After an up and down game between the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers that resulted in a Buccaneer victory (26-23), the Bucs received news that they did not want to hear nearing the midpoint of the season with 2017 Pro-Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander and 2018 sixth-round pick Jack Cichy going down for the rest of the season with ACL injuries.
This is devastating for the Buccaneer defense, as Kwon Alexander is the vocal leader of the defense that played much better under Mark Duffner in his first game as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.
In addition, this blows for Alexander, due to the fact he is in a contract year (end of rookie deal). I do expect Kwon Alexander to still receive a solid offer from the Buccaneers, as he is loved from his teammates, fans, front office, and coaches.
The middle linebacker had tallied up 38 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one sack in this young season.
By the way, Jack Cichy came in on defensive plays when Kwon Alexander left the game, but later injured himself, which came out today as a torn ACL. This will be Cichy’s second ACL injury in his career and in back-to-back season (final year in college and first year in NFL). Cichy recorded his first tackle in yesterday’s win. Cichy is a key special team member.
Furthermore, with these two linebackers out, expect Adarius Taylor and Lavonte David to hold down the linebacker corps for the rest of the season until Kendell Beckwith returns from the non-football injury list to pair next to Lavonte David.
The team also has Cameron Lynch and Devante Bond on the roster, but the team has bought in Riley Bullough in for a workout and physical, according to Greg Auman of the Athletic. He reached an injury settlement with the Bucs earlier this year and is now eligible to be re-signed.
Finally, if the Bucs are forced to look out in the market for linebacker help, they could look at bringing in Kevin Minter, Brian Cushing, or Derrick Johnson.
Notes: Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported the Kwon Alexander confirmation of the injury and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first indicated that the Bucs feared Alexander had tore his ACL.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Cichy torn his ACL.