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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed running back Charles Sims on injured reserve on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. The Bucs promoted fullback Austin Johnson from the practice squad to take his place on the active roster. Sims finished the year with 149 yards and a touchdown on 51 carries (2.9 avg.), in addition to catching 24 passes for 190 yards (7.9 avg.) and a touchdown in seven games. Sims missed eight games with a leg injury he suffered against Denver in Week 4.

This comes on the heels of running back Doug Martin’s absence from practice on Wednesday, which was excused by the team. Martin, the Bucs’ starting running back for much of the 2016 season was demoted for the Saints game on Saturday in what has been described as a “coach’s decision.” Martin has rushed for 421 yards and three touchdowns on 144 carries (2.9 avg.). Martin is expected to be inactive again versus Carolina on Sunday.

Jacquizz Rodgers started in place of Martin in New Orleans last week, rushing for 485 yards and two touchdowns on 112 carries (4.3 avg.) on the season, including 63 yards rushing and a touchdown against the Saints. Rodgers will start again against Carolina on Sunday. Rodgers has had both of the Bucs’ 100-yard rushing efforts this year – 101 yards against the Panthers in the team’s 17-14 win on Monday Night Football and 154 yards the following game in a 34-17 victory at San Francisco.

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken didn’t bite when questioned about Martin’s status with the team but he did detail what he likes about having Rodgers in the Bucs’ backfield.

Bucs RT Demar Dotson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“He’s an experienced guy that I think gets north and south,” Monken said. “That’s one of the things he does. He’s one of those guys that … is he a guy that’s going to end up taking a play 50 or 60 yards? Probably not. He doesn’t garner that long speed, but in terms of moving the chains, I think he has really good vision and I think he plays with really good pad level and when he does get contact, he’s able to get another yard or two. And from a protection standpoint, I think his maturity helps.”

Buccaneers right tackles Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus returned to practice on Wednesday, which was a welcome sign as Tampa Bay heads into the final game of the 2016 regular season finale. Dotson missed the final two practices last week and only practiced once, which was last Wedenesday, and only in a limited fashion. Dotson, who has been in the concussion protocol since suffering the injury following the San Diego game, has missed the last three games and remains in the protocol.

There is some optimism that Dotson could start against Carolina on Sunday, and that would be a welcomed addition as Cherilus is also coming off a groin and ankle injury he suffered against Dallas two weeks ago while starting for Dotson. With Dotson and Cherilus out last week against New Orleans, the Bucs moved starting left guard Kevin Pamphile to right tackle and inserted veteran reserve Evan Smith in at left guard.

Two notable absences at Wednesday’s practice were defensive end William Gholston, who is still recovering from a dislocated elbow he suffered against Dallas that caused him to miss last week’s game at New Orleans, in addition to Martin.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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4 years ago

What an absolute clown show the last three weeks. Doug deactivated. Sims & Brate placed on IR. Gholston injured. Dot being stuck in concussion protocol. It’s like the Football Gods decided to let the air out of the balloon, after filling it up with hope. Maddening. Still hopeful of a win this Sunday to salvage a winning season. We cannot go into the offseason on another losing streak. But man, it’s like we’re in a duel with only 2 bullets to the other guys 6.

4 years ago

With Sims and Brate done for the season, ditto with Martin, and defenses focusing hard on taking Evans out of the game plan, we’re down to backups and backups to backups. Getting Dotson back is helpful, but having Gholston out is going to detract from our D-line’s integrity as it did last Saturday.

The Bucs are limping down to the season finish line, for sure. But hey, our players and coaches – and fans – shouldn’t have any trouble at all getting spirits up to face the Panthers in front of home crowd.

4 years ago

My goodness, the hits keep coming. And now with the news that Doug was suspended for substance abuse, that’s just the icing on the cake. We really need an infusion of depth and talent on this team. Injuries just kill teams like us that have good starters , but not much depth. My goodness we need as many picks as possible.

Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

That’s why you don’t waste draft picks moving up in the draft. Best to stay the course or trade down. Martin was a trade up deal.

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