According to NFL on Fox’s Sara Walsh, Bucs running back Leonard Fournette didn’t suffer a major setback this week. Although most expected the Bucs top rusher to return against the Eagles, head coach Bruce Arians explained to Walsh that Fournette wasn’t 100 percent. It’s been clear the team’s desire is for players to be as close to full strength as possible before returning.
“It’s just a little tweak (to the hamstring),” Arians told Walsh. “He wasn’t full speed when he really opened up. Tried to push off a couple times. It caught him. So we’re just going to be very cautious with him.”
Fournette leads the Bucs with 812 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this season. He’s also added 69 catches for 454 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Without Fournette and backup Ronald Jones, the Bucs will turn to their depth. Giovani Bernard makes his return after missing four games with an injury. He’ll likely play on the majority of third downs and obvious passing situations. The veteran back has just eight carries for 58 yards, but caught three touchdowns this season.
On the ground, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell will help Bernard shoulder the load. Vaughn has 36 carries for 180 yards on the season, while Bell has toted eight times for 18 yards. The Eagles enter Sunday’s game as the NFL’s fifth-best run defense, allowing just four yards per carry. Bernard and Vaughn will need to play their best football to help the Bucs win this game.