TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano was on a mission this preseason. His goal: get to the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the New York Jets with all of his projected starters healthy and ready to play.
He couldn’t quite pull it off.
Left guard Carl Nicks (staph infection), tight end Tom Crabtree (high ankle sprain) and fullback Erik Lorig (calf strain) are in danger of missing opening day, though all the other projected starters should play.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis (left knee) will play against the Jets — his former team – barring any unforeseen setback, Schiano said. Right guard Davin Joseph (right knee) — also a go. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn (right knee) – go.
Go, go, go.
“We came out pretty decently there, I think,’’ Schiano said. “Carl’s thing, that was kind of a freak thing that you can’t predict. And this last game kind of got us at a couple of positions. But that’s life in the NFL. When that happens you just have to figure it out and move on and figure out what’s the next best solution if guys are not going to be able to play.”
The Bucs have health concerns in three areas: running back, tight end and cornerback. Several players at those positions were injured during the team’s preseason finale on Thursday, a 30-12 loss to Washington at Raymond James Stadium.
Crabtree was the first to go down and his injury appears most serious. Schiano described his ankle sprain as “significant,’’ but was unsure how long Crabtree will be out.
The Bucs also lost backup running back candidates Mike James (eye) and Peyton Hillis (ankle) and reserve cornerback Rashaan Melvin (hamstring). Schiano was unsure of the severity of their injuries and the length of time each will be out.
He is sure to learn those details soon, though, because NFL teams only have until 6 p.m. Saturday to trim their rosters to the final 53-man limit.
“(Friday) and (Saturday) are going to be some long days,’’ Schiano said. “We’ll be doing a lot of thinking. There will be a lot of comparison discussions and then we’ll set the team.’’
They may not set it right away. The injury to Crabtree and those at running back and cornerback might force the Bucs to look outside the organization for help at those spots. For the most part, though, Schiano likes what he has to choose from among the 75 players remaining on the roster.
“I like our team,’’ Schiano said. “I like the names that we’re choosing from.’’