Injured Bucs receivers hope to be back Sunday

Vincent “Batman” Jackson, eluding Jets safety Dawan Landry, sits out practice because of a rib injury sustained Sunday.
Vincent “Batman” Jackson, eluding Jets safety Dawan Landry, sits out practice because of a rib injury sustained Sunday.
Published Sept. 27, 2013

TAMPA — For the second straight day, the Bucs' top two receivers, Mike Williams (hamstring) and Vincent Jackson, (ribs) did not practice Thursday.

But Williams indicated he plans to play Sunday against the Cardinals. He quipped he never will miss a start — before knocking on the wooden wall of his locker. As for Jackson, Williams was optimistic.

"Batman will be back," Williams said, smiling. "You know Robin is going to be there. I'm Robin. He's Batman."

With rookie QB Mike Glennon making his first start Sunday, having the dynamic duo available will be important. No team has been as reliant on their main two receivers as the Bucs. The team also hasn't had a tight end presence with Tom Crabtree (ankle) still limited.

In the absence of Williams and Jackson, Kevin Ogletree, Eric Page and Russell Shepard have taken reps at practice. Only Ogletree had an NFL catch before last week.

Coach Greg Schiano said, "Any time you're not practicing, you're in danger," of missing a game. But Schiano didn't appear concerned about Jackson and Williams not having practice time with Glennon.

"You've got to go with the guys you're practicing with," Schiano said. "If Vincent and Mike are well, they'll play. They have cumulative reps together. Would it be better if they had the whole week together? Sure. But it's often that you don't get reps with guys because that's the nature of the beast."

Page, the primary kickoff and punt returner, stepped in last week due to injuries and had three catches for 55 yards. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder in his first season said he's getting more comfortable in the system and is ready to step in if needed.

"I thought (Page) did some good things," Schiano said. "He's getting better every day. He's made constant improvement."

EASING IN: Though LG Carl Nicks and RG Davin Joseph started together for the first time Sunday at New England, both are still working their way back into form.

Joseph, who missed all of last season due to a torn patellar tendon, is probably not there yet, Schiano said, because he hasn't had enough reps. "But I think he's playing at a high level," Schiano said. "Now the job is to shine it up and get better like all of us. He works incredibly hard. So he's getting better every day."

Nicks made his season debut after toe surgery and a MRSA infection and is playing his way into condition, Schiano said.

"That tells you how tough Carl Nicks is because he pushed through some discomfort," Schiano said. "If you can imagine not playing or practicing very much and then going and playing an NFL football game, he's one tough guy."

BALANCING ACT: For the first time in three games this season, S Dashon Goldson didn't commit a personal foul in Sunday's loss to the Patriots. Goldson, fined a combined $130,000 over the first two weeks due to hits, admitted he was a "little careful" against New England.

"Coach mentioned it before the game of being a little cautious," Goldson said. "But at the same time, I've got to play football. It's very tough.

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"When you've been trained a certain ways for years and you feel you've been doing it the correct way and everybody has been praising you on how you do it right and then all of a sudden it hits you that everybody's thinking you're a dirty player. I guess you've just got to continue to get better as a player and be smart at the same time."

Follow Joe Smith on Twitter at @TBTimes_JSmith.