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Zach Triner's Injury Is A Bigger Deal Than It Seems

The Bucs' long snapper represents continuity on special teams.
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I think we can all agree that continuity was the number one topic surrounding the Buccaneers coming into 2021. The Bucs were better off than any other team in this regard thanks to their historic offseason.

But team has already lost two starters for the for the foreseeable future after just one week of play. One of those starters is long-snapper Zach Triner

A torn tendon in Triner's finger landed him on the short-term IR, but according to The Athletic's Greg Auman, the third-year snapper is expected to be out for 10-12 weeks. 

Triner has been with the Bucs since 2019 and has played in 36 straight games. He's a very solid player who rarely -if at all- makes mistakes. 

Bruce Arians knows Triner's value as a long-snapper and made that abundantly clear on Tuesday.

"I was really proud of him," Arians said in regard to finding out Triner suffered the injury during the second quarter of the Cowboys game and played through it. "I would have not been really happy to have somebody else snapping that ball to win the game. He gutted it out. He'll get fixed up and he'll be fine."

The penultimate sentence speaks volumes. And it's something to think about moving forward. 

Granted, it's the position of long-snapper, but at the same time, the ball is in the long-snapper's hands during clutch moments. Failing to execute during a game-winning field goal, just a regular field goal, or a punt that is positioned inside your own 20 can easily contribute to a loss. 

The Bucs haven't seen that from Triner. I couldn't find any numbers, but going off memory, I can't think of one high snap, mistimed snap, or just an off snap during a field goal attempt or a punt. Tampa Bay's new long-snapper is Carson Tinker, who has six seasons of experience that includes 69 game appearances. The trick with Tinker, however, is that he hasn't played in a regular season game since 2018. He was on the New York Giants' practice squad for a couple of years, but that's obviously apples-to-oranges when it comes to live game action. Will there be rust to shake off or will Tinker jump right in and swim?

Everything should be fine at the end of the day, but there's no guarantee the Bucs and Tinker will endure growing pains early on as they find their groove. Until the first punt or field goal, the question of "what if?" will linger, which makes Triner's injury a bigger deal than it initially seems.