Though all NFL teams struggle with injures, the Buccaneers certainly haven’t had the best of luck in keeping their guys healthy.

As if a run-first offense losing Doug Martin, the league’s second leading rusher last season, prior to halftime in Week 2 was not a big enough blow, the team has also been without tight end Luke Stocker (who is a key blocker in the run game), wide receiver Cecil Shorts and defensive end Robert Ayers since that game.

This past week the team was also without defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald and running back Charles Sims, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, while Joe Hawley missed part of the game with a knee injury.

They still managed to come out of Charlotte with another division win, and because of that some members of the team might prefer to play San Francisco this week. But if you ask Dirk Koetter, the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.

Doug Martin
Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“It probably couldn’t be at a better time for us. The momentum factor is one thing, but we have a chance to get several key members of our team back,” said Koetter. “So the players have five days off, starting (Wednesday).

“We’ll work out on Monday, then they’ll have another day off and then a week a week from Wednesday, we’ll zero in on San Francisco game planning. So six of the next seven days off, got a nice opportunity to get healthy.”

The hope is that the team can at least come out of the bye week with both Martin and Stocker back, possibly with everyone outside of Sims being able to at least return to the practice field on Wednesday.

Of the aforementioned group of players, Stocker was the only one that was able to practice, albeit limited, all last week.

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