The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who moved their football operations to South Florida to avoid Hurricane Ian, remain hopeful of being able to return home to play the Chiefs on Sunday night.
The Buccaneers practiced at the Dolphins’ training facility on Wednesday, describing the experience as different but insisting the disruption to their routine will not hinder their ability to prepare for the team they beat in the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
Family members, and even some pets, accompanied players and coaches in relocating ahead of the storm making landfall on Florida’s west coast.
“The biggest challenge, I think we’ve already cleared, is just keeping their families safe. Everyone’s loved ones are safe, and that’s No. 1. Houses, and the monetary things, you don’t really worry about. If the family’s safe, you can kind of concentrate on football,” coach Todd Bowles said.
NFL executive Jeff Miller said that the game was still scheduled to be played in Tampa on Sunday night.
If the teams can’t play at Raymond James Stadium — a decision that could be made as late as Friday — the much-anticipated matchup will be moved to Minneapolis.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, are hopeful that Harrison Butker, their big-legged kicker whom they so sorely missed last week in Indianapolis, will be able to return, wherever the game is played.
The Chiefs used journeyman Matt Ammendola the past two weeks in place of Butker, who sprained his plant ankle when he slipped on the shoddy turf in Arizona in Week 1.
Wilson to start for Jets
Zach Wilson was back under center for the Jets, taking snaps and preparing to start for the first time this season.
“It’s the happiest I’ve been in a month,” the second-year quarterback said with a big smile.
Coach Robert Saleh announced Wilson will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday “if all goes well this week” at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery.
Wilson had been ramping up workouts in recent weeks, but Saleh said Monday the Jets were waiting for the quarterback’s doctors to clear him before making a decision about this week. Wilson was able to fully practice Wednesday.
“I’m 100 percent,” Wilson said. “I’m ready to go.”
Chargers’ Bosa placed on IR
The Chargers placed outside linebacker Joey Bosa on injured reserve with a torn groin. He will undergo surgery and coach Brandon Staley said that he is hopeful Bosa can return later in the season. Bosa tore his groin during the first quarter of last Sunday’s 38-10 loss to the Jaguars. Bosa, who is in his seventh season, was expected to team up with Khalil Mack to form one of the top pass rushing duos in the league. During the first two games, things had gone according to plan as they combined for 5½ sacks, 20 quarterback pressures, and 13 hurries. “Those guys were playing so well together, so that part is tough,” said Staley. “The good news is that we do have Khalil Mack. That’s the thing about building a team, you want to build a team that can withstand the NFL because that’s part of it.” … Just when it appeared Christian McCaffrey was looking healthy and rounding into form, the Panthers’ star running back is dealing with another setback. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said McCaffrey has a quadriceps injury. McCaffrey doesn’t normally practice on Wednesdays because the team is taking measures to limit his workload given his history of injuries, but this week is a little different than normal as his absence is considered injury-related. Rhule said McCaffrey’s injury is something that “popped up” on Monday after the team’s 22-14 win against the Saints on Sunday. He is currently tied for fifth in the league in rushing with 243 yards … Saints quarterback Jameis Winston said he’s preparing to start in the NFL’s first international game this year after being held out of practice with a back injury that has plagued him all season. “They told me I wasn’t practicing. It wasn’t my choice,” Winston said. “I’m preparing like every week — preparing to play.” Winston, who has also dealt with an ankle injury, has been sacked 11 times in three games …Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett stayed home to rest and recover Wednesday from injuries suffered in a single-car crash as his status for Sunday’s at Atlanta remains in doubt … The Bills reinforced their injury-thinned secondary by signing veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the practice squad. Rhodes, an All-Pro in 2017, has nine seasons of NFL experience.