In just week 3 of this young NFL season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a possible NFC Championship game preview when they visit the Los Angeles Rams.
With such an important game at stake, the Buccaneers will need all hands on deck, especially on defense as they prepare to face quarterback Matthew Stafford.
With Tampa Bay Buccaneers star outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul nursing a shoulder injury, the question remains whether or not he will be able to suit up against the Rams on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers possibly missing key piece of the front seven
NFL reporter Ian Rapoport indicated that Pierre-Paul was recommended to let the shoulder rest after having a second opinion. However, at this current time, there has been no official word on the playing status of Pierre-Paul for the Tampa Bay Buccanners' upcoming battle vs the Rams.
Now in his 12th NFL season and coming off of a third Pro Bowl birth, Jason Pierre-Paul provides on-field productivity along with veteran leadership off the field. He is known for his bravado and brashness, which sets him apart from many others in the league at his position.
If you recall, during Super Bowl media week for this past year's Super Bowl LV of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Kansas City Chiefs, Pierre-Paul was asked about Chiefs offensive lineman Mike Remmers, who was filling in for the injured Mitchell Schwartz.
"I didn't even know who that was. Man, I'm not going to lie to you. Is that a tackle that you're talking about? Like I said, I don't care too much about it. They got to figure that out."
Who replaces JPP if he doesn't play
The Buccaneers are a talented bunch with lots of depth in the linebacker position. To begin with, Pierre-Paul is already playing next to other great linebackers such as Shaq Barrett, Devin White, and Lavonte David. With each having gone to at least one Pro Bowl, midfield for the Buccaneers is definitely a strength.
However, if Pierre-Paul misses the game with a shoulder injury, who will head coach Bruce Arians tap to start in his place?
He could possibly replace him with third-year outside linebacker Anthony Nelson. Drafted out of the University of Iowa in the 2019 NFL Draft, Nelson could start and lean on the veterans around him to help fill the void left if Pierre-Paul does not play.
Or, the Buccaneers could start the highly-touted Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who was drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6'5" and running a 4.5 40-yard dash, Tryon may be an even better option to replace Pierre-Paul.
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Regardless of what the Buccaneers decide to do, it's safe to say that Pierre-Paul will be missed if he is unable to go against the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams.