While St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long will miss this week’s game against the Buccaneers with an ankle injury that will require surgery, the front four of the Rams still will provide an excellent test to the Tampa Bay offensive line on Sunday.
The Buccaneers struggled to open running lanes in the ground attack, and quarterback Josh McCown was under steady pressure for much of last Sunday afternoon against the Panthers.
Things went from bad to worse when newly acquired guard Logan Mankins went down early in the second quarter with a knee injury, which backup forced Garrett Gilkey into action.
Gilkey, who was signed off of waivers just seven days prior to the Panthers game and was still in the process of learning the playbook when his name was called on Sunday, spoke to PewterReport.com on Thursday during open locker room.
“It was definitely baptism by fire, but that’s the reality of the NFL,” Gilkey said. “You always have to be ready, you always have to be prepared. I didn’t know it would necessarily happen that early, but you always have to be ready. I think overall, I’m not happy with my performance. I don’t think I performed as well as I wanted to. That’s been a big emphasis this week to refine my technique, and just going through the basics.”
The former Browns seventh-round draft pick said despite not playing well, being able to get into game action with the first team for nearly three quarters will help him down the road.
“It’s extremely important. It’s a whole new offense, new guys, so that’s the best way to grow and get better. Although I didn’t perform how I wanted to, it was really beneficial for me. I hope it helps me in the long run.”
Logan Mankins was back at practice on Thursday and most likely starts on Sunday, but if the former Patriots standout is unable to go the Bucs could turn back to Gilkey who now at least has some reps and late success with the first team offense.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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