Buccaneers RB Doug Martin had his best offseason in three years, and the upswing in his play could not have come at a better time. Charles Sims is good enough to start and he’ll push Martin hard for the bell-cow role. But the Bucs are probably better with Martin in the lead, Sims filling a third-down pass catcher’s role and Bobby Rainey backing up both.
The coaching staff reportedly loves Charles Sims, but OC Dirk Koetter fought to keep Martin with the team during the offseason, and he still sits atop the team's depth chart after a strong offseason. He's going in the 8th or 9th round, so he's a good target for those owners who are looking for potential starters in the later rounds.
“What you’re not seeing that makes me look a little slimmer is my body fat,” Martin said. “I got my body fat down by like four or five percent so I’m in great shape. I feel good and I’m ready to go.”
Martin could have a few new faces blocking for him after the Bucs’ selected tackle Donovan Smith and guard Ali Marpet in this year’s draft. Although the Bucs have only gone through non-contact OTA practices, he can already see improvement along the offensive line.
“They’re doing pretty good,” Martin said. “There’s more communication between the line. We’re more gelled than we were last year. I feel like it’s going to be a good season for us and the line’s doing a good job proving that… or (are) going to prove that.”
The coaching staff reportedly loves Charles Sims, but OC Dirk Koetter fought to keep Martin with the team during the offseason, and he still sits atop the team's depth chart. He's going in the 9th round, so he's a good target for those owners who are looking for potential starters in the later rounds.
Joe Kania of Buccaneers.com:
Last week it was Doug Martin that caught our eye. This week, a different running back stood out. While Martin and Charles Sims were used often in the screen game, Bobby Rainey ran a few of the deeper routes out of the backfield. Rainey, Martin and Sims are all battling to be the Bucs’ No. 1 running back, and Rainey’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is helping his case.
Rainey was by far the best Bucs running back last season, averaging 4.3 YPC, while Martin (3.7 YPC) and Sims (2.8) struggled mightily. Rainey also led the backs in receptions with 33 for 315 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't been discussed much this preseason as the focus has been on Martin and Sims, but he's a player to have on speed dial if either player suffers an injury.
Doug Martin looked smooth during Thursday’s session, making sharp cuts and catching out of the backfield during one-on-one drills against linebackers. The Boise State product was practicing with first-team offense and, according to Lovie Smith, he’ll stay with that group.
“He’s on the first team like he has always been,” Smith said. “He’s one of our guys, he’s our running back. He’s showing up and he is getting good work. I think it is just as simple as that.”
The team is supposedly very high on Charles Sims, but it sounds as if it's time to pump the brakes a bit. Neither player is a great fantasy option, though with the additions that the Bucs made to the offensive line, the running game should be better in 2015.
Pat Yasinkas on the Buccaneers running back situation: The Bucs will have two position battles that I find especially compelling. First, there's running back. Doug Martin has been the starter the past three seasons. But he's coming off a disappointing season and the coaching staff and front office don't seem sold on a player they didn't draft. They did draft Charles Sims last year and the coaches are very high on him. Sims could end up beating out Martin.
Sims averaged 2.8 YPC on 66 carries last year but fared well in the passing game (19 catches for 190 yards). The best running back on the roster last year was Bobby Rainey, but no one seems to think he's a threat for a major role as long as Sims and Martin stay healthy.
Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still believe in running back Doug Martin? Coach Lovie Smith told a gathering of team suite holders on Thursday that "we haven't seen the true Doug Martin yet," per Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune.
Smith went on to praise Tampa's stable of backs -- including Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Charles Sims -- while noting that new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is excited to see what a healthy Martin can accomplish in 2015.
Three years removed from a sizzling rookie campaign that saw him rumble for 1,454 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns, Martin has been slowed by shoulder, knee and ankle injuries over the past two seasons. After burning through opponents for 4.6 yards per carry as a rookie, he's logged just 3.6 yards per tote since.
As the story also pointed out, Martin played last season behind a terrible O-line. There's also been a lot of hype surrounding Sims, who could cut into any kind of workload Martin would get this season. However, the story also pointed out it's entirely possible the Bucs look to trade or release Martin before the season.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey (ankle, questionable) missed practice all week and is questionable for Week 14. Rainey’s absence would open the for both Doug Martin and Charles Sims to receive more snaps and touches, though a matchup with a very tough Detroit defense isn’t appealing.
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey (ankle) missed practice again Thursday. Rainey’s absence would open the for both Doug Martin and Charles Sims to receive more snaps and touches, though a matchup with a very tough Detroit defense isn’t appealing.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30pm
Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Rainey’s absence would open the for both Doug Martin and Charles Sims to receive more snaps and touches, though a matchup with a very tough Detroit defense isn’t appealing.
Buccaneers HC Lovie Smith called Doug Martin the team's bell cow in August, and Martin's photograph stares out from billboards near Raymond James Stadium. Martin, who hasn't addressed reporters this week, got many of the reps with the first team during drills.
Smith said Martin's role will be to get "back into the mix." Martin's health will help determine how many offensive touches he gets and whether he can step into the role Smith envisioned for him months ago.
"Yes, we would like to see one of our running backs rush for 200 yards and he becomes the bell-cow role," Smith said. "But Doug is back this week, and that's a good thing. He's looked pretty good in practice, and we feel real good about that group, whatever three or four we go with."
It's shaping up to be an ugly three-headed committee in Week 12, but we believe the team wants to see what they have in Charles Sims. Unfortunately, he's questionable with an ankle injury after sitting out most of the season (with an ankle injury), so that certainly limits his upside.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 12. Charles Sims (ankle, questionable) is also iffy. Sims likely gets the lion’s share if they both play, but neither is an attractive start at this point.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Buccaneers RB Charles Sims (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 12. Doug Martin (ankle, questionable) is also questionable. Sims likely gets the lion’s share if they both play, but neither is an attractive start at this point.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) took limited practice reps again Thursday. It looks like Martin will return, but it appears that the team wants to feature Charles Sims at this point.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Buccaneers RB Charles Sims (ankle) was added to the injury report Thursday after taking limited practice reps. It’s a midweek downgrade for Sims, which is typically a bad sign. He missed most of the season with an ankle injury. If Sims can’t play Bobby Rainey and Doug Martin would likely form a committee against the Bears.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:11pm
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) took limited practice reps Wednesday. It looks like Martin will return, but it appears that the team wants to feature Charles Sims at this point.
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