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Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 6:52pm
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.
Posted by Jordan Heck
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 8:16pm
Doug Martin has been named Tampa Bay's starting running back for the season. The former first-round pick has shown promise before, especially during his rookie season. In 2012 Martin had a string of amazing performances and finished with 1,926 total yards and 12 touchdowns. He's also a fan of new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Apparently Martin was on the trading block, but when Koetter arrive he opted to keep the running back after liking what he saw on tape.
Martin has struggled heavily in his past two seasons as he's dealt with injuries. In 2013 he started six games and had just one touchdown. Last season he started 11 games and scored only twice. He also averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and finished with just 494 rushing yards. Not only has he struggled running, but he's also not as effective catching the ball as he was in his rookie season. Last year he caught 13 balls in 11 games and averaged less than five yards per catch. Martin will also be in somewhat of a crowded backfield. While he's considered the starter, the Buccaneers will likely sprinkle in Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey.
Martin is not a very promising player at this point. He still has time to turn it around, but he needs to prove it first. Right now he's outside of being a reliable RB2. He should be viewed more as a RB3 or a flex option in the hopes he performs well and can hold off Sims. A new offense and a better quarterback in place should help Martin, but he's a long way from being trustworthy.
2015 Strength of Schedule - TB
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2014 Game Stats