The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have Doug Martin on the field for the first time in nearly two months. The running back has missed the past seven weeks with a hamstring injury, during which time the Bucs lost another three starting running backs to various injuries, but is now finally ready to return to the field. He’s active for today’s game.
The Bucs will also have Jameis Winston and Mike Evans starting after suffering minor injuries last week. Two players we won’t see starting: center Joe Hawley (knee) and left guard Kevin Pamphile (concussion). Fifth-round rookie Caleb Benenoch will get his first start at left guard, while veteran center Evan Smith will play in Hawley’s stead.
Running back Jacquizz Rodgers is also still out with injury, as is wide receiver/special teams ace Russell Shepard. The Bucs will have to rely on Cecil Shorts as their number two receiver, which is not a particularly comforting proposition.
One player who has returned: defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, which should boost the Bucs’ pass-rush and defensive line rotation a little.
As for the Bears, they’ll be missing three players due to injury: cornerbacks Deiondre’ Hall and Daniel Callahan, and defensive tackle Mitch Unrein. Callahan and Unrein are both starters, so the Bears defense will probably be even worse than it has been so far.
Buccaneers inactives: QB Ryan Griffin, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, G Kevin Pamphile, T Leonard Wester, C Joe Hawley, DE Channing Ward, WR Russell Shepard
Bears inactives: TE Daniel Brown, CB Daniel Callahan, CB Deiondre’ Hall, S Deandre Houston-Carson, OL Eric Kush, LB John Timu, DT Mitch Unrein