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Doug Martin still out, Robert Ayers return to Buccaneers practice

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Good news/bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today: defensive end Robert Ayers returned to practice for the first time since week two, albeit on a limited basis, and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald continued to practice as well, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.

Bad news: Doug Martin is still not practicing after suffering a setback to his hamstring injury last week. The back has been out since week two. And while Jacquizz Rodgers has done an admirable job of filling in for Martin, especially last Sunday, he’s not on par with the Dougernaut. San Francisco has one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, after all.

Still, if Ayers can return to play this week (and that’s far from certain), that should mean a big boost to the team’s pass and run defense. The Bucs don’t have any defensive ends who are both effective pass rushers and effective run defenders, so Ayers would provide some much-needed versatility.