When the Buccaneers traded Brian Price, they took the risk that Amobi Okoye and Gary Gibson would be able to provide them with solid depth in the middle of the defensive line.
They haven’t seen much return on that risk yet. Gibson was hurt for much of camp and made his preseason debut last week while Okoye hasn’t played since the opener thanks to a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in June. That’s left the team without much viable depth behind Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller at defensive tackle.
The idea was for Okoye to have the surgery in June so that the former 10th overall pick was ready to go for the season, but he’s been limited in practice this summer in addition to missing games. Coach Greg Schiano sounded a pessimistic tone about how much Okoye will be able to help the team this season.
“It’s not just one surgery, he has a history with that knee. We knew when we decided to (sign him) that there was a chance that it was going to have to be handled,” Schiano said via Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times. “The way he practices, how much he practices — we are kind of just trying to feel our way through it, see what he can and can’t do.”
The Buccaneers already lost one key defensive lineman in Da’Quan Bowers and the loss or limitation of another one could make the front four a weak spot for the team over the course of the season.