The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be 0-3 to start the season, but the version of their team that will be coming to Heinz Field Sunday to play the Pittsburgh Steelers will be a little different than the one that currently is winless.
For starters, the Buccaneers offense is expecting to have their starting running back Doug Martin back this week. Martin hasn’t played since going down injured with a knee injury in Week 1 and that has left the rushing chores up to the diminutive Bobby Rainey, a former undrafted free agent, the last few weeks.
The Buccaneers defense also figures to get back a few key components this week against the Steelers as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Johnson are both expected to return to the lineup following them being sidelined briefly with injuries.
“We saw the Pittsburgh Steelers getting beat pretty bad by one of their division opponents on Thursday night, took the time off and came back and dominated a good Carolina team last night, so it can be done,” said Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith on Monday. “Plus we’re getting players back.
“Our goal with the injury list: Wednesday, kind of like every other team this week, we got a bonus day today, so I’m not going to talk about any injuries, but we are getting guys back, which we need. All of big guns are out there ready to go and we think we’re getting a little bit closer to that.”