Conte (knee) was a full participant in practice Saturday but is questionable for Monday's game against the Steelers, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Conte suffered a knee injury in Week 2's win over the Eagles and was limited in practice early this week as a result. Although he is still questionable, his full participation in practice Saturday is a reassuring sign. Look for a final decision to be made just before kickoff on Monday night. If he is ruled out, Justin Evans will likely see an increased defensive role.
Conte is doubtful to return to Sunday's game against the Eagles due to a knee injury, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports. As long as Conte remains sidelined, the Buccaneers' will remain without their starting free safety. Second-year player Justin Evans stands to receive an increased defensive role if Conte is unable to return. The severity of the veteran's injury remains undisclosed, so expect an update on Conte's status after the conclusion of Sunday's game.
Conte intercepted a pass intended for DeSean Jackson in Thursday's "mock game" and recorded a pick during Wednesday's practice as well, Carmen Vitali of the team's official site reports. The veteran safety saw his team option exercised after the 2017 season, despite the secondary's overall struggles. He's opened camp in good form, and he still slots in as the starting strong safety as preseason approaches. However, Justin Evans (ankle), a 2017 second-round pick who posted 66 tackles, six passes defensed and three interceptions in his rookie year, figures to push Conte throughout the remainder of the summer.
Conte totaled 77 tackles (62 solo), three forced fumbles, one interception and eight passes defensed over 16 games in the 2017 season. The veteran safety's tackle total was the third-highest of his career, while the trio of forced fumbles was a personal best. Conte extended a career-long streak of notching at least one interception a season to seven campaigns as well, but he was also a pivotal part of a Buccaneers secondary that surrendered the most total passing yards (4,169) and yards per game (261) in 2017. On the books for a reasonable $2.25 million in 2018, Conte is a likely candidate to return, although the emergence of 2017 second-round pick Justin Evans and the likelihood that the team looks to upgrade the position overall in both free agency and the draft could certainly leave Conte with an uphill battle for playing time.
Conte posted nine tackles (eight solo) and a pass defensed in Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Panthers. The veteran safety enjoyed a productive outing from an IDP standpoint for the third consecutive week, with his tackle total equaling a season high. Conte has posted between six and nine stops in his last three contests, his best multigame stretch of the campaign. His hold on the starting strong safety job makes him an appealing fantasy option in Week 17 against a Saints team that places a lot more emphasis on the run than in previous seasons.
|11||11/18||@New York Giants||28|
|12||11/25||San Francisco 49ers||14|
|14||12/09||New Orleans Saints||20|