Sports

Grayson, Jones out; Bucs hopeful for JPP, Barrett

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians on Friday ruled out wide receiver Cyril Grayson and running back Ronald Jones for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Arians also said there would be about four game-time decisions with key players.

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Grayson, who stepped in for Antonio Brown in Week 17 and caught the game-winning touchdown from Tom Brady with 21 seconds remaining, suffered a hamstring injury in Week 18 and did not practice this week. He did make a brief cameo Wednesday, working with the training staff on the field before practice.

Jones, who stepped in after starter Leonard Fournette suffered a hamstring strain in Week 15, suffered an ankle injury in Week 17 and missed last week’s game and all of practice this week.

The question marks will be Fournette and linebackers Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David. David, Fournette and running back Giovani Bernard all were back at practice this week as part of their 21-day window to return from injured reserve and can be activated at any time.

“I feel pretty good about Shaq and JPP,” Arians said Friday. “Lavonte will be the most questionable, with Lenny.”

The team down shut Pierre-Paul after Week 15 so he could rest a torn rotator cuff that he’s been playing with, while Barrett suffered a sprained ACL and MCL in Week 16 and dealt with a bout of COVID-19 last week.

Barrett had a team-leading 10 sacks this season, and he led the Bucs last postseason in the category with four. Arians said he “looked fine” adjusting to wearing a bulky knee brace on his right knee.

David, a defensive captain and the team’s longest-tenured player, suffered a foot sprain in Week 15. The Bucs have struggled the last two weeks against the run, and it is again an area of concern vs. the Eagles’ top-rated rushing attack.

If Fournette can’t go, the team will rely on Ke’Shawn Vaughn and veteran Le’Veon Bell. Arians also feels Bernard is “pretty close,” so the team should have three, possibly four running backs on Sunday.

With Grayson being down, the Bucs signed veteran receiver John Brown, who was with Arians when he coached the Arizona Cardinals from 2014-2017, to the practice squad. The Bucs will lean on Breshad Perriman, Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller, along with veteran Mike Evans.

The team will have a final walk-through Saturday to finalize their preparations for Sunday’s game.

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