The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in frustrating fashion in Chicago, but the injury to Vita Vea may have been more disheartening
On Monday, the Buccaneers officially put Vea on injured reserve, effectively ending his season.
Bucs officially put DT Vita Vea on injured reserve today after his season-ending ankle injury. LB Jack Cichy also goes on IR, though not likely for very long (minimum three weeks).
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 12, 2020
Vea had been one of the most dominate nose tackles in 2020. His 90.4 grade by Pro Football Focus was top three for defensive tackles in the NFL, and his 92.3 grade was Tampa Bay’s highest on Thursday.
Vita Vea among interior DI:
🔺 90.4 PFF Grade (2nd)
🔺 90.3 Pass-Rush Grade (2nd)
Wishing a speedy recovery to Tampa Bay's promising young defender pic.twitter.com/7jn3VRD7yL
— PFF (@PFF) October 9, 2020
It will certainly be difficult to replace Vea, but Rakeem Nunez-Roches is a solid depth piece. With how strong the front seven is at this point in the year, someone is going to need to step up.
Demato Peko and Marcell Dareus could be potential replacements, but both are well into their careers, and aren’t on a team for a reason.
We’ll see how the Tampa Bay defense rebounds without Vea. The sky isn’t falling, but someone along the defensive line will need to step up in a big way.