Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Playing status uncertain for Bucs' Martin

TAMPA — Though Bucs RB Doug Martin said he doesn't need to play Saturday against the Dolphins in order to be ready for the regular season, he wouldn't mind taking a few snaps.

"It's up to the coaches," he said.

Martin has just three carries in two preseason games and left last week's 25-21 loss to the Patriots after taking a shot to the head during pass protection. Martin said his concussion tests were negative and he is 100 percent healthy and has practiced all week. However, Martin said he'd understand if the coaches hold him out as a precaution.

"I'm not sure what we're going to do with Doug right now," coach Greg Schiano said Thursday.

Martin said he wasn't concerned after getting kicked in the head trying to make a cut block on a rusher, though it was "pretty much one of the hardest" hits he has taken. Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards as a rookie last season, said he wants to improve his pass protection.

"To be an every-down back, you need to be able to pass protect," Martin said, "to be able to read the field, scan the field and be able to pick that guy up and protect the quarterback. … You've got to have that want-to."

Whether Martin plays or not, the three candidates to be his backup — Brian Leonard, Peyton Hillis and Mike James — will play "a bunch," Schiano said.

REVIS WATCH: CB Darrelle Revis practiced for the fourth straight day, which Schiano said is his longest stretch as he recovers from a torn left ACL. Today was scheduled to be a lighter day. It was unclear if he would play Saturday. "So far he's been able to stick to the plan and increase the workload," Schiano said. "Certainly you're sore in general. … But the part that we're worried about, he's doing well."

The RIGHT STUFF: RG Davin Joseph, recovering from a torn patellar tendon that kept him out last season, resumed practice this week and looked good, Schiano said. His status for Saturday hadn't been determined.

TIGHT SPOT: With TE Luke Stocker limited early in camp due to a calf injury, Schiano said it appears the Bucs will have to go by committee at the position, maybe all season. "Luke hasn't played enough to say (he) is going to go in there and play 50, 60 plays," Schiano said. "Let's see how fast Luke can get back to the form he was playing at, because I did think he improved last year."

LEANING LEFT: With LG Carl Nicks out indefinitely with a staph infection, Schiano said coaches are looking at different combinations to replace him. C Jeremy Zuttah is an option, but it appears the Bucs prefer to keep him at center. RT Gabe Carimi took snaps at guard this week.

SOUND OF MUSIC: Instead of white noise, sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd and other rock bands boomed from speakers during parts of practice this week, an attempt to simulate distractions of road games.

For players, it was a welcomed change from the annoying, static-filled sound they usually hear. Schiano said he has played music in other places and after the Patriots did it in joint practices last week, he gave it a shot: "All I want is noise to keep them from hearing and having to do nonverbal communication. It's interesting that music can be more distracting than even the white noise. I thought it was good."

As for the song selection, Schiano smiled and said, "I had no input on the play list."

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