Buccaneers Star Gets Encouraging Injury News

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Getty Anthony Barr #42 of the Dallas Cowboys tackles Chris Godwin #14 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Chris Godwin was knocked from Sunday’s 19-3 Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys, with an apparent leg injury, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ star wide receiver received encouraging news on Monday, September 12.

The injury Godwin suffered during the first half of Sunday’s game was a hamstring injury, league sources told Heavy, and the initial belief is that the injury is not serious.

Sunday night was Godwin’s first game action since tearing his ACL on December 19, 2021, against the division rival New Orleans Saints, and working his way back to getting on the practice field during the latter stages of training camp last month. Godwin did not return to the game after halftime, after being sidelined by the injury.

In his return to action, Godwin caught 3 passes for 35 yards, while averaging 11.7 yards per catch. The Buccaneers were fortunate to have Godwin in the opener, after he was initially listed as questionable.

The expectation, as of Monday, is that Godwin will not miss any significant time.

That would be the ideal scenario for Tom Brady and a Buccaneers’ offense that showed an ability to spread the ball around to secondary weapons like Jaelon Darden, who replaced Godwin, and a versatile role for newcomer Julio Jones.

Prior to getting injured last season, Godwin caught a career-high 98 passes for 1,103 yards, and 5 touchdowns. The Buccaneers are betting on a trio of Mike Evans, Godwin, and Jones, powering an offense around Brady in an NFC that has no clear-cut Super Bowl favorite, this season.

Buccaneers Finding a Role for Julio Jones

There were some tempered expectations for what Julio Jones’ role would be in the Buccaneers’ offense, following a disappointing 2021 campaign with the Tennessee Titans, but Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich got the veteran receiver involved early, often, and in myriad ways in his debut against the Cowboys.

Not only did the Buccaneers target Jones five times in the passing game, but also worked the ball into his hands on reverses and end-arounds, as well. Jones caught 3 of his 5 targets for 69 yards against the Cowboys, while adding 17 rushing yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry.

Jones, in one game, has already matched his total number of carries from the 2020 and 2019 campaigns with the Atlanta Falcons.

It would be easy to envision Jones’ usage continuing on this trajectory for the rest of the season, perhaps in a similar way to how the Falcons figured out how prolific Cordarrelle Patterson is as a running back.

Even prior to the regular season-opener against the Cowboys, Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles had high expectations for Jones, in his Tampa Bay arrival.

“He’s kind of gotten to the point where he’s returned to his old self,” Bowles told reporters, via CBS Sports. “Right now, he can play. We have a bunch of receivers that can play, so the pitch count should be kind of even depending on who we play and how we play it. We think he can lend a lot for us — we’ve just got to knock on wood and keep him healthy.”

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