Dolphins’ Distractions Biggest Foe In Battle Against Bucs
By Max Luckan
For the first time in a while, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the team facing multiple distractions heading into a game. However, their instate rival Miami Dolphins are. The offensive line of the Dolphins has made national news in the past two weeks or so, as Jonathan Martin remains away from the team because he was allegedly bullied and harassed.
The alleged perpetrator, offensive lineman Richie Incognito, has been suspended indefinitely by the team. This means that as far as the production on the field goes, the Dolphins are missing key players as they continue to fight for a playoff spot in a very tough division.
The Bucs announced yesterday that running back Doug Martin has been placed on the Injured Reserve list.
Martin started six games this season, leading the team in rushing attempts and rushing yards, recording 127 rushes for 456 yards and a touchdown. He also added 12 catches for 66 yards. Prior to his injury, Martin’s 81.8 rushing yards per game were the fourth most in the NFL.
For a while, the Bucs held out hope that Martin would be able to return sometime this season. But the torn labrum in his shoulder was apparently too painful, forcing the team to make the move as the Bucs get set to take on a Miami Dolphins team that is facing serious distractions.
Guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Chris Owusu were both held out of practice on Thursday and Friday, which suggests that they will not play Monday night. Nicks is still recovering from foot surgery and Owusu also has a foot injury.
Bucs safety Dashon Goldson, who has missed the past two games with a knee injury, participated fully in practice on Friday and barring a setback, will play against the Dolphins Monday night.
Ditto for linebacker Mason Foster, who had been dealing with a minor elbow injury.
Guard Davin Joseph (knee), fullback Erik Lorig (toe), safety Keith Tandy (ankle), defensive tackle Akeem Spence (wrist), and linebacker Dekoda Watson (shoulder), all had full participation on Friday, which is good news for the Bucs.
The Bucs are still looking to get their first win and need all the help they can get, and being healthy is a key part in that.
Jonathan Martin is officially listed as out for Monday’s game because of an illness, but obviously, Martin is away from the team because of the perceived hazardous environment in the team’s locker room.
Incognito has been suspended by the Dolphins, so he obviously won’t play either, as the NFL continues to conduct its investigation into the situation.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who has a foot injury, and linebacker Koa Misi, who has a knee injury, were both held out of practice on Thursday and Friday. Misi and Jenkins are key players on Miami’s defense, especially against the run. With Bucs running back Mike James coming off a huge performance against the Seahawks, the Dolphins will have trouble stopping him without Jenkins and Misi.
The good news for the Dolphins, however, is that they should have cornerback Nolan Carroll (concussion) and safety Chris Clemons (hamstring) for Monday night’s game, which means that Bucs rookie QB Mike Glennon will have to deal with a stingy Dolphins secondary.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.