TAMPA — Brandon Walton waited parts of three seasons and was with three NFL teams before getting any extended playing time.
Until Sunday, his career consisted of only four special teams snaps with the Bucs in the opening week at Dallas.
That’s when the former Seminole High and Florida Atlantic star was pressed into action for 44 snaps at left tackle in the 20-10 win over the Saints.
Walton replaced left tackle Josh Wells, who left the game with a calf injury. Wells started the game in place of Donovan Smith, who is recovering from a hyperextended elbow.
“He really battled,” coach Todd Bowles said of Walton. “... We thought he fought hard, we thought he held his own and we thought he did some good things in there. (We’re) very happy to see what he did when he came in.”
Walton was solid in pass protection, allowing Tom Brady plenty of time to connect with receiver Breshad Perriman on a 28-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. If he continues to improve, Walton may become the Bucs’ best option at tackle should another injury occur.
Bowles wouldn’t indicate if the Bucs will have Wells and/or Smith back by Sunday.
“They’re banged up pretty good,” he said.
Veteran rest days
Brady is 45, the oldest player on the oldest NFL roster. As such, Bowles confirmed that the quarterback has earned some days off. In fact, he’s begun to take every Wednesday off from practice.
“It’s not a personal day, it’s a rest day. It’s also Julio (Jones’) rest day,” Bowles said. “And then we have Chris (Godwin) on Thursday, Mike (Evans) and Lavonte (David) on Friday, so it’s not just him. We have guys (that) we have designated days off for after games to help them recover quicker and do things.”
Bowles was asked how optimistic he is that Jones (knee) would play against the Packers.
“We’ll see how he recovers,” Bowles said. “Again, we’ve got a long week ahead of us and I can’t make that decision without seeing him.”
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