Monday, December 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs RB Jacquizz Rodgers could return from injury this week

TAMPA — The Bucs continue to get key players back from injury, and RB Jacquizz Rodgers, out three games with a foot injury, could be next. Coach Dirk Koetter said Rodgers could return to practice when the Bucs resume drills Wednesday.

"We'll see what Wednesday brings. I glanced outside, and Jacquizz was out working on the field with trainers. We'll see," said Koetter, who said the topic of Rodgers' return came up as GM Jason Licht got a medical update Monday morning.

The Bucs have had starting RB Doug Martin back for the past two games after he missed six with a hamstring injury, but Rodgers had two 100-yard games filling in for Martin and would add depth to the Bucs' running attack.

Charles Sims, on injured reserve for the past six weeks with a knee injury, can return to practice this week, though he's not eligible to play until Week 14, after two more games.

MORE HELP: Koetter was also hopeful the Bucs would soon get starting LG Kevin Pamphile back after he missed two games while in concussion protocol. The Bucs started first-year player Ben Gottschalk on Sunday, but he went down early with a knee injury, with rookie Caleb Benenoch stepping in. Benenoch was "much improved," according to Koetter, who was also impressed to see Gottschalk handle himself at center and guard in back-to-back weeks.

THIRD-DOWN MAGIC: The Bucs' 11-for-16 showing on third downs Sunday marked the third-highest conversion rate in any NFL game this season. It was the second-best conversion rate the Bucs have had in 17 years.

WINNING WITH LESS: Score less than 20 points on the road? The Bucs were 1-38 when they did that from 2006-15, but they're 2-1 this season with Sunday's 19-17 win at the Chiefs and a 17-14 win at Carolina. The Bills and Rams are the only other NFL teams with two such wins this season.

THIS AND THAT: With Gottschalk uncertain because of a knee injury, the Bucs have signed former Illinois State OL Mike Liedtke to the practice squad, adding depth in practice. RB Russell Hansbrough was released from the practice squad to make room. … Koetter said game balls from Sunday went to QB Jameis Winston on offense, S Chris Conte on defense and S Keith Tandy on special teams. … Winston said he dedicated Sunday's game to the late Monk Bonasorte, a former FSU senior associate athletic director and player who died earlier Sunday at age 59 after battling brain cancer. "He really meant a lot to me," Winston said after the game. "If the Bonasorte family is listening: Thank you and I love you."

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

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