The inactives for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints are out, and there’s one massive surprise: running back Doug Martin will not play today. That’s a decision that comes out of nowhere, as Martin was not listed on the injury report for this game.
Martin has struggled this season, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, but most of the blame there seems to fall on the offensive line. Even if the Bucs were disappointed in his performance, going from starting him to deactivating him is extremely drastic if there are no injury concerns — I would’ve expected a reduction of snaps instead.
With Martin out, the Bucs will presumably start Jacquizz Rodgers, with Charles Sims in his traditional role as change-of-pace and receiving back.
Otherwise, the lists look pretty much as we expected. The Bucs will be without right tackles Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus, as well as defensive end Will Gholston, while the Saints will miss cornerback Delvin Breaux, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday.
With their starting and backup right tackles out, the Bucs will likely start Leonard Wester at that position. Wester’s an undrafted rookie out of Missouri Western with a handful of snaps across two games to his name.
Update: It seems like they decided to shuffle the offensive line a little differently:
Bucs are warming up with Evan Smith at left guard and Kevin Pamphile at right tackle ...— Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 24, 2016
Buccaneers inactives: T Gosder Cherilus, T Demar Dotson, DE Will Gholston, QB Ryan Griffin, DT John Hughes, RB Doug Martin, WR Bernard Reedy
Saints inactives: OL Jack Allen, LB Travis Feeney, WR Corey Fuller, WR Jake Lampman, RB Daniel Lasco, RB/RS Marcus Murphy, S Robenson Therezie