Buccaneers Rumors: Julio Jones Looks Like 2019 Version of Himself at Training Camp

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 10, 2022

Julio Jones (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Julio Jones has reportedly impressed the team's staff since signing as a free agent in late July.

ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported Wednesday on Get Up a "very important Bucs source" said Jones has turned back the clock during training camp:

Get Up @GetUpESPN

A Bucs source told <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffDarlington?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JeffDarlington</a> that Julio Jones looks like the 2019 version of himself πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/6NJedZ3yUy">pic.twitter.com/6NJedZ3yUy</a>

In 2019, Jones recorded 99 catches for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games for the Atlanta Falcons.

Tampa added the seven-time Pro Bowl selection as insurance for the passing game amid some injury concerns for Tom Brady's group of targets.

Chris Godwin is recovering from a torn ACL suffered December, while Mike Evans (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (leg) have also missed time during camp. Russell Gage exited Wednesday's practice with a leg or foot injury, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

So it's possible Jones could play quite an important role for the Buccaneers when the regular season gets underway, especially if he's trending toward a return to form.

The 33-year-old University of Alabama product topped 1,300 receiving yards in six consecutive seasons with the Falcons beginning in 2014. He led the NFL in that category twice over the span (2015 and 2018).

He was limited to 19 appearances over the past two years because of injuries and scored just four touchdowns in those games, though.

Jones spent the 2021 campaign with the Tennessee Titans, tallying 31 catches for 434 yards and one score in 10 contests.

After the signing, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said the team would likely use the 6'3'', 220-pound target to help replace tight end Rob Gronkowski in key situations.

"He's still a good football player," Bowles told reporters. "We've got to replace Gronk's catches. We've got an extra weapon, especially in the red zone, out in the open field, we'll put him to use. It gives us a chance to be more creative in some of the things we do."

Given the injuries, however, Jones can probably expect more consistent involvement when the regular season gets underway Sept. 11 with a road game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Early returns from camp suggest he's ready for the return to a prominent role.


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