The Bucs sneaked past the Washington Football Team in an unexpectedly exciting wild-card showdown on Saturday night, but they did sustain one major casualty. Head coach Bruce Arians told reporters after the game that starting right guard Alex Cappa suffered a fractured ankle, which almost certainly will rule him out for the remainder of Tampa’s playoff run.
Cappa, a product of D-II Humboldt State, has turned himself into an effective NFL O-lineman. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 18th-best guard in the league this year (out of 84 qualifiers), and when he exited last night’s game, his absence was noticeable.
Ted Larsen filled in for Cappa, but as Greg Auman of The Athletic notes, the Bucs could also turn to Aaron Stinnie or Joe Haeg for their divisional round contest against either the Saints or Rams. Haeg is easily the more experienced of the two, as he has appeared in 67 games (38 starts) in his pro career. Stinnie has appeared in 12 games with no starts.
As a third-round selection in 2018, Cappa will be eligible for an extension at the end of the year. One wonders if GM Jason Licht will consider a new contract for his small-school find, or if he will make Cappa sustain his success through a platform season.