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Bucs C Jensen Set To Return To Practice

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By: Scott Reynolds

Bucs center Ryan Jensen will be eligible to return to practice with the team on Wednesday. The news was first reported by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Tampa Bay has initiated a 21-day practice window for the Pro Bowler, who suffered a knee injury with ligament damage on the second day of training camp. That means that the ninth-year center has 21 days to practice with the Bucs before they have to activate him to the 53-man roster or place him back on injured reserve.

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs and C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Jensen could be eligible to play in Sunday’s game against the Panthers, although that’s unlikely as conditioning could be a factor, as he has not practiced for five months. Instead, he’s been diligently rehabbing his injured left knee since being placed on injured reserve on September 1. Jensen’s injury did not require surgery.

The Bucs have two games left this season – at home versus Carolina and an away game at Atlanta. If they win on Sunday the Bucs will win the NFC South in back-to-back years and make the playoffs. If practice goes well and his conditioning is right, Jensen could return to action in January for the postseason if he’s not ready sooner.

If Jensen’s knee feels right in practice the only issue could be stamina. It’s one thing for a defensive tackle like Vita Vea to return from a leg injury like he did in the 2020 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LV because Vea rotated in on the defensive line.

It’s difficult to rotate in a center during a game because of the continuity with the snaps to Brady and chemistry along the offensive line. If Jensen is going to return to the starting lineup at any point, he will have to be ready to play an entire game, which means over 50 snaps.

Jensen’s Return Could Give Bucs Offense An Emotional Spark

Bucs C Ryan Jensen

Bucs C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs signed Jensen to a lucrative, three-year deal worth $39 million this offseason. Jensen signed the deal on the eve of the start of free agency once he learned that future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady would be returning for a third season in Tampa Bay. Jensen’s deal is worth $13 million per season, making him the highest-paid tackle in the NFL.

Jensen’s leadership along the offensive line has been missed this season. His return to practice – and perhaps ultimately to a game – could be a very needed emotional boost for the offense. Second-year player Robert Hainsey has filled in admirably at center, but he lacks Jensen’s fire and brimstone attitude, in addition to his experience.

The Bucs have also missed Jensen’s rugged run blocking. Tampa Bay ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing this year with 1,155 yards, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. The offensive line has also struggled in pass protection, which has caused Brady to get rid of the ball quicker than he wants to on occasion.

The post Bucs C Jensen Set To Return To Practice appeared first on Pewter Report.

Originally posted on Pewter Report