TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running back depth took another hit Monday.
Coach Greg Schiano said Tuesday that rookie Mike James is done for the season after fracturing his left ankle in the first quarter of a 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium.
The news follows Tampa Bay’s decision to place Pro Bowl rusher Doug Martin on injured reserve last Friday, after the Boise State product sustained a torn labrum in his left shoulder in a Week 7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
James, 22, had performed well in Martin’s absence. The sixth-round pick from the University of Miami rushed for a season-best 158 yards on 28 carries in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. Monday, James had five carries for 41 yards before he was carted off the field near Miami’s end zone.
Brian Leonard, a seventh-year pro, and Bobby Rainey, a second-year player claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 21, figure to earn more carries with Martin and James out. Leonard had 20 carries for 57 yards and Rainey eight carries for 45 yards Monday.
“I have faith in our offensive line,” Schiano said Tuesday. “I think Bobby Rainey showed that he’s a good running back. And Brian Leonard is a good running back. It may not be where one guy’s getting all the carries or a lion’s share of the carries. We’re probably going to have to mix it up a little bit.”