Bucs can still produce, minus Jackson
TAMPA (FOX 13) - This isn't the first time the Buccaneers receiving corps will be without its leader. It happened last year, too.
Vincent Jackson was put on the injured reserve Tuesday with what the Bucs are calling an ACL injury.
"It's unfortunate," said receiver Adam Humphries. "Hopefully, it'll turn out to be not as bad as we think it is. Losing him is obviously a big deal."
Though he cannot physically participate, players say his veteran leadership will stick with them.
"The thing about Vince, he's that veteran, so his presence is what we really are used to, with Vincent anyway," said quarterback Jameis Winston. "If Vince was back in San Diego, we still would feel that presence in his leadership in that locker room."
There shouldn't be much of a drop-off, in terms of production, with Jackson out of the lineup. Mike Evans has been consistent this season, leading the team with four touchdowns and 449 yards receiving through the first five games.
Adam Humphries has been a steady force at slot receiver. Plus, the Bucs have two receivers who will return from injury in the coming weeks: Louis Murphy and Cecil Shorts III.
"It's the NFL business and the next guy has got to step up," said Shorts. "Everybody in that room would know what Vince brought to the table, so we're going to try and do our part and do the best we can."
Murphy, who just returned to practice this week, will not rush into game action following a knee injury of his own last season.
"You know, I'm just staying in my lane, consistently working out," said Murphy. "I feel great, so we'll just see how it goes."
Humphries and Donteea Dye, who the Bucs brought up from their practice squad this week, were rookies last year when they had to fill in for both Murphy and Jackson.
"I'm not really worried about me making an impact," said Dye. "I just want to be a part of winning games."
"This is the moment he's been waiting for," said Winston. "You know, he had a couple big catches in the game when Vincent got hurt (last year). We trust those guys and we're depending on them and they know that."
The rest of this season could depend on them, too.