Kuechly playing vs. Bucs, who are without Grimes, McClain
The Bucs' inactives are as expected for today's home game against Carolina, with starting cornerbacks Brent Grimes (shoulder) and Robert McClain (concussion) both sidelined against Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Ryan Smith will start at outside corner in place of Grimes, and Javien Elliott is expected to step in as nickel -- they've played a combined five defensive snaps in the last four games, but will be counted on in key roles today as the Bucs try to end a three-game losing streak.
For Carolina, linebacker Luke Kuechly is active after being sidelined with his third concussion in as many seasons. The Panthers are without starting center Ryan Kalil, creating an opening up for the Bucs defensive tackles.
The Bucs are also without special-teams captain Josh Robinson, who misses a third straight game with a concussion; also inactive as healthy scratches are C Joe Hawley, OT Leonard Wester, TE Antony Auclair and DT Sealver Siliga. That means DE Ryan Russell returns after missing two games with a shoulder injury, and DE Darryl Tapp is active to make his Bucs debut, as is newly signed CB Deji Olatoye.