Bucs tackle Donovan Smith doubtful for Packers game

It’s not looking good for the starting left tackle, but wide receiver Julio Jones and could play.
Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith (76) lays on the field after being injured during the Bucs' victory over the Cowboys earlier this month in Arlington, Texas.
Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith (76) lays on the field after being injured during the Bucs' victory over the Cowboys earlier this month in Arlington, Texas. [ MICHAEL AINSWORTH | AP ]
Published Sept. 23, 2022|Updated Sept. 24, 2022

TAMPA ― For the second straight game, the Bucs could be without the guy responsible for protecting Tom Brady’s blindside.

Left tackle Donovan Smith did not participate in practice Friday and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Packers.

Smith practiced Thursday for the first time since hyperextending his right elbow in Tampa Bay’s 19-3 win at Dallas in Week 1.

The Bucs placed backup tackle Josh Wells on injured reserve earlier this week with a calf injury.

If Smith is unable to play, the Bucs will start former Seminole High School and Florida Atlantic star Brandon Walton at left tackle. Walton played 44 offensive snaps in last week’s 20-10 win over the Saints.

In what may be an encouraging sign, wide receiver Julio Jones (knee) had limited participation in practice Friday and is questionable for Sunday’s game.

“I mean, we want him healthy,” Bowles said of Jones, who had three catches for 69 yards in a season-opening win at Dallas, including a 48-yard reception. “If he’s not healthy, he’s not going to play. It’s that simple.

“Julio will probably be a game-time decision. Donovan tried to practice some (Thursday). We’ll see how he feels on Sunday. ... Just giving him rest, and we’ll see how he feels on Sunday.”

Quarterback Tom Brady, who banged up the ring finger of his right throwing hand at New Orleans, had no problems although he was added to the injury report Friday.

“He’s ready to go. He’s full practice,” Bowles said. “He took every throw.”

Receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks were ruled out for Sunday’s game.

With Mike Evans serving a one-game suspension, the Bucs receivers who could be active include Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman, Scotty MIller, Jaelon Darden and Kaylon Geiger. However, Gage did not practice Friday and is questionable.

It’s also possible the team could elevate Cole Beasley from the practice squad.

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Bowles said that after three days of practice, he believed Beasley could play Sunday if asked to.

“I think he could. He’s quick, catches up to speed real fast,” Bowles said. “He understands the system, and he’s played and he’s got a lot of reps under him. So if we needed him, I think he’ll be ready.”

Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said Beasley has looked good in practice.

“He’s got fresh legs,” Leftwich said. “Cole is a veteran guy. When you first see him, you understand that he’s been around football a long time. You see why he’s had the success (that) he’s had. He’s very detailed — he’s come in and actually had two good days of practice. Obviously, it’s the first two days, but he looked good the first two days.

“We’re trying to get him caught up on the system, the wording, everything — where he’ll need to be, if he’s needed. We’re just trying to get everyone ready.”

Tight end Cade Otton was not at practice again Friday following the death of his mother, Sally. He is doubtful for Sunday’s game.

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