TAMPA — Bucs DE Da'Quan Bowers said in June he was looking to be "dominant" this season, where "anything less than double-digit sacks is a failure."
But the former second-round pick has yet to make the kind of impact he and the Bucs envisioned, with zero sacks and three tackles. Coach Greg Schiano challenged Bowers to become an every-down player, but Bowers is still mostly used in a situational pass-rushing role behind starter Daniel Te'o Nesheim.
Then, a toe injury last week limited Bowers to six snaps against the Falcons.
"It's definitely frustrating," Bowers said. "I thought I was doing very well before I had the toe injury; the injury limited me last week. But I feel pretty good going into this week, I'm expecting to get after it a lot more than I did last week."
Bowers started six games as a rookie in 2011, picking up 1.5 sacks, but missed the start of last year due to a torn Achilles tendon sustained in May. He returned to record three sacks. Schiano said Bowers is making progress.
"I look forward to him playing more this week," Schiano said. "He's feeling better. … I know that outside looking in, 'Why isn't he playing more?' I think he's improving. Not as fast as everyone would like, but he's improving and he has natural ability."
NEW GUY: It has been a whirlwind week for new Bucs RB Bobby Rainey. Rainey, 26, waived by the Browns on Friday, signed Monday and is doing a cram session on the playbook, hoping to provide depth in Thursday's game after the injury to Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin.
Then there's the fact that Rainey's fiancee, Kareema Roach, is due to give birth to their daughter soon in Paducah, Ky.
"It's been crazy," Rainey said. "I thought I was going to be with Cleveland for a while, and then Friday getting released. Then with the baby situation going on, there's a lot going on right now."
Rainey, an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky in 2012, has played in six NFL games, all this season with the Browns, with 13 carries for 34 yards. He says he's more of a "scat back" and will likely also play special teams for the Bucs. Rainey said USF coach Willie Taggart, who coached him in Western Kentucky, called him Monday, and they plan to get together soon.
MARTIN IMPROVING: Martin said his injured left shoulder is responding to treatment, and he sounded optimistic about returning this season.
"I'm doing good," Martin said during his weekly show on 620-AM. "I'm doing treatment with the trainers and we're taking it day by day, seeing how it feels. Day by day, the pain goes away and the range of motion increases."
He does not consider the injury season ending. He said it occurred when he landed on his left elbow trying to make a catch.
HIGH PRAISE: LB Lavonte David has followed up his strong rookie season with a stellar start to this year, leading the Bucs with 48 tackles. That includes his 10-tackle (three for loss) performance Sunday against Atlanta, which Schiano called the most productive game from a linebacker he has seen here. "He should be on the All-Pro list this year," DT Gerald McCoy said.
HELP WANTED: In response to questions regarding his use of CB Darrelle Revis, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan playfully issued a challenge last week, inviting fans to come to One Buc Place around 5 a.m. to help gameplan. A few fans took him up on his offer, showing up at the facility early Monday. Did Sheridan talk to them? "Nope," he said, smiling.
MEDICAL MATTERS: Schiano had no updates on Martin (shoulder), who did not practice, or S Dashon Goldson (knee), who was limited. WR Mike Williams (hamstring) was limited, with S Mark Barron (hip) back to full participation. S Keith Tandy (concussion) was limited.
SILENT COUNT: Schiano said he did not watch QB Josh Freeman's Vikings debut Monday night, and neither did offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. McCoy did; asked his thoughts he said, "Next question."
Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Follow Joe Smith @TBTimes_JSmith.