A clear cut candidate after struggling last year and being suspended at the end of the season for violating the NFL's drug policy, Martin has earned nothing but praise this offseason after he spent time in rehab.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo spoke to Bucs general manager Jason Licht as the team closed minicamp on Thursday. The assessment of Martin's on-field improvement was glowing.
"I had a conversation with [Licht]. He said, '[Martin] looks lean, he looks like he's finishing his runs -- obviously, there is no contact in the spring -- but it looks like he's finishing his runs. He looks like he's got that burst. He looks like he's got that burst. He looks like the Doug Martin of 2015,'" Garafolo said Thursday on NFL Network's Inside Minicamp Live.
In 2015, Martin finished with 1,673 total yards and seven touchdowns and was the #4 fantasy running back in PPR formats. He has seemingly returned from the dead. He was mentioned as a cut candidate early this year, but now it sounds like the team is expecting him to return to form in 2017. He's suspended for the first three games of the season, and Jacquizz Rodgers is likely to start in his place for that span. In regular redraft formats, it's an intriguing strategy for owners to draft both Martin and Rodgers to serve as RB2 by committee (in a WR-heavy strategy).
Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season, but has drawn rave reviews from the Bucs coaching staff and front office, and it doesn't appear that he's lost his spot on the depth chart.
This explains Martin being inactive for Week 16. He'll begin a four-game suspension in Week 17, so unless the Bucs make the postseason (unlikely), he'll have to serve the remainder of his suspension at the beginning of the 2017 season.
After his 1,402-yard season in 2015, Doug Martin appeared to be in good standing with the Buccaneers. He signed a five-year, $35.75 million deal in March, effectively keeping him in Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future. However, after his recent struggles, his roster spot may not be as guaranteed as it once seemed.
Martin was a healthy scratch in the Buccaneers’ Week 16 game against the Saints – the first time in his career he was benched. He called it a coach’s decision with Dirk Koetter saying Jacquizz Rodgers was a better fit for the game.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Martin will be inactive once again in Week 17. In turn, the Buccaneers plan to sign Russell Hansborough from the practice squad to fill his spot on the game-day roster.
Martin has undoubtedly struggled mightily this season, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. That’s down from 4.9 a year ago, and it’s a big reason for Koetter’s decision to bench him. If he continues to struggle into 2017, his future with the team could certainly be in limbo. After next season, the Buccaneers won’t incur any dead money by parting ways with Martin.
Two days after Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin was made a healthy scratch against the New Orleans Saints before a game that would essentially decide whether they would reach the playoffs, coach Dirk Koetter stood by his decision and his previous defense of Martin.
He wouldn't say what it means going forward, though.
"As I said last week, we made a decision for the Saints game based on what I thought was best for our team that week, and we'll do the same thing this week," Koetter said. "We'll make the decision, not just at running back, but at every position."
Related players: Jacquizz Rodgers
The past several weeks, Koetter had been peppered with questions about Martin's performances. He defended Martin, saying that he had been "running hard," that "we need to play better around him" and "there's nothing wrong with Doug Martin." Jacquizz Rodgers led Tampa Bay with 63 yards and 1 touchdown on 15 carries against the Saints. The story said Peyton Barber is on all four special teams, Charles Sims was on some special teams and was a backup on all special teams.
Projections have been updated. Charles Sims has played ahead of Jacquizz Rodgers this year, so he should have the slight edge in touches, but we’re expecting a committee given how productive Rodgers has been in spots this year. It could turn into a hot hand situation, so both players are interesting last-minute plays given a favorable matchup with the Saints.
Sims, the team's third-down running back, had been on IR since Oct. 10, after injuring his knee against the Denver Broncos. He officially returned to practice prior to the Week 11 game, with his 21-day practice period concluding this week.
Before the injury, Sims had seen action in four games this season (starting two), rushing 41 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. A viable contributor in the short-passing game, Sims also caught 14 passes for 112 yards and a receiving TD.
He said after the game, via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, that he was “bent back” before heading for the sideline and that he expects to be fine.
The Bucs got Jacquizz Rodgers back this week. Martin missed six games with a hamstring injury this year which allowed Rodgers to make a fantasy impact. In Week 13, Rodgers made a big catch on the game-winning touchdown drive and then ran the clock out on the next Tampa possession. Rodgers may be worth owning for Martin owners.
Friday, December 2, 2016, 6:13pm
Buccaneers RB Jacquizz Rodgers (foot, questionable) took full practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 13. He’ll likely back up Doug Martin this week. Charles Sims may be able to return next week.
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 6:10pm
Buccaneers RB Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) took full practice reps again Thursday. The Bucs waived Mike James which means that it’s likely Rodgers makes his return this week. He’ll likely back up Doug Martin this week. Charles Sims may be able to return next week.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 6:36pm
Buccaneers RB Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) practiced fully Wednesday. The Bucs waived Mike James which means that it’s likely Rodgers makes his return this week. He’ll likely back up Doug Martin this week. Charles Sims may be able to return next week.
The Bucs continue to get key players back from injury, and RB Jacquizz Rodgers, out three games with a foot injury, could be next. Coach Dirk Koetter said Rodgers could return to practice when the Bucs resume drills Wednesday.
"We'll see what Wednesday brings. I glanced outside, and Jacquizz was out working on the field with trainers. We'll see," said Koetter, who said the topic of Rodgers' return came up as GM Jason Licht got a medical update Monday morning.
Related players: Doug Martin
The Bucs have had starting RB Doug Martin back for the past two games after he missed six with a hamstring injury, but Rodgers had two 100-yard games filling in for Martin and would add depth to the Bucs' running attack. Charles Sims, on injured reserve for the past six weeks with a knee injury, can return to practice this week, though he's not eligible to play until Week 14, after two more games.
Martin has not played in a game since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 2. He attempted to come back just prior to the Week 5 game against the Carolina Panthers, but he reinjured the hamstring during a workout.
Related players: Peyton Barber
He was limited in practice all week, and the Bucs were not optimistic he would make it through the week. However, Martin's steady improvement in the practices offered an encouraging sign. On the fantasy end, there's a chance he's on some sort of pitch count but given the injuries to the position, Martin could at least see time in key situations. Barber seems likely to get a fair workload as well.
Friday, November 11, 2016, 7:00pm
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (hamstring, questionable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 10. The full practice is a good sign. He’s a game-time call, and the Bucs play early on Sunday. Beat writer Rick Stroud said that Martin “doesn’t seem prepared to play.” The matchup against the Bears (#10 in RB aFPA) isn’t bad. If he’s out, Peyton Barber would likely see the bulk of the touches and he’s likely to have a significant role even if Martin is active.
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