Buccaneers Rookie Makes Surprising Injury Report Appearance Ahead of Week 1

Week 1 of the 2023 season is officially underway after the Detroit Lions defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin their new era with a road game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Buccaneers got encouraging injury news when first-round rookie DL Calijah Kancey returned to practice after missing time since July. And, against a dangerous Vikings offense, the defense needs everybody healthy.

However, the Buccaneers followed that with some unfortunate news regarding a rookie on the offensive line as Cody Mauch popped up on the injury report.

Cody Mauch Makes Surprise Injury Report Appearance

Mauch was selected in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft and has gone viral for numerous reasons. The 24-year-old was a three-time FCS champion at North Dakota State and an FCS All-American in his final collegiate season, so there is a ton of excitement to see what he brings to the offensive line.

Because of all of that, the Buccaneers were hoping to have him play a major role.

Then out of nowhere and just days before the season, Mauch popped up on the injury report with a back issue, per the Buccaneers’ official injury report.

The Bucs’ Thursday injury report has a couple updates, most notably starting guard Cody Mauch added with a back injury and rookie DL Calijah Kancey returning in a limited fashion. https://t.co/xYaA39luL0

— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) September 7, 2023

The other Buccaneers on the injury report are as follows: Kaevon Merriweather, Anthony Nelson, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Antoine Winfield Jr., and Kancey. However, Vaughn’s absence was not injury-related, and questions have swirled on his status with the team as he could enter the year on the outside looking in at the running back position.

The Vikings injury report has just two players on it, Troy Dye and Ryan Wright, so things aren’t looking good for Tampa Bay one bit.

Mauch is set to start at guard for the Buccaneers, so this would be a big loss to an already-revamped offense if he isn’t able to go.

Who Steps Up If Cody Mauch Misses The Game?

The big question is who will step up if Mauch is forced to miss the opener. Well, things aren’t looking too promising on the depth chart at the offensive line.

Aaron Stinnie, who is back with the team after signing a new deal in the offseason, would figure to be the next guy up. Otherwise, Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers staff might be forced to shift things around in order to get it right. That could include moving around Matt Feiler, Nick Leverett, and others in an attempt to fill the void.

Things could definitely change leading up to Sunday afternoon, but a player landing on the injury report on Thursday is not a good sign whatsoever.

With Baker Mayfield as the starting quarterback, there is a chance the Buccaneers run the ball a lot, especially with the way Rachaad White played last season. However, having to do that without Cody Mauch blocking up front will make things even more difficult.

It will be interesting to monitor the next couple of days leading up to the game to see if Mauch gets healthy and can make his NFL debut against the Vikings.

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