As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turn to rookie Mike Glennon to lead the team for the remainder of the season, a strong run game is needed to help bail out the offense. Glennon is developing so having a strong running back next to him is key. Doug Martin is that type of running back so after he suffered a severe shoulder injury the team naturally panicked.
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It was feared that Martin's injury was season ending. The Tampa Bay Tribune originally reported a torn labrum in Martin's shoulder was going to end his year early and the Buccaneers would likely place the back on injured reserve and be forced to rely on depth. However, the running back is telling fans to not count him out. Martin is not undergoing surgery just yet, content to see how he responds with therapy.
"No,'' Martin said. "Right now, I'm doing treatment on it with the trainers and taking it day by day and seeing how it feels. It's definitely gotten better. And my range of motion has increased day to day.''
Greg Schiano echoed that belief, refusing to rule Martin out for the coming weeks. While the running back is almost certain to miss Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers, he could be back to help the 0-6 Buccaneers in Week 9. Until then, Tampa Bay will rely on Bobby Rainey and Mike James to assist Glennon.
Tampa Bay claimed Rainey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns in order to help with depth issues. However, Rainey was not brought in to start for the Buccaneers so fantasy owners should not jump on his ship just yet. Instead, rookie James will be in the backfield come Thursday night.
Martin did well filling in for Martin so far this season. He has 57 yards off just 17 attempts. For a team that is 0-6, that is the best a backup can get. It is likely that James could see upwards of 20 touches in Week 8. NFL scouts have compared the running back to players like BeJarvus Green-Ellis, nothing that he thrives between the tackles and offers plenty of versatility that Glennon can take advantage of.
Rainey is likely to see very little playing time. Tampa Bay will possibly put in Jeff Demps or veteran Brian Leonard before Rainey gets on the field. However, nothing can be ruled out with a team that does not have a win yet.