Tampa Bay’s running back woes could finally be coming to an end. Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio with co-host Gil Brandt and me, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said Friday night there is optimism that starter Doug Martin can return to practice from a hamstr
Tampa Bay’s running back woes could finally be coming to an end.
Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio with co-host Gil Brandt and me, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said Friday night there is optimism that starter Doug Martin can return to practice from a hamstr
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“We’re hopeful that after these three days off that maybe he has a shot at Chicago,” Koetter said. “But hamstrings seem to linger a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.”
The NFL’s second-leading rusher last season with 1,402 yards, Martin initially injured his hamstring during a Week 2 loss to Arizona. The Bucs had expected Martin to return for a Week 7 game at San Francisco, but he suffered a setback during rehabilitation that has sidelined him ever since.
“These hamstrings are just delicate,” Koetter said. “He was 90-plus percent back and doing his rehab run one day and he tweaked it again. (Bucs trainers) kind of had to go back and start over.”
Compounding the loss of Martin— who was signed to a five-year, $36 million contract extension in the offseason — are injuries that have struck his replacements. Charles Sims (knee) has landed on injured reserve and Jacquizz Rodgers was forced to miss Thursday night’s 43-28 home loss to Atlanta with a sprained foot. Antone Smith became the latest casualty against the Falcons with what Koetter described as a “fairly significant ankle injury.”
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“It looks like he might be lost for an extended period of time,” Koetter said.
The lone healthy running backs currently on the roster are Peyton Barber and Mike James. Despite all these issues, Tampa Bay (3-5) still ranks a respectable 17th in NFL rushing rankings with a 108.4-yard average.
Alex Marvez can be heard from 8 to 11 a.m. ET Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.