Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Falcons WR Julio Jones presents 'big problem' to Bucs

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has 56 catches and six touchdowns in eight career games against the Bucs.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times (2014)

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has 56 catches and six touchdowns in eight career games against the Bucs.

TAMPA — The Bucs invested to upgrade their defensive secondary in the offseason, drafting Vernon Hargreaves in the first round and signing Pro Bowl veteran Brent Grimes at cornerback.

That new pass defense gets a stern test right away Sunday in the season opener against Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones, who led the NFL with 1,871 receiving yards last season.

"He's a big problem," Bucs CB Alterraun Verner said Monday. "Somebody that you definitely love to have on your team, somebody that you hate guarding against. But that type of challenge, I think, is what we all fuel off of … whoever is going to be guarding him is going to have an opportunity to make a play on the ball. So it's very exciting, especially Week 1, to go against somebody that caliber."

Jones, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, has played well against the Bucs; he had 12 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting last season, then eight for 93 in the second, both Bucs wins. For his career he averages seven catches for 116 yards, with six career touchdowns in eight games, against Tampa Bay.

"I think they really have a big three right now," coach Dirk Koetter said of Atlanta's Jones, QB Matt Ryan and RB Devonta Freeman. "They have three really, really fine football players — 'game wreckers' as we like to call them."

Tweaking: The Bucs continue to look at options to upgrade, not only signing WR Cecil Shorts on Tuesday but working out several other players. That included former Falcons RB Jacquizz Rodgers, who played under Koetter in Atlanta from 2012-14 and could address two areas of concern: The No. 3 running back job and the still-open kickoff return job. Rodgers left without signing, and the Bucs also looked at former Florida State RB Antone Smith, who also played under Koetter in Atlanta.

This and that: The Bucs issued their first regular-season depth chart, with three jobs too close to call. The starting tight end job was listed as Cameron Brate or Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and the corner opposite Grimes was listed as either Verner or Hargreaves. The primary kickoff return job listed rookie S Ryan Smith or WR Adam Humphries. … Clearwater High graduate Jeremiah George, a third-year linebacker who was among the Bucs' final cuts, was signed Tuesday to the Cowboys' practice squad. … Rookie LB Luke Rhodes, cut on Friday, worked out for the Jaguars but was not immediately signed to their practice squad.

Falcons WR Julio Jones presents 'big problem' to Bucs 09/06/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Muslim faith greater than fear for Wharton's Rania Samhouri (w/video)

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    TAMPA — Rania Samhouri graduated Monday night from Wharton High School, and many times throughout the ceremony she flashed back to a moment that changed her life.

     Rania Samhouri stretches after track practice on Monday April 24, 2017 at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. Rania, who is Muslim, recently started wearing her hijab during track competitions. She graduates from Wharton this year and will attend University of South Florida on scholarship next year.
  2. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  3. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  4. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.