Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has announced that the team will be without their star wide receiver Antonio Brown when they meet the Green Bay Packers. The Buccaneers, who are playing in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, won their first playoff game since 2002 and made it to the NFC Championship Game.
Brown, who suffered a knee injury against the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round last week, did no practice this week as he was listed day*to-day. Unfortunately for Brown and the Buccaneers, the All-Pro wide receiver did not progress the way they hoped he would and as a result he was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Packers.
"I just talked to him this morning, and to put him on the plane and fly up there and have it swell more doesn't make any sense," Arians said, as quoted on ESPN. "He wasn't as close as we'd hoped, so we'll get him ready for the next one."
Brown has a lot of experience
Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, has played in two championship games and one Super Bowl. The Buccaneers have an extremely talented roster but the game against the Packers will be the first championship game for the majority of Bucs players.
"It obviously sucks for Antonio. We wish he could be out there with us," Brady said. "Other guys are gonna have to step up and do the job. I've got a lot of confidence in the guys that haven't been out there as much when AB's been in there."
Coach Arians hoped that wide receiver Scotty Miller and rookie Tyler Johnson will step up in the absence of Brown. Arians certainly believes Miller and Johnson have what it takes to deliver in such a big game. "I think if you just look to last week, when Scotty and Tyler made those huge plays in the fourth quarter, the amount of trust that the coaches and Tom have in those guys just because they've earned it.
Their performances have earned it," Arians said. "Antonio will be missed, but we've got capable people stepping in." Meanwhile, defensive tackle Vita Vea -- who has been out since Week 5 -- is expected to be ready for the Packers game.
"He's looked real good. He's been running around for almost three weeks and had a real good practice yesterday and a good one today," Arians said.