The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost running back Doug Martin (hamstring), tight end Luke Stocker (ankle) and defensive end Robert Ayers (ankle) to injury yesterday.
It’s unclear how serious those injuries are. Or at least, the team is refusing to announce their status. For what it’s worth, Doug Martin was walking around with no restrictions, according to Roy Cummings, while Luke Stocker was wearing a hard cast, per Greg Auman.
We do know one thing, though: if Martin can’t go, the Bucs are confident that either Jacquizz Rodgers or Charles Sims could be the team’s feature back. Both players are primarily receiving and change of pace backs, but head coach Dirk Koetter expressed confidence in both of them as lead runners.
In fact, while Koetter was explicit about Sims’ potential as a feature back, he also noted that Rodgers was closer to Martin’s style than Sims. Rodgers could be expected to carry the load as the team’s main running back, with Sims continuing in his role as the main receiving and change of pace back.
Yesterday, Sims got nine carries for 24 yards, while Rodgers got two carries for 29 yards. I wouldn’t read too much into that split, though: almost all of those carries came with the team so far behind, they were forced to largely abandon the run.
Incidentally, the Bucs also placed Josh Keyes on waivers. They’d signed him as a special teamer the past two games, with Devante Bond sidelined with injury. This may be a move to make room for a replacement for one of the three injured players.