EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WFLA) — After missing the entire week of practice due to the NFL COVID protocol, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians will be back on the sideline when the Bucs face the New York Jets this afternoon.
Arians, who tested positive for COVID early Tuesday, made it through the mandatory five-day isolation period before traveling to the team hotel in New Jersey.
Also returning from the reserve COVID list are cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting.
Wide receiver Mike Evans completed his own return from the COVID list but is questionable to play due to a hamstring injury suffered two weeks ago in a game against New Orleans.
“It will probably be a game-time decision between myself, Jason [Licht] and if BA (Bruce Arians) if he is around, then he will most likely be a part of that decision, as well,” interim coach Harold Goodwin said.
Evans would restore the wide receiver corps to its most effective level since the loss of Chris Godwin to an ACL injury, the same night as Evans’ injury.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown is also hopeful to play against the Jets, two days after aggravating his ankle.
Evans and Brown have averaged more than 13 yards per reception and have combined for 15 touchdowns. For Evans, an individual milestone is also at stake. He has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first seven seasons. Entering today’s game Evans has 899 yards.
The Bucs offensive line was nearly flawless a week against the Carolina Panthers. It must keep quarterback Tom Brady clean against the Jets, in a game that gives the Bucs another chance to run the football.
Goodwin spent the entire week overseeing practices, filling in for Arians. Goodwin’s main job on the Bucs staff is to control the running game and the offensive line is his responsibility.
“They know it’s a big game because we’re trying to get to that magic number where we have that possibility of getting that second seed,” Goodwin said. “So we have to win these two games.”