Trio of Key Buccaneers Return to Practice

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are desperate to build some positive momentum after a frustrating 3-3 start to the season, and they'll need peak health if they're going to do it. Thankfully, wide receiver Julio Jones, guard Shaq Mason, and defensive lineman Logan Hall all practiced Thursday, putting them on pace to potentially play in Week 7's NFC South showdown with the Carolina Panthers. Mason and Hall were nicked up in the Bucs' disappointing Week 6 20-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones has been largely unavailable with a lingering knee injury suffered in Week 1. He briefly returned in Week 4 for 18 snaps but has sat out both games since.

Mason has been a competent starter at right guard this season, earning a 65.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus over his 409 snaps. He was a star as recently as last year for the New England Patriots, earning an impressive 85.2 overall grade.

Jones, a future Hall of Famer at wide receiver, has struggled to stay on the field in recent years, missing 18 games since 2020. When available, he remains productive, averaging 10.4 yards per target and 61.0 yards per game over that same period.

Hall was the Bucs' 33rd overall pick in this year's draft. The 6-6 defensive lineman has notched 2.0 sacks and five tackles for loss while playing limited snaps in a rotational role this season. 

If the first six weeks of the season are any indication, the Bucs won't get away with fielding anything but their best talent going forward. They've dominated the Panthers in recent years, outscoring their divisional rivals 150-63 across four straight wins, but these may not be the same Bucs. After finishing third in scoring in 2020 and second in 2021, they rank 20th through six games this year. 
Photo Credit: © Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports