SEATTLE — Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin won't play in today's game against the Seahawks, but the Bucs remain confident Martin will play again this season.
The source of their optimism is former Bucs safety John Lynch.
Like Martin, who reportedly suffered a torn left labrum at Atlanta on Oct. 20, Lynch tore the labrum and dislocated a shoulder against Chicago in November 2000. Despite the pain, Lynch played a week later against Buffalo.
The Bucs think Martin can do something similar. He missed the past two games, but Tampa Bay set an internal target date for his return of Nov. 11, which is the game against Miami on “Monday Night Football.”
“The injury he has, if you can do your job, then you can play,'' Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “Doug's a tough guy, and he wants to play, and there have been tons of guys that have done it. It's just physiological. Can you or can't you? Some can, some can't.”
It's not all physiological. Lynch played in a lot of pain down the stretch in 2000, largely because his shoulder kept popping out of place during games. So, there is a pain tolerance issue, as well.
“It's pain tolerance and an ability to function,'' Schiano said. “So (head trainer) Todd Toriscelli and his troops are taking him through the paces that you need to be able to do to get back to playing football.
“And eventually he's going to need to get it repaired, but it doesn't make a difference if he does it now or at the end of the year. If he can't function, then we'll have to shut it down. But it's not going to get worse.''
Do drop in
Dropped passes are a part of the game, and they've been a bigger part of wide receiver Vincent Jackson's game than many would like this year.
Jackson has dropped seven passes, which is the third-most in the league, according to ProFootballFocus, which also claims Jackson has dropped 14.58 percent of the catchable balls he has been thrown, a number that ranks 13th in the league.
Schiano doesn't seem too concerned about Jackson's play, though.
“Yeah, he's had some drops, but if you look at the top receivers in this league, they have some drops,'' Schiano said. “Why? Because they make some spectacular plays and they have such confidence, they're thinking about scoring every time they touch it.
“You'd love to have spectacular plays and no drops, but that's not realistic. Maybe it is if you have the perfect guy, but I haven't met him yet. So, I think Vincent is having a good year. And I think he's at the point where he could really take off, and that's what we hope for.''
Third and long
The Tampa Bay offense scored an average of just nine points in the three games Josh Freeman was the quarterback. It has nearly doubled that output during Mike Glennon's four games, though the average of 16.5 points still ranks near the bottom of the league.
Glennon thinks his play on third down is one of the reasons the offense continues to struggle. Glennon has completed only 57.1 percent of his third-down passes, and his 78.7 third-down passer rating is 20th in the league.
“I really think we just have to finish our drives better, and that starts with me completing more (passes) and not missing a third-down throw that keeps the drive alive,'' he said. “If we can do that, then we'll be scoring touchdowns rather than field goals. And if we do that, we'll be right in the mix in the fourth quarter.”