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Tom Brady-Julio Jones Chemistry, Chris Godwin's Status & More | Brianna's Blitz 

Top Quotes from the podium and open locker room as Week One approaches

Bri's Blitz Sept 8

Chris Godwin Likely a Game-Time Decision for Sunday 

The main priority for wide receiver Chris Godwin and the Buccaneers is to have him healthy down the stretch of the season. After nearly nine months since Godwin tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee on December 19 against the Saints in Week 15, it is a possibility he could suit up on Sunday in Dallas. Godwin was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, donning an orange no-contact jersey, but did not practice on Thursday. When asked on Thursday where he stood in regards to a return versus the Cowboys, he described a two-part determinator. 

"Honestly, I think it's a very complicated process," Godwin said. "Obviously, any time you come off a major injury like this you never really know how you're going to feel. I've been doing really well. You guys have seen me out there practicing; I've been doing a lot of stuff. Each day is very different from the day before. So, I think ultimately what it comes down to is just, one, how I'm feeling and then, two, the discussion that I have with Coach [Todd] Bowles and the training staff. I think whenever the time comes for the game, I think everybody will know, but until then even I'm not sure."

He confirmed that his availability for Sunday's opener will be a "game-time decision." Surprisingly, the nature of the injury – tackled through the legs by P.J. Williams – has given Godwin peace of mind. In contrast to players who have endured non-contact ACL injuries from a sudden stop or change in direction, Godwin believes his contact injury will give him less to worry about when he steps on turf, again. 

"Mine was a contact injury, so I don't really have any concerns about running and cutting, like some guys might whenever they have a non-contact injury. I would imagine once I get that first hit, it's just back to ball."

Synergy Between Tom Brady and Julio Jones

The Buccaneers sent shockwaves through the football world in July, adding to their offensive arsenal. Tampa Bay signed seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones to a one-year deal. After giving the Bucs' defense fits over the years with his precision on routes and ability to win over the top, Jones joined his former NFC South rival. He spent the 2021 season with the Titans after a sensational career with the Falcons, spanning a decade. Throughout his illustrious career, Jones has seven seasons eclipsing the 1,000-yard marker. Jones battled injuries with Tennessee last season but has no "lingering" issues to begin the 2022 slate. It did not take long for Jones to gain camaraderie with the Bucs' 45-year-old quarterback – both of whom will one day be enshrined in Canton for their respective contributions.

"These are veteran guys that have played a lot of football," Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich described. "Both of those guys are going to have gold jackets. It took these guys two, three days to get acclimated when they were here. And then it's verbal, some of it's physical – some of it you need to be on the grass for, some of it you don't. It's really just communication back and forth about how things are really going to be operating. So, I think they're in a good spot."

No. 6 will be one to watch during the Sunday Night Football clash.

Rachaad White Debut

The Buccaneers' third-round draft pick Rachaad White impressed throughout camp, showcasing his shiftiness in space on kick returns, screens and outside zone runs. He adds a creative wrinkle to Tampa Bay's offense and the Pac-12 speedster garnered praise from Leftwich on Thursday.

"He will have a role – it's Week 1," Leftwich stated. "Obviously, he came in and had a heck of a camp – a hell of a camp. He's a real adult kid. He's a rookie, but he acts like he's been in this league before. So, we'll see what his role is. As the year goes on, his role will show itself, but right now, we're just ready to play. We're just ready to go out and play – try to execute and try to find a win to the football game [on] Sunday night."

White's balance when jump-cutting, acceleration getting north and body control as a receiver flashed on film at Arizona State. Now, he has the potential to elevate the Bucs' offense in 2022. White will make his debut on Sunday in Dallas, seeking to make his mark as a pro athlete.

A Look at the Cowboys' Defense

Tampa Bay's high-powered offense with Tom Brady at the helm, will face a Cowboys' defense that led the league in takeaways in 2021 and finished in the top 10 in points allowed. In Dan Quinn's 4-3 base, hybrid sub-package system, players thrive. The Cowboys' identity shifted to the defense last year as Micah Parsons spearheaded the team's resurgence. From blitzing through the A-gap to dropping back in coverage, Parsons became the club's Swiss Army Knife. Quinn creates beneficial one-on-one pass-rush situations, complementing personnel. On Thursday from the podium, Brady discussed the upcoming matchup.

"They're a good football team. They have a lot of dynamic players in the pass rush, at linebacker. In the secondary, Trevon [Diggs] is a great player – led the league in interceptions last year. Micah [Parsons] is a hell of a player all over the field – they line him up at linebacker, defensive end, he rushes a lot, covers well. DeMarcus Lawrence is a great player. They rush the passer, I think they have a good scheme, they mix things up quite a bit. We're playing them at home and they've got a very good offense, so they're a tough team to beat. It's going to be a big challenge for the opener."

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