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Tampa Bay Buccaneers without cornerback Brent Grimes vs. New Orleans Saints | Updated: 2018-09-09 07:00:20

NEW ORLEANS - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without top cornerback Brent Grimes against the New Orleans Saints Sunday.

Grimes, who was set to make his 120th start Sunday, suffered a groin injury during Friday's practice and did not travel with the team, leaving a young and inexperienced secondary vulnerable against Drew Brees and one of the league's top offenses.

The Bucs' No. 2 cornerback, former first-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves, struggled last season and had to fight off rookie Carlton Davis during training camp to keep his job.

Hargreaves was able to keep his job as a starter, but Grimes' absence creates a lot of potential shuffling of the Bucs' defensive backfield because Hargreaves moves inside during nickel situations.

The Bucs could leave him outside the whole game, having Davis start opposite him, or third-year corner Ryan Smith, who started 10 games last year but at times was a liability.

At nickel, they could have rookie M.J. Stewart, who just returned to practice this week from a foot injury, or Javien Elliott, who was called up from the practice squad after DeVante Harris was placed on injured reserve.

They could also move second-year safety Justin Evans to nickel, and move rookie Jordan Whitehead into the lineup, something they experimented with during training camp.

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