Lost in QB Jameis Winston's shadow is the play of running back Doug Martin in Monday night's preseason victory against Cincinnati. Martin had six carries for 59 yards (a 9.8-yard average), including 52 yards on an opening touchdown drive.
He looked more like the Martin who rushed for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012 than like the player who has struggled through injuries the past two seasons.
"First off, he's healthy and you know how much that means to a running back," coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday. "He's worked hard. He's looked good in training camp practices but you want to see him do it in a game. There were holes last night. But there was also a wall and he was stopped at the line of scrimmage a couple of times and he made something out of nothing a few times. He broke tackles and ran hard. Just a good game."
Martin's play in training camp has had the coaching staff talking and his performance against the Bengals only added to the excitement that he might be able to be the player he once was. Martin could also be inspired by his contract situation as the Bucs declined his 2016 option. There are plenty of backs behind Martin who have shown flashes at one time or another in Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James.