Grayson, Jones out; Bucs hopes for JPP, Barrett

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TAMPA, Fla. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians on Friday ruled out wide receiver Cyril Grayson and running back Ronald Jones for Sunday’s wildcard playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Arians also said there would be about four match-time decisions with key players.

Grayson, who stepped in for Antonio Brown in Week 17 and captured the battle-winning touchdown from Tom Brady with 21 seconds left, suffered a hamstring injury in Week 18 and did not train this week. He made a brief cameo on Wednesday where he worked with the training staff on the field before training.

Jones, who stepped in after starter Leonard Fournette suffered a hamstring strain in week 15, suffered an ankle injury in week 17 and missed last week’s match and the entire training session this week.

The question mark will be Fournette and linebackers Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David. David, Fournette and running back Giovani Bernard were all back for training this week as part of their 21-day window to return from injured reserve and can be activated at any time.

“I’m pretty good with Shaq and JPP,” Arians said Friday. “Lavonte will be the most dubious with Lenny.”

The team shut Pierre-Paul down after week 15 so he could rest a torn rotator cuff that he has played with, while Barrett got a sprained ACL and MCL in week 16 and handled a round of COVID-19 last week.

Barrett had 10 leading teams this season and he led Buc’s final postseason in the category of four. Arians said he “looked fine” by getting used to wearing a bulky knee brace on his right knee.

David, a defensive captain and the team’s longest regular player, got a foot sprain in week 15. The Bucs have been battling the run-up for the last two weeks and it’s a problem area vs. Eagles’ highest rated rushing attack.

If Fournette can not go, the team will rely on Ke’Shawn Vaughn and veteran Le’Veon Bell. The Arians also feel Bernard is “pretty close,” so the team should have three, possibly four running backs on Sunday.

When Grayson was down, Bucs signed veteran receiver John Brown, who was with the Arians when he coached the Arizona Cardinals from 2014-2017, to the training team. The Bucs will lean on Breshad Perriman, Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller along with veteran Mike Evans.

The team will have one last review on Saturday to complete their preparations for Sunday’s match.

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