Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl Center to Miss Regular Season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without their veteran leader on the offensive line for a second consecutive season. General Manager Jason Licht announced Saturday evening that Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen will be placed on injured reserve due to complications surrounding a lingering knee injury suffered in 2022.
Jensen went down during July of last year's training camp, tearing his ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus. He missed the entirety of the regular season, and the Bucs offensive line struggled badly in his absence, finishing dead last in rushing yards per game (76.9) and rushing yards per attempt (3.4).

Jensen managed to avoid surgery and return for the Bucs' one and only postseason game, a 31-14 thrashing at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. That lone start appears to have come with a significant cost; the current expectation is he has played his last down of professional football.

Jensen's untimely injury was one of many setbacks that derailed quarterback Tom Brady's final season with the Bucs, and its ripples will now be felt all through what's looking more and more like a transitional year for the Bucs. Jensen's expected return was one of the few reasons for optimism on the Bucs' offensive line; they'll also be without long-time left tackle Donovan Smith, who left in free agency for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Bucs allowed a league-best 2.8% sack rate in 2022, but a lot of that had to do with Brady's veteran savvy and quick release. It's very likely starting quarterback Baker Mayfield (and his 7.0% sack rate) will be under siege like he has seldom been in his NFL career. It'll take a Herculean effort and an AP Comeback Player of the Year-worthy campaign from the former No. 1 overall pick for the Bucs to compete this year.
Photo Credit: © Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports