TAMPA — Falcons coach Mike Smith didn't need to see RB Bobby Rainey's 144-yard game Sunday to know the Bucs backup's potential. Smith saw it last year, when Rainey ran for 163 yards in a 41-28 win over Atlanta.
"That was kind of his coming-out party," Smith said. "… There's not a whole lot of area to hit. You've got shoulder pads and knees — that's about it. He's very compact."
It's unclear if the 5-foot-8, 212-pound Rainey will be in position for a similar feat Thursday against an Atlanta defense struggling to stop the run. Bucs coach Lovie Smith said he was impressed with how Rainey ran after initial contact Sunday against the Rams but also that both Rainey and RB Doug Martin (knee) will play, if Martin is healthy. Martin was limited in practice Tuesday.
"The more the better," Lovie Smith said. "Can't have too many good running backs."
Rainey said Sunday's big game was a result of one of the toughest parts of NFL life — patience.
"That's the hardest thing for a player is knowing that you belong and you're capable of doing the things that you see other guys do," he said. "It's being patient waiting for the right opportunity, the right team to put you in that right fit for you."
Injury updates: DT Gerald McCoy didn't practice and was fitted for a cast (not a club) on his broken left hand. Neither McCoy nor Smith officially ruled him out for Thursday's game, but neither sounded optimistic.
"Obviously it's better if I'm out there, but still a long season," said McCoy, who couldn't feel his hand after being hurt on the Bucs' eighth defensive play Sunday.
Neither LB Mason Foster (shoulder) nor TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) practiced, though Smith said Seferian-Jenkins is progressing faster than expected.
G Logan Mankins (knee), C Evan Dietrich-Smith (back), DE William Gholston (shoulder) and DE Michael Johnson (ankle) were limited. Smith said he hopes Johnson can play after missing the Rams game.
"When we're playing against an offense like that," Smith said, "we'll need all of our pass rushers."
Faith in McCown: The Bucs still have faith in QB Josh McCown, whose three interceptions have contributed heavily to an 0-2 start.
"It's awfully frustrating. I'm not going to shy away from that. I'm very disappointed, disappointed in myself," McCown said. "Just this start, it's not what we want, it's not what anybody wants."
Perhaps the most costly interception came Sunday. Facing first and goal from the 9, McCown was flushed from the pocket and tried to throw across his body to Vincent Jackson.
"You have to protect the football," Smith said. "We talk so much about ball security. You just look in the league, and not just Josh. … It's about the turnover ratio. But if you talk about the quarterback, sometimes it's good just to bring the ball down and live to see another play.'
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This and that: DL Da'Quan Bowers (abdomen) and OT Demar Dotson (hamstring) participated fully in practice. … WR Mike Evans said he was a little sore but felt no lingering effects from the hard hit that ended Sunday's loss.
Contact Matt Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.