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Robert Ayers and Doug Martin cleared from concussion protocol

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The Bucs should get their two starters back this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should get Doug Martin and Robert Ayers back this week, as they prepare to face the Detroit Lions. The running back and defensive end were cleared from the concussion protocol after missing last week’s game, head coach Dirk Koetter announced yesterday.

Ayers’ return is an easy positive and should boost the Bucs’ anemic pass rush and so-so run defense, the latter dooming them against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. But Martin’s return is more complicated: while he’s been the starter all season (barring an early suspension), he’s struggled to be productive--and backup Peyton Barber had a very good game against the Packers.

We can expect Martin to get some playing time, but Barber may get his chances, too. The latter’s straight-ahead running style fits the team’s (incompetent) run-blocking more than Martin’s make-you-miss style, which leads to too much dancing in the backfield thanks to defenders constantly being in his face.