Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Doug Martin has setback, is out indefinitely

TAMPA — After the Bucs pulled off a road win at Carolina last week, the hope was that the ensuing bye would help them get some key players back after extended injury absences.

That's decidedly not the case for Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin.

Not only was Martin held out of practice Wednesday with the hamstring injury that has kept him out since Week 2, but coach Dirk Koetter said he suffered a setback last week, leaving him sidelined indefinitely.

"Doug unfortunately did suffer a setback a week ago Sunday," Koetter said after the Bucs' first full practice of the week. "We'll just have to see when he can make it back. There's no timetable on that right now."

That means the Bucs will travel to face the 49ers on Sunday with backup Jacquizz Rodgers, who stepped up with 101 yards on 30 carries in the Carolina win, again thrust into a starting role. The Bucs did have defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (calf) back practicing in limited participation, but defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (hamstring) and DE Robert Ayers (ankle) did not return to practice as once hoped.

"Injuries are the worst part of this game, on all teams," Koetter said. "Just look around the league. A lot of teams have injuries, and we don't like it, but trust me, no one feels worse about it than the player. … Injuries make it tough on our team, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to keep rolling."

Martin, 27, signed to a five-year, $35.75 million extension in the offseason, hasn't played or practiced since Week 2, and his top backup, Charles Sims, is on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered two weeks later, pressing Rodgers into a starting role. It's the third time in four seasons Martin has missed significant time with an injury; he missed 10 games in 2013 with a shoulder injury and five in 2014 with ankle and knee injuries.

The Bucs on Monday added veteran Antone Smith, who hasn't played this season but played for Koetter in Atlanta from 2012-14, as a more experienced backup.

"I'm already comfortable," Smith said Wednesday of getting caught up. "I'm familiar with everything. All the verbiage and everything hasn't changed. That's one offense I really haven't forgot. It was so simple and pretty much told you where to go. I just have to put what I know on the field and perform."

The Bucs, who also have undrafted rookie Peyton Barber on the roster, will be without their top two backs against a 49ers defense that gave up 312 rushing yards Sunday in a 45-16 loss to Buffalo, the most rushing yards San Francisco has allowed in a game since 1958.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Oh Gahd, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! Don’t worry, lots of new story lines for LII vs. E-A-G-L-E-S

Oh Gahd, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! Don’t worry, lots of new story lines for LII vs. E-A-G-L-E-S

TAMPA – Unless you are a Chowd who drives the cah wicked fah and pahks in the yahd, you probably aren't all that jacked up about the Patriots returning to Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis. Anybody but Bill Belichick...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

The Bucs aren't playing for a Super Bowl, and the game itself won't come to Tampa for three more years. But there's no shortage of cool local connections and ties on the Patriots and Eagles' rosters. You've already heard some of these stories, and yo...
Published: 01/22/18
Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

TAMPA — Next victim, please.Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?It would save us a lot of time.Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclus...
Published: 01/22/18
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Published: 01/22/18
Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

PHILADELPHIA — Confetti filled the air, fireworks erupted overhead, and fans sang "Fly, Eagles Fly!" No one dared head for the exits. There was too much to celebrate.The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.The makeshift podium hadn’t taken space on Ph...
Published: 01/21/18
Updated: 01/22/18
Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Published: 01/21/18
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Published: 01/21/18
Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

ST. PETERSBURG — USF had expected to have four former players in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, but QB Quinton Flowers had to miss the showcase game after learning that his grandmother had died late last week."I most definitely ...
Published: 01/20/18
Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — With less than a week to install a playbook, offenses can have it tough in college showcase games.And for 58 minutes on Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, the teams combined for just one offensive touchdown.But...
Published: 01/20/18

Sunday’s NFL conference championship game previews

AFC: Jaguars at Patriots, 3, CBSLine/OU: Patriots by 7˝; 46The big drama leading into this game is whether, or how much, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be slowed by his injured right hand, which kept him out of practice Thursday (see 6C for more...
Published: 01/20/18