The Buccaneers are likely to make use of a full stable of backs in 2012, as is the practice with most teams in today's NFL. Third-year player LeGarrette Blount is the returning starter and rookie Doug Martin is the prized newcomer, but it would be surprise if either of them failed to earn a significant role in Mike Sullivan's attack. There may also be a significant number of carries available for the likes of Michael Smith, Mossis Madu, Robert Hughes or De'Anthony Curtis.
Will Blount remain the starter or will that job go to Martin…and will that title even matter in the long run? The best-case scenario for the Buccaneers is a rushing attack that proves very potent, which will lead to more carries for everyone involved.
Much of it may depend on how versatile Blount and Martin prove to be. Obviously, being competent in the passing game – both as a receiver and, just as importantly, a blocker in the backfield – will increase the chances for either back to remain on the field for all downs. Martin was seen as that sort of multi-talented every-down back by scouts and analysts before the draft, and Blount is determined to prove that the same description applies to him.
It will also be interesting to see which back emerges as the team's best option in short yardage situations and around the goal line.
Martin is getting a lot of hype but the ideal situation is the team can use both backs - not so ideal for fantasy owners, however. Blount wasn't trusted last year in key situations because of fumbles, so it wouldn't be shocking if Martin emerges as the lead back at some point. Right now, the situation is too far up in the air to use third or fourth round pick on Martin.