Todd Bowles Gives Key Update on Julio Jones’ Status

Julio Jones

Getty Julio Jones could return for Week 4 against Kansas City.

Things looked grim for Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Julio Jones as he sat out a second-consecutive game, but head coach Bowles downplayed it.

“I just know he could have played. We held him out,” Bowles told reporters after the game. “We want to make sure he’s healthy. He’ll probably be back out there next week.”

Jones sat out because of a “partially torn PCL in his knee” that won’t need surgery according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer via Pro Football Focus. Jones also didn’t warm up before the Sunday, September 25, game against the Green Bay Packers according to reporters at the game via Pro Football Talk.

Bowles reiterated on Monday, September 26, that Jones could play against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 2, but it will hinge on practice. The coach said the same for fellow injured starters — tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) and wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring).

“We’ll monitor practice and see where they are,” Bowles told reporters.

Tampa Bay’s offense struggled without Jones on Sunday against the Packers. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady completed only two passes beyond 20 yards and only six passes beyond 10 yards. The Bucs mustered 285 yards of total offense, turned the ball over twice, and didn’t score a touchdown until the final seconds.

Bowles didn’t pin missing Jones — or any other key players — as the reason for the offensive struggles. The Bucs played without star receivers Mike Evans and Godwin plus Smith at tackle.

“We didn’t have to have those guys to win this ball game, we just needed to play smart,” Bowles told the media on Sunday. “So, we weren’t waiting for anyone to come off the field and say, ‘If we would have had this’ — we had a chance to win this game.”

“We shot ourselves in the foot and that’s something we can’t do. Talent had nothing to do with the way we shot ourselves in the foot,” Bowles added.

Jones Still Plays at a High Level

Jones flashed his talent in the season opener with a 48-yard reception against the Dallas Cowboys. He finished with three catches for 69 yards, and he ran twice for 17 yards.

The Bucs signed Jones at the start of training camp, months after his release from the Tennessee Titans. A two-time All-Pro, Jones saw limited action in 2021 and 2020 due to injuries.

Bowles and company saw a rejuvenated Jones at training camp. Jones reiterated that he felt great as the season began.

He last put up big numbers in 2019 with 99 receptions for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. That led to his seventh Pro Bowl appearance.

The former Alabama star has 882 receptions, 13,399 yards, and 61 touchdowns in his career with the Atlanta Falcons, Titans, and Bucs.

Bucs Getting Evans Back

Tampa Bay will have more help for Week 4 with or without Jones. Evans returns from his one-game suspensions, which the league will make official on late Monday afternoon per Greg Auman of The Athletic.

The NFL suspended Evans for shoving New Orleans Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore to the ground during a brawl in Week 2. Evans has eight receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown this season.

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