1:05 PM ET
Jenna LaineESPN Staff Writer
- Covered the Buccaneers since 2009
- Joined ESPN in 2016
TAMPA, Fla. — One day after Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians saw multiple drops from his wide receivers, tight ends and running backs, he got the good news that Chris Godwin, arguably his most sure-handed receiver, will be back this week against the Denver Broncos. He also said he’s not ready to make a change at running back.
Godwin missed Week 2’s game against the Carolina Panthers because of a concussion.
“Chris passed the protocol. He’s ready to go,” Arians said. “The one thing we know is how sure-handed he is. He’s not gonna drop too many, if any. I’m looking forward to having him back this week.”
Godwin missed two days of practice last week due to the concussion, which he suffered on a fourth-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit by D.J. Swearinger. He was able to return to some limited practice on Friday — the concussion protocol allows for light exercise, football-specific exercise and non-contact drills — but was not given clearance when tested Saturday.
Without him, the Bucs struggled — particularly in the second half, as quarterback Tom Brady had just 19 passing yards — although they still pulled out a 31-17 victory.
“Oh gosh, we dropped about 125 yards’ worth, about seven drops, two touchdowns — three touchdowns really,” Arians said. “Tom should have had a 400-yard day if we just catch it.”
Arians also said that despite Leonard Fournette‘s 103 yards rushing, two touchdowns and 13 receiving yards, he’s comfortable with Ronald Jones remaining the starter and isn’t making a change there. Jones rushed for 23 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for four yards.
“Not right now. I think everybody’s role is good right now. There’s no need for that. He still doesn’t know enough of this offense yet to be the starter,” Arians said of Fournette.
“I love the way it’s at right now. RoJo had a great run for a touchdown. Got us off. Had good blitz pickup. He did screw up the handoff on the draw, but that’s easily correctable. To have Leonard come in fresh-legged in the fourth quarter and pound it like that — very few teams have that combination. Shady did a good job on third down. I know that one catch he’d like to have back that he dropped. I thought our backs played really, really well, other than the handoff fumble.”