Tom Brady has yet to play very many snaps this season with the full arsenal of Bucs offensive weapons given all the injuries. The news means Ronald Jones will likely get the bulk of the carries while rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn is expected to get work as well. Fournette was not able to make enough of a recovery from an ankle injury, while Godwin continues to deal with a hamstring issue. The Buccaneers could be without two key receivers as Scotty Miller is listed as questionable with a hip injury.
The Chargers will also be short-handed with injuries to a number of key players including wide receiver Mike Williams and quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Tampa Bay will face a depleted Los Angeles offensive line with Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner both ruled out as well.
The Buccaneers Are Expected to Involve Tyler Johnson in the Offense vs. Chargers
With such a quick turnaround in Week 5, it will be interesting to see if either player is able to make it back in time for the Bucs’ Thursday night matchup against the Bears. The good news is the Buccaneers are expected to get more of an extended look at rookie wide receiver Tyler Johnson.
“It’s the ‘next man up’ at that position,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told ESPN. “We’ve got guys. Tyler [Johnson] got his first action last week, he’s had a couple good weeks of practice. We’ve got Justin [Watson] back, who’s had a heck of a camp. It’s not like we’re empty. So we’ve got enough guys — [Jaydon] Mickens, [Cyril] Grayson — we’ve got enough guys to fill the void at wide receiver. I’m not as concerned with that as I would be if we lost one more.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Godwin is dealing with a “mild hamstring pull” that should not sideline the receiver beyond Week 5.
“Bucs productive WR Chris Godwin had his MRI yesterday, and the test confirmed a mild hamstring pull, source said,” Rapoport noted on Twitter. “He’s out this week, and based on the schedule, potentially next Thursday vs the #Bears. But shouldn’t be much more after that.”
Arians Told Vaughn: ‘Your Time’s Coming’
The Buccaneers running back rotation has been hard to predict with Jones and Fournette receiving a variable amount of carries from week to week. Arians praised Vaughn leading up to the team’s matchup with the Chargers. All indications are Vaughn will receive some carries in Week 4 with Fournette sidelined.
“Arians says he likes what he’s seen from rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, said he told him this week to be prepared: ‘Your time’s coming,'” The Athletic’s Greg Auman tweeted.
If Vaughn has success against the Chargers, it could cloud the Tampa Bay running back picture even more when Fournette returns. This is good news for the Buccaneers offense as it gives opposing defenses one more player to prepare for, but it could be even more perplexing for fantasy players with an already hard-to-predict backfield.