Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Pro Tackle Returns to Practice

Despite their 6-7 record, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still the favorites to win the NFC South, but they'll need to iron out their offensive deficiencies if they want to make any noise in the playoffs. The return of their young superstar at right tackle could go a long way. Offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs returned to practice on Thursday. Wirfs has missed the past two weeks with a high-ankle sprain suffered in overtime of the Bucs' Week 12 23-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Wirfs has been by far the best offensive lineman for the team this year, earning an impressive 86.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus over his 11 appearances.

Wirfs has been one of the few bright spots on a miserable Buccaneers offense this year. They rank 28th in points scored, and a struggling offensive line has played its part. The Bucs rank dead last in rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt. Quarterback Tom Brady sports the best sack rate in the league at 3.0%, but that's mostly due to his 2.47 second release time, by far the fastest in the league.

Wirfs initially joined the Bucs as their 13th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the first pick of the Tom Brady era. He started all 16 games of his rookie season and four more games in the postseason during the Bucs' incredible Super Bowl run. He earned his first All-Pro in 2021.
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