gruden said Monday starting SS Jermaine Phillips will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured right forearm, a tough loss for a defense that has struggled against the run in the last two losses. As Buccaneers.com points out, it’s the third time during his career Phillips has suffered a fractured forearm, and the second time this season — he missed three games earlier this season with a broken left forearm.
“Very tough loss for us yesterday,” Gruden said during his weekly press conference. “Jermaine Phillips, hate to say it, he fractured his forearm, his right forearm, and it is not the same injury that he hurt earlier.
“It is unfortunate. You talk about a great guy, and really a very good football player, one of our leaders. I can’t explain it, very, very unfortunate for us.”
Adding to the loss of Phillips was that Gruden announced LB Derrick Brooks is battling a rib injury that has the team concerned. Gruden didn’t have a full udpate on the injury until he heard back from team doctors following tests.
“We are concerned about him,” Gruden said. “I will remain optimistic because of whom we are talking about, but we have our concerns.”
The Bucs also played without both starting defensive tackles, as Chris Hovan sat out with a knee injury, and Jovan Haye (knee) played only a handful of plays.
As for QB Jeff Garcia, who was a late scratch for the game due to a calf injury, Gruden was non-commital on his status and will make a determination on Wednesday. Gruden wouldn’t say whether Brian Griese or Luke McCown would start if Garcia is unable to go.