The NFL has strict return-to-play protocols for players following a concussion. So when cleared, a player is considered 100 percent ready.
Pro Bowl safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. was back in the lineup Sunday after missing two games because of a concussion. However, it seems Bucs defensive playcaller/head coach Todd Bowles wasn’t ready to consider Winfield 100 percent healthy.
Speaking Tuesday on the Buccaneers Radio Network, Bowles noted that he worked around Winfield’s brain when crafting the gameplan.
“He’s just coming off a concussion, so you don’t really want him up there in the action,” Bowles said of Winfield. “So we wanted him back patrolling the middle a little more. He’s our best middle field player as well. We wanted to make sure we has some sure tackling if [Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker] got out of there, and we were playing a little more man coverage so Sean [Murphy-Bunting] was more adequate to handle the slot. And Sean did a great job last week, as well. We kind of went with that lineup and we’ll see what we go with after the bye week.”
Joe gets Bowles’ thought process, but it really makes you wonder about concussions. If Winfield was 100 percent, then why be worried about keeping him out of “the action?”
And if he’s his brain wasn’t 100 percent, then what was he doing on the field?
On any NFL field, “the action” is everywhere. So Bowles’ comment is perplexing unless the Bucs weren’t sure if Winfield would be available Sunday in Germany.
Regardless, with a bye week, Winfield should be back to his old self — blitzing and bearing down on the Browns’ tough running backs when the Bucs return to the field in Cleveland.
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