Like Tom Brady, Byron Leftwich believes Bucs healthy as ever entering playoffs

But the offensive coordinator deferred when asked about center Ryan Jensen.
Published Jan. 11|Updated Jan. 15

TAMPA — In terms of overall team health, the Bucs evidently are doubling down on their cautious optimism.

Two days after quarterback Tom Brady said on his weekly podcast that he believes the Bucs are “going to be as healthy as we’ve been all year” for Monday night’s playoff game against the Cowboys, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich echoed that sentiment.

“This is probably as healthy as we’ve been really since (organized team activities),” Leftwich told reporters Wednesday following a closed walk-through workout. “I mean, we were banged up in (organized team activities), so it’s good to have our guys out there.”

Whether that optimism signals the return of Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen remains unclear. On Monday, Brady said that Jensen, who’s still on injured reserve but returned to practice Dec. 28, has been “working pretty hard” and would be a “big boost” if he returned to action. Leftwich deferred to his boss, who won’t address the media again until Thursday.

“I’ll let (head coach) Todd (Bowles) answer that question,” he said. “But we’ll see.”

Offensively, the Bucs didn’t emerge from the regular-season finale in Atlanta unscathed. Receiver Russell Gage appeared to injure his back on a first-half touchdown catch from Blaine Gabbert, and veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph exited with a knee injury.

Additionally, Pro Bowl right tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle) was held out as a precaution, and left tackle Donovan Smith (foot) and receiver Julio Jones (knee) were deemed inactive.

The Bucs will hold their first full-scale practice of the week Thursday, with the initial Bucs-Cowboys injury report to be released afterward.

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

• • •

Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.