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Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin's not at fault for struggling running game

 
LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times  Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) warms up before the start of an NFL game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) warms up before the start of an NFL game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.
Published Nov. 21, 2017

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday's win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team's struggles running the ball shouldn't go squarely on his running back.

"In my opinion, he is not the reason we're not moving the ball on offense," Koetter said Monday. "If you look at the tape, Doug's making a little bit out of not too much, more often than not."

Martin is averaging 3.1 yards per carry; only one back in the NFL (Bengals rookie Joe Mixon) has as many carries as Martin's 112 with a lower average. Tampa Bay ranks 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (79.8) and 29th in yards per carry (3.4), finishing below both levels Sunday.

"We did not do a great job of run blocking in this game, but that's an O-line thing, that's a tight end thing, that's a lead blocker issue," Koetter said. "The running back is going to take the hit."

Charles Sims had one carry for 3 yards Sunday, and Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers played only three and two offensive snaps. Koetter didn't have much praise for his depth behind Martin.

"Believe me, if we thought Gale Sayers was sitting back there behind Doug, he'd be in there," he said. "I haven't seen Gale out there."

Reedy to Patriots

Former Lakewood star Bernard Reedy, waived by the Bucs on Friday, cleared waivers Monday and will sign today to join the Patriots' practice squad.

Reedy, 25, handled all the Bucs' punt and kickoff returns in the first nine games this season, including a 44-yard punt return and 50-yard kickoff return. He played sparingly on offense — two catches for 21 yards and three carries (jet sweeps) for 17 yards.

Reedy will head to New England with hopes of being promoted to the 53-man roster once he can learn the playbook. New England ranks 27th in the NFL in kickoff return average and 27th in punt return average.

Koetter said Friday that waiving Reedy had more to do with needing to make room for WR Freddie Martino on the active roster. Adam Humphries handled punt returns Sunday, with Rodgers handling kickoffs.

This and that

OL Evan Smith remained in concussion protocol after leaving Sunday's game with concussion symptoms. He has split time with Kevin Pamphile at left guard. … WR DeSean Jackson (left, top) had a 4-yard touchdown Sunday, but his three targets were a season low, and his two catches matched his low since joining the Bucs. … Bryan Anger's (left, bottom) 66-yard punt Sunday against Miami is tied for the third longest in Bucs history and was the second longest of his career. The team record remains Sean Landeta's 74-yard punt in 1997. Tom Tupa had a 71-yarder in 2002.

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