Bucs Make Final Call on Julio Jones, Chris Godwin vs. Chiefs

Julio Jones

Getty Julio Jones warming up before a Week 4 game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will have a full fleet on “Sunday Night Football” against the Kansas City Chiefs.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that star receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones will play in the Sunday, October 2, showdown. Receiver Russell Gage will also play per prior reports via NFL Network.

Godwin missed the past two games due to a hamstring injury, and Jones likewise missed that stretch over a knee injury. Both finished the week listed as questionable for the game on the injury report. They also practiced twice during the week and sat out from practice one day each.

Bucs head coach Todd Bowles previously said all three receivers “will be game-time decisions” during his press conference on September 30. Bowles noted that health remained the key priority for Godwin and Jones in the final decision. Gage played the previous week against the Green Bay Packers.

Tampa Bay’s offensive health improves on top of that with star receiver Mike Evans returning from a one-game suspension. He got ejected in Week 2 after his altercation with New Orleans Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore, which led to the suspension.

Missing star power showed last week in the Bucs’ 14-12 loss at home to the Packers. Brady didn’t lead a touchdown drive until the final minute of the game, and he heavily relied on Gage to get the job done. Gage caught 12 passes for 87 yards and one touchdown.

Brady averaged only 6.5 yards per completion, now his current season average. He hasn’t thrown for a better average since  Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, 7.9 yards per completion, when he had his full arsenal.

Evans, Jones, and Godwin can all stretch the field, which had been the hallmark of the Bucs offense the past two seasons with Brady and a star-studded cast. Jones and Evans own the longest catches of the season — 48 and 41 yards respectively. The Bucs’ big three average 11.7 yards or better per reception.

Bucs Call Up Cole Beasley

Tampa Bay added some depth at receiver on October 1 for the Chiefs game as the team moved Cole Beasley up from the practice squad. Beasley caught three passes for 12 yards in his debut with the Bucs last week, only days after his signing with the team.

Beasley could become a bigger threat in the offense over time amid his prior success in Buffalo. He caught 82 passes each of the past two seasons, and he tallied 1,660 yards and five touchdowns in that span.

Donovan Smith Returns

The Bucs also have starting tackle Donovan Smith returning from a hyperextended elbow per Rapoport, Darlington, and Schefter. Smith missed the past two games after he sustained the injury at Dallas. Tampa Bay patched the hole with Josh Wells, who went down with an injury in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, followed by Brandon Walton.

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