The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ruled out four starters against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Running back Doug Martin, tight end Luke Stocker and defensive end Robert Ayers were all ruled out after missing practice this week. In addition, fourth-string wide receiver Cecil Shorts was also ruled out.
The Bucs also listed linebacker Lavonte David, left tackle Donovan Smith and safety Ryan Smith as questionable, though all three should be good to go on Sunday. If David or Smith misses Sunday’s game, that will be a big blow to the Bucs’ already significant depth issues.
With Martin out, Charles Sims will get the bulk of the touches, with Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Peyton Barber in a backup role. Ayers’ absence will be tough to fill, though we can expect William Gholston and rookie Davonte Lambert to get significant playing time, with Noah Spence and Howard Jones stepping in on passing downs.
Making matters more complicated is the release of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins after a DUI arrest earlier today. That leaves the Bucs with just two healthy tight ends in Brandon Myers and Cameron Brate, as well as fullback Alan Cross. None of those players are particularly explosive receivers, or great blockers.
As for the Rams, they’ve had six players limited in practice throughout the week. Wide receivers Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce are listed as doubtful, meaning they’re unlikely to play. Safety Maurice Alexander, running back Benny Cunningham, cornerback E.J. Gaines and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner are listed as questionable and likely to suit up.