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Bucs could lighten Doug Martin's workload this weekend

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) stiff-arms San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) on a run play during the second half of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) stiff-arms San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) on a run play during the second half of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.

TAMPA — Whether Doug Martin watched most of the final 20 minutes of Sunday's win at San Diego on the bench because of injury or ineffectiveness, the Bucs could be shaking up their duties at running back this week.

Martin gained just 22 yards on his final 13 carries Sunday, and he played one snap in the fourth quarter after he said he was "bent back" and limped off the field. Martin wasn't listed on the Bucs' injury report Wednesday, however, and offensive coordinator Todd Monken suggested there might be more work for backup Jacquizz Rodgers.

"It's good to get him back," Monken said of Rodgers, who had missed the previous four games with a foot sprain. "I would assume he'll only be better this week in a little bit more of an expanded role."

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Rodgers "did a really nice job," and the Bucs are expected to get RB Charles Sims back off injured reserve for the first time in 10 weeks, so Tampa Bay will have its best running back depth of the season. The only question is how they'll split up the workload.

INJURIES: RT Demar Dotson, who played every snap in Sunday's win, didn't practice Wednesday due to a concussion, and the same was true for WR Adam Humphries, who left the game in the second quarter and remains in concussion protocol.

DE Will Gholston, who was on crutches in the locker room after Sunday's win with a boot on his left foot, practiced and wasn't even listed on the injury report.

DT Gerald McCoy, who played Sunday after practicing only one day due to a foot injury, was held out again Wednesday. TE Luke Stocker (ankle) and S Chris Conte (chest) were also out, and OL Evan Smith returned to practice in a limited capacity after missing three games with a knee injury.

CONGRATS: A knee injury ended his season two months ago, but for the fourth year in a row, WR Vincent Jackson has been honored as the Bucs' man of the year and their nominee for the Walter Payton man of the year award.

Jackson, 33, continues to lead the team's community outreach efforts with his Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, which works with military personnel and their families. He has won the Bucs honor four years in a row; the last player to even have three was John Lynch from 2001-03.

Jackson had just 15 catches for 173 yards in five games before suffering a left knee injury that put him on injured reserve.

UNPRECEDENTED: The losses Tampa Bay suffered to fall to 3-5 would normally be mortal wounds for the Bucs: Of the 10 Bucs teams ever to make the playoffs, all were 4-4 or better after eight games. But there's ample precedent for 3-5 teams making the postseason — the Texans, Chiefs and Washington all were 3-5 last season and made it to the playoffs.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs could lighten Doug Martin's workload this weekend 12/07/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 8:30pm]
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