Bucs rule out Martin, Ayers, Stocker, Shorts for Rams game
The Bucs have made it official: The four players injured in last week's loss at Arizona, who haven't practiced all week -- RB Doug Martin, DE Robert Ayers, TE Luke Stocker and WR Cecil Shorts -- have been ruled out for Sunday's home opener against the Rams.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has been tight-lipped about injuries all week, but none of the four have even been in attendance at practice during the window open to the media. Martin reportedly is missing about three weeks with his hamstring injury, and there's no timetable known for the others.
Who steps in for the four? Charles Sims will start for Martin, with Jacquizz Rodgers as backup and rookie Peyton Barber dressing as the third running back. The Bucs promoted rookie Alan Cross to the active roster to offset two losses at tight end, with Stocker injured and Austin Seferian-Jenkins waived after his DUI arrest Friday morning. First-year player Freddie Martino will make his Bucs debut as the fifth receiver in Shorts' place, and rookie Channing Ward is expected to dress and make his NFL debut as the fifth end in Ayers' place.
The Bucs listed three players as questionable with injuries -- LB Lavonte David (shoulder), LT Donovan Smith (hip) and S Ryan Smith (hand) -- though all three were full participants in Friday's practice. David and Donovan Smith will start as expected, though Ryan Smith could be inactive again -- with the injuries, there are really only two inactive spots for healthy scratches.