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Buccaneers lose their fourth running back to injury

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will place defensive end Howard Jones and running back Antone Smith on injured reserve with knee injury, head coach Dirk Koetter indicated today, noting that both players suffered season-ending injuries.

For those keeping count: that is the fourth running back to suffer a serious injury while playing for the Bucs this year, and the second to be placed on injured reserve. Charles Sims is the other, but Doug Martin has been out since week three, and Jacquizz Rodgers missed his first game this week.

Peyton Barber started against the Atlanta Falcons, though Smith got a significant amount of playing time. That role will probably be taken up by Mike James and whoever the Bucs sign as their spate of running back injuries continue.

As for Howard Jones, the backup pass-rusher continued to occasionally show flashes but not much more than that. His absence will mostly hit the team’s depth at defensive end, which was already deficient.

In not disastrous news, Koetter did say that Joe Hawley’s injury was short-term. So there’s that. Mike Evans is in the concussion protocol, but can practice on Monday, while Kevin Pamphile is also in the concussion protocol and may not be ready. Koetter did not expect those injuries, or the one to Jameis Winston, to impact next week’s game.