The Tampa Bay Bucs had hoped to have running back Doug Martin back after their bye week. Evidently, it is not going to happen.
“Doug, unfortunately, did suffer a setback a week ago Sunday and we’ll just have to see when he can make it back,” said Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter. “There’s no timetable on that right now, again, that’s not my department. There will be an injury report, but Doug did suffer a little setback. And just that whole thing on injures, nobody’s at fault when somebody gets hurt.
“Injuries are the worst part of this game on all teams. Just look around the league. A lot of teams have injuries and we don’t like it, but trust me, no one feels worse about it than the player. The player feels bad and injuries make it tough on our team, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we’ve got to keep rolling.”
Martin, who was second in the NFL in rushing a season ago, has been missed. The Bucs have struggled in most games to find a balance. Against Carolina, Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 101 yards.Does that mean the Bucs are fixed? That’s hard to say, but the team should be able to run some against the 49ers.
“If it was that easy, it’d be fixed,” said offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “If it was that easy and it was just one thing (it would be fixed.) I thought we took a step forward Monday night, in terms of our physicality, in terms of the way our running backs ran the ball. Realistically, it was similar to some of the games last year, we just didn’t have any longer runs.
I think that was probably the biggest thing is, we’ve got to continue to do a great job on the perimeter blocking, we’ve got to continue to find a way to finish runs. You’re only going to rush for the 150-yard mark if you get a couple explosive runs, which we didn’t get some of those. But I do think it was a good sign and we need to continue to play complementary football and run the ball and run the ball efficiently.”
Monken admitted the Bucs need to commit to running the ball more.
“Sure, I think that’s part of it,” Monken said. “I think the score dictates that. I think it’s easier to run the football when the game dictates that, but I think it’s also just that that’s who we have to be, that’s who you should be. You have to be able to run the football to win and that allows us to get our explosives down the field when we can run the football.”
Koetter said the Bucs need more consistency.
“If it was that easy to just snap our fingers and do it, we would certainly be doing it,” Koetter said. “I’ve said many times, your run game gets better if you run it more. Alright Coach, well run it more – hell, I’m calling the plays. You’ve got to make yards, you’ve got to have efficient runs and you’ve got to be moving the chains.
“If you’re doing that and you’re running it more and you’re repeating runs, your line and your backs both have a tendency to get stronger as you go. But if you’re going three and out, if it’s first-and-10, second-and-nine, third-and-eight, punt and then you fall behind in the scoreboard, it’s hard to keep running it. That’s just a reality.”