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Buccaneers are playing the “long game” with Julio Jones

Chris Simms runs through some of his top headlines from Week 5 in the NFL, highlighted by the brutal roughing the passer call against Grady Jarrett that may have cost the Falcons a win over the Bucs.

The Buccaneers haven’t gotten much from receiver Julio Jones in September and October. They’re apparently not trying to.

Via, G.M. Jason Licht said before Sunday’ game that the team is “playing the long game here a little bit” with the veteran receiver, with the goal of having him healthy late in the year.

Coach Todd Bowles agreed with that assessment on Monday.

“Yeah, I think we are,” Bowles told reporters. “Again, just like Jason said, we want him fully healthy and not coming out for a week and then missing another couple [of] weeks. We think we’ve got enough guys right now to weather that storm.”

Bowles also was asked whether pain tolerance is an issue for Jones, who currently has a knee injury.

“Well, I don’t have the injury, so I’m not sure,” Bowles said. “His pain tolerance is very high, so I know he’s hurt. But when he’s back, we’ll be happy to have him. It’s just one of those things we have to wait and see.”

Jones has appeared in only two games this year, catching four passes for 76 yards. He signed a one-year, $6 million deal with a variety of incentives based on catches, yards, and team success.

He needs at least 50 catches or 600 yards to start earning the extra money based on performance. At this point, that’s highly unlikely.