Bucs’ blockers prepare for visit to Falcons

Bucs’ blockers prepare for visit to Falcons

Lost in the shuffle of landing Tom Brady in the offseason was a big move that solidified the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive line.On draft day, they traded up to the No. 13 overall pick and selected Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, then plugged him into the lineup at right tackle. Joining four incumbent starters, Wirfs has been everything Tampa Bay thought he would be — and more.Ahead of a Week 15 trip to Atlanta, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Wirfs deserves to earn a spot on the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad.”He’s doing it week-in and week-out, so that’s kind of what I expect every week now,” Arians said. “That’s what we anticipated.”Wirfs and his cohorts on the line may have to be a little bit better on Sunday. Ronald Jones, the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL with 900 yards, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. He was already considered questionable after undergoing surgery Tuesday to have pins placed in a fractured pinkie finger.If Jones is sidelined, Arians said that Leonard Fournette will take over as the lead ballcarrier. The former Jacksonville Jaguar has rushed for 271 yards in part-time duty and also equaled Jones’ 28 receptions, tied for fourth on the team.Tampa Bay (8-5) currently sits in sixth place in the NFC, which is good for a playoff spot, and is coming off a 26-14 victory last week at home against Minnesota. Tom Brady was efficient, going 15 of 23 for 196 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 30 in a season for the eighth time. Brady needs four more in the last three games to erase Jameis Winston’s one-year old club record of 33.”It was a good win. We’re obviously going to need to just keep making progress,” Brady said.While the Buccaneers are aiming to break a 13-year playoff drought, the second-longest drought in the NFL, Atlanta (4-9) is merely hoping to play the spoiler’s role in another lost season. The Falcons’ 20-17 loss last week at the Los Angeles Chargers clinched a third straight sub.-500 campaign.