The Bucs will likely be without starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (hamstring) and weakside linebacker Lavonte David (ankle), as neither have practiced this week or last. They’ll be replaced again by Kendell Beckwith and Adarius Glanton. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith raved about Beckwith’s performance against the Giants. He didn’t blink. He was very impressive, Smith said. Safety Keith Tandy has not practiced this week because of a hip injury. Safety T.J. Ward (hip) returned to practice. If neither Tandy nor Ward can go Thursday, the Bucs would be forced to rely on rookie Justin Evans, who has yet to make an NFL start and played only minimal snaps on defense prior to last week. — Jenna Laine
Obviously, I wish we would’ve won more games and it had gone better, McCown said after practice Wednesday. But I think we learned from it and they’re in the process of trying to build their own thing there.
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Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was asked after Wednesday’s practice if he’s afraid this could be a trap game for the Jets, although it’s hard to label it that since it is virtually a pick’em in Las Vegas.
Nah, I’m not afraid, are you? Wilkerson asked reporters. Nah, nobody is afraid. We’re going to execute and do our job. We don’t care about their record.
The Jets’ defense, led by rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, and defensive end Kony Ealy, has been on fire their last two games, allowing only two touchdowns, including one on the last play of the Miami game that didn’t affect the outcome. It also has three interceptions and four sacks in that stretch.
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And the running game came alive last week for a season-high 256 yards behind career days from Bilal Powell (163 yards, touchdown) and rookie Elijah McGuire (93 yards, TD). With Matt Forte again questionable to play because of turf toe, the running game will likely lean heavily on these two again.