TAMPA — Needing his roster spot to shore up depth issues from injuries, the Bucs on Tuesday waived third-year RB Mike James, who had been inactive for all three games this season.
James, 24, was drafted in the sixth round out of Miami in 2013, and of his 332 career rushing yards, 283 came in a four-game stretch his rookie year when starter Doug Martin went down with injury. James rushed 28 times for 158 yards in a loss at Seattle, but had lost that backup role to Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey last season.
James rushed 19 times for 37 yards last year, and as the team's fourth running back, was left inactive all three weeks this season. His move doesn't necessarily suggest a new running back coming in, but more likely an addition to offset an injury — CBs Johnthan Banks and Tim Jennings had knee injuries Sunday, though it's unknown if either will be sidelined this week.
The Bucs also tweaked their practice squad Tuesday, with CB Imoan Claiborne released to make room for the return of DT Derrick Lott.
ROOKIE MANIA: For the second week in a row, the Bucs have a finalist for NFL rookie of the week honors, with LB Kwon Alexander up for the fan vote after getting 10 tackles and his first career interception in Sunday's loss to the Texans. QB Jameis Winston won the honor last week, the first Buc to do so since RB Doug Martin in 2012.
THIS AND THAT: For the first time since January, the Bucs no longer have first priority on waiver claims, because on Tuesday the priority reverted to reverse order by current record. The NFL's four winless teams — Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans — are ahead of the Bucs in waiver priority. … WR Louis Murphy said the offense aims for eight or more "explosives," or plays of 16-plus yards, in each game. They had 11 in Sunday's loss against the Texans. Coach Lovie Smith said the defensive goals are scoring, getting three takeaways and holding opponents to 30 percent on third-down conversions. They missed on all three counts Sunday.
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