The Bucs are trying to end a three-game losing streak as they return home Sunday against Carolina, but they'll have to do so without their two starting cornerbacks from last week's loss at Buffalo. Brent Grimes (shoulder) and Robert McClain (concussion) have both been ruled out for Sunday, making things that much harder for the NFL's No. 31 pass defense.
That likely means Vernon Hargreaves is back at outside corner, Ryan Smith is making his second NFL start on the other side and Javien Elliott steps in as the nickel cornerback. Dejo Olatoye, signed to the roster this week, is the only other cornerback on roster as it stands.
Hargreaves had struggled outside and played better playing nickel against the Bills, but is now likely back outside. Smith has barely played on defense since he struggled in filling for Grimes in a loss to Minnesota. Elliott doesn't have a tackle this season, but stepped in at nickel for the final four games last season and played well.
Special-teams captain Josh Robinson will miss a third straight game as he recovers from a concussion. Ryan Russell, who has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, was upgraded to full participation Friday and could play Sunday. He's listed as "questionable," along with DT Chris Baker (ankle) and QB Jameis Winston (shoulder), who are both expected to play.