Jackson, who missed the latter stages of the team’s loss to Washington with a knee injury, has been unable to practice all week, although head coach Lovie Smith refused to call him out.
“We know what we would like to get accomplished,” Smith said. “If Vincent can’t go, that’s just a part of it. There has been times when Jameis has thrown to Vincent and Mike [Evans] hasn’t been there. It’s about the next guy stepping up. We feel like we still have enough weapons. It will still be about us establishing the run and when we get an opportunity. They’re single-high most of the time, so you are going to have some one-on-one matchups that we’ll have to win.
“If a veteran wakes up Sunday morning ready to go, trainer says he’s ready to go, we’re going to let him go. That’s why [we don’t rule guys out on Friday]. He didn’t have a broken leg or anything like that. He didn’t have a concussion. We’ll see, but that’s always the case with our veterans.”
For the Bucs, Jackson’s absence would hurt Winston, but it might not destroy him. Winston has played well in his last two games.
“When you play football you like to play your best ball always, but it doesn’t work like that most of the time,” Smith said. “[I’m] just pretty impressed to see [him] come off a bad performance – everything that could go wrong did – an you say, ‘Hey, this is what I need to clean up,’ and you go out there and do it. It’s impressive, but Jameis has been that way throughout. We know what happens when you have young players in general.”