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michael89156

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: July 25, 2013, 12:00:51 AM




Bucs' Doug Martin out to break from shadows of Adrian Peterson, Darrelle Revis




NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 16: Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs past Sedrick Ellis #98 of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 16, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)




Eric Adelson

7 hours ago

Yahoo! Sports.





TAMPA, Fla.

 There isn't much debate about the NFL's top running back; it's Adrian Peterson.

There is room for debate, however, about the NFL's next top running back. Six rushers (including Peterson) averaged more than 80 yards per game last year. Two were rookies. Both got stronger as the year went on, averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game in November and December.

But only one was also a dangerous pass-catching threat.

That would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Doug Martin.

The Muscle Hamster seems to be overshadowed in every situation he's in. Martin ran for more than 1,400 yards in 2012, but the Minnesota Vikings' Peterson ran for nearly 2,100. Martin was one of the most explosive rookies in football in 2012, but the Washington Redskins' Alfred Morris played alongside Robert Griffin III and made the playoffs. Martin's already 12th in Bucs franchise history in rushing yards after one season but he's lost most of the summer spotlight to new teammate Darrelle Revis.

And although Revis will continue to be the Bucs' biggest story, Martin is likely to be the Bucs' biggest star. And the 24-year-old Pro Bowler could be one of the league's biggest stars as soon as this fall.

"Doug is special," Bucs running backs coach Earnest Byner said Wednesday. "He has the potential to be one of the top backs in the league. And if you look at history, he has a chance to be one of the special ones."

Martin is likely to be better this season, for a variety of reasons. His rookie year came mostly without the help of two of the best guards in football: Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph. Nicks missed nine games because of a left toe injury and Joseph missed the entire campaign following a preseason knee injury. Those two are presumably healthy now, and the Bucs just acquired former Cleveland Browns star Peyton Hillis, who should help not only with workload but also with blocking.



Doug Martin (front) takes a handoff during an OTA practice. (USA TODAY Sports)


Then there's the improvement Martin has made on his own over the offseason. "He's become a better runner," Byner said. Martin is more aware of the Bucs' zone scheme, so he'll know where linemen will be earlier in his attempts. Byner also says Martin's positioning on screens will improve. "In the passing game," he said, "he's gonna be better."

He wasn't bad last year, with 472 yards receiving. That's more than 1,900 offensive yards as a rookie, playing mostly without two former Pro Bowlers in front of him.

More tellingly, there was no apparent rookie wall. Martin's stats vaulted not only in the latter part of his season, but in the second half of his games. He ran for 4.1 yards per carry in his first 10 attempts per game, and 5.5 in attempts 11-20. He ran for 820 yards in the third and fourth quarters and 586 in the first and second. Fantasy owners love Martin for his speed and quickness, but coaches love him for his toughness.

"He's a throwback," said Byner. "He's one of these guys who can play every down. He can stay in on third."

In fact, there was no sign at all from Byner that the Bucs intend to scale Martin back. The very first question about Martin on Wednesday was about what the running backs coach expects from Martin this season.

His answer: "even more ownership."

So the hype will go to Revis. The ball will go to Martin. And if the last half of last season is any indication, a few records might end up going to him, too.

Bucsfan x

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#1 : July 25, 2013, 08:42:24 AM

I'm this close >< to buying a Martin jersey.  Would be my first jersey since John Lynch in 2001.

Octagenarian

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#2 : July 25, 2013, 08:43:35 AM

I'm this close >< to buying a Martin jersey.  Would be my first jersey since John Lynch in 2001.

Is money the problem, young whippersnapper?    How much does a jersey cost?

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#3 : July 25, 2013, 08:46:57 AM

I'm this close >< to buying a Martin jersey.  Would be my first jersey since John Lynch in 2001.

Is money the problem, young whippersnapper?    How much does a jersey cost?

No, money is not the problem.  But I have been hesitant to spend $75-$100 on jerseys with the amount of injury and turnover there is in the NFL nowadays.  If I'm going to buy a jersey, I expect it to last a while, not just a couple years.  That money is better spent buying game tickets.

buccaneer4ever

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#4 : July 25, 2013, 02:21:22 PM

I'm this close >< to buying a Martin jersey.  Would be my first jersey since John Lynch in 2001.

My dad bought me a Martin jersey for my bday. I should post a pic...

: July 25, 2013, 02:25:04 PM buccaneer4ever


Blaze688

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#5 : July 25, 2013, 02:40:44 PM

My general rule of thumb... I never buy a jersey unless the player is retired.  Too many things could render it unwearable.

Michael Clayton masqueraded as an all-pro his rookie season, and fell off the next.  Ditto Cadillac Williams.  Mark Barron changed numbers after his rookie campaign.  Tanard Jackson couldn't stay off drugs (and changed his number!).  Barrett Ruud went from up-and-comer to down-and-outer in two seasons.  Keyshawn Johnson s***-talked his way out of town.

When you buy retired, there are only a few things to sabotage your purchase; you have the rare Brett Favre un-retirement parade that ruins his legacy and sours his reputation, or the rarer still OJ Simpson crime spree.  But those are just bad luck.  I think we're all safe buying Alstott, Brooks, Barber, Lynch, and Sapp jerseys, but if it were my money, I'd hold off on any current players.  For now.


chace1986

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#6 : July 25, 2013, 02:42:24 PM

I'm this close >< to buying a Martin jersey.  Would be my first jersey since John Lynch in 2001.

My dad bought me a Martin jersey for my bday. I should post a pic...



Hope, that sucker is shower safe.


Hell, brees might not be as accurate as manziel.
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