The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have quarterback Tom Brady under center against the visiting Green Bay Packers, but the availability of two other important offensive players might not be known until Sunday.
Brady, 45, is expected to regularly take Wednesdays off from practice. However, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Brady was “repeatedly shaking the ring finger of his right hand” during Thursday’s practice. Brady said on his “Let’s Go” podcast released on Monday that he did hurt the finger during last week’s win over New Orleans.
Brady was not listed on the injury report and coach Todd Bowles said on Friday that his quarterback is “ready to go, he’s full-practice. He took every throw.”
Bowles said wide receiver Julio Jones and tackle Donovan Smith could be game-time decisions.
Jones has been dealing with a knee injury while Smith hyperextended his right elbow in the season opener.
Bowles said Smith “tried to practice some” on Thursday and was rested on Friday to see how he feels come game day.
The Bucs definitely will be without wide receiver Mike Evans, who was suspended by the NFL for one game following his altercation against New Orleans last week. Chris Godwin also has not practiced this week due to a hamstring injury.
The team signed veteran Cole Beasley to add depth to the banged-up receiving corps.
“I don’t think it gets impacted too much,” Bowles said when asked how the injuries impact the game plan. “We’ve got guys that have played in this system. Obviously, there are different skill sets for each guy, but the system is the system and we’re going to run it how we run it.”
Bowles did said that running back Leonard Fournette, who has been playing through a minor hamstring injury, has “been fine.”
Fournette has logged 45 of the 53 carries for Bucs running backs through two weeks, with third-round rookie Rachaad White getting the other eight. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who led the team with 109 yards on 29 carries in the preseason, has yet to get a touch on offense during the regular season.
“He got better in every aspect of his ball game and it will be exciting when he gets his chance to play,” Bowles said of Vaughn. “Depending on the game plan and what we do depends on whether he plays more or less that week, but in the meantime he’ll work on special teams and when he gets his shot to go in there I expect to see the same Ke’Shawn I saw in the preseason.”
–Field Level Media