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June 24, 2012 @ 6:35 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/2 Votes

Martin Ready To Compete For Bucs' Starting RB Job

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Doug Martin, the second of two first-round picks for the Buccaneers, has rebounded from an offseason hamstring string and is ready to compete for the starting running back job in Tampa Bay. Martin's pass protection skills are as good as advertised, according to running backs coach Earnest Byner.
Although veteran LeGarrette Blount is listed as the starting running back and took most of the first-team reps this offseason, rookie Doug Martin, the Buccaneers’ second of two first-round picks in 2012, is definitely in the mix for the starting job in Tampa Bay.

“They are competing right now, that’s probably the best thing they can do,” said Buccaneers running back Earnest Byner. “Each guy is trying to stake a claim on what he can do to help this football team and what he can do to make us all better.”

Martin was battling a nagging hamstring strain during the OTAs (organized team activities) that hampered his ability to take part in all of the snaps, but was able to fully participate in the Bucs’ mandatory mini-camp.

“Yes, I was able to go full go and open up a little bit and get that speed going,” Martin said. “I feel like I have a good grasp of the playbook. Just coming from the classroom onto the field is what everyone is working on right now, and I’m doing a pretty good job at that.

“Camp was just for us to review the stuff that we have learned in the past OTAs and just crystallize the plays.”

Martin was viewed by most NFL teams as the second-best running back in the 2012 NFL Draft behind Alabama’s Trent Richardson, who was drafted fourth overall by the Cleveland Browns, who picked one spot ahead of Tampa Bay. After trading down from the fifth spot to the seventh overall pick and selecting Alabama safety Mark Barron, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik traded the team’s second-round pick and a fourth-rounder to Denver to move up into the first round and select Martin with the 31st overall selection.

What drew the Buccaneers’ attention to the 5-foot-9, 223-pound Martin is the fact that he could not only run the ball, but that he was a complete back that could also catch the ball and pass protect at Boise State. Martin rushed for 3,431 yards and 43 touchdowns for the Broncos, including 1,299 yards and 16 scores as a senior, but also caught 67 passes for 715 yards and four TDs during his college career.

Byner said Martin’s ability to pick up the blitz is as good as advertised.

“The thing that they struggle with most of the time is pass protection and especially nickel pass protection, but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue with him,” Byner said. “He has done some good things. He has some quickness. Doug is really smart, and eager to grab some of the concepts that we are teaching. He is excited to come out here and play for the Buccaneers.”


Martin is also excited to compete for playing time now that he is 100 percent healthy.

“It’s a dream come true,” Martin said. “It took me a while to really take it all in and get on cloud nine. It hit me a little bit ago, that this is a dream come true. I am very happy to be in this position. It is an excellent opportunity. ”

New Bucs head coach Greg Schiano is a big proponent of running the football and although there should be plenty of carries of both Martin and Blount, he has expressed the desire to have whoever emerges as the starter become a workhorse back the way Ray Rice was for Schiano at Rutgers. Coming out in the 2012 NFL Draft, Martin has been compared to Rice perhaps more than any other NFL player.

The success of the Buccaneers running the football will not just depend on Martin or Blount, but also the mammoth offensive line the team has assembled, including Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks, who was signed away from New Orleans in free agency.

“It is a very good unit,” Martin said. “Those guys bring a lot of confidence to the running game. Running behind them – I wouldn’t have anybody else.”

In less than two months Martin has picked up Tampa Bay’s offense during the OTAs and mini-camp. With training camp being less than six weeks away, the rookie rusher will get the chance to make enough of an impression to possibly unseat Blount and become Schiano’s workhorse back as long as he keeps one thing top of mind.

“Ball security,” Martin said. “[Keep the] ball to the chin. You just have to protect that thing.”

Last modified on Sunday, 24 June 2012 07:48
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  • avatar


    I have always believed that defense begins with the interior d line. A strong front middle controls the center of the field and forces plays to the outside where there is a boundary to act as another defender. Weak DT play puts too much pressure on the lbs, and of course sets them up for failure. In my opinion DT is a priority to next years draft, then a freak lb to help control the middle. Our DE s will be able to pressure the QB if the DTs do their jobs and force double teams in the middle.
  • avatar

    I reiterate my stance on this Bucs draft I LOVE IT! every pick was the pick I would have selected myself period.
  • avatar


    WELL BUCS FANS I HOPE THAT MARTIN WILL PUSH BLOUNT VERY HARD,IT WILL BE GREAT THAT TAMPA COULD HAVE POWER RUNNING INSIDE AS WELL AS OUTSIDE RUNNING AND THAT MEANS THE PASSING LANES WILL OPEN UP. GO BUCS
  • avatar


    Horse: GM's pay little attention to the round. Draft position is what counts. Our original pick was # 36. We traded up to # 31 to select Martin. He was certainly ranked that high and would in no way be considered a "reach." Chris Rainey, selected by my hometown Steelers with the 159th pick (5th round) is not in Martin's league as an every down back. He is a smaller version of Michael Smith who we drafted two rounds later. I like Rainey because of his speed and versatility, but he's no Warrick Dunn. No idea about Martin's stats when Boise State couldn't pass but his production tells me he was a major part of their offense. Guess you don't think Martin was the BPA at # 36 but that depends on whose grading scale you use.
  • avatar


    I agree with scubog. We all can disagree on some subjects or players, but we are civil about it. We all also want the best for the Bucs. Let me add just one more thought about Martin? I agree that he can be a good RB. I am wondering what his stats were when Boise State couldn't pass the ball and had to rely on him to run the ball? Does anybody know. Scubog, you asked me who I would have picked at No. 35 not No. 36. If I had to draft at that spot and I couldn't trade down it would not have been Martin. It would have been BPA and that's why I wanted us to just trade down and pick up that extra 3rd rounder. We still could have gotten David in the 2nd and maybe in the 3rd gotten an CB and another LB. Rainey was availalbe in the 4th and 5th rounds if I remember. Rainey will be an adequate RB in the NFL and will also put on more power weight and keep the speed too. I have a little concerns about Martin because he played at Boise State who I felt have been highly over rated these past few years. He played mostly inside on artificial blue turf and blue uniforms to match their field. I am not sure how his blocking would have been playing against consistent top 25 teams. There only impressive win was the first game of the season with Georgia who didn't have it all together yet in that game. They would have never beaten Georgia if they played them towards the end of the season. I just don't believe that Martin a 1st rounder and we reached for him. I do hope he plays like a 1st rounder and does great for us because we need him to alter the flow of our running game at times. Just my opinion.
  • avatar


    What a nice respectful on-line discussion. We all want the Bucs to be the best team possible and in doing so voiced our opinions as to the quickest way to return to being a play-off caliber team without the name-calling. Whether or not we think a RB, LB or CB will get us there, you all should be commended that no one was called an idiot for his beliefs. When the offense and defense are as pathetic as last season, Dominik could have drafted any position except kicker and punter and improved the roster. The biggest improvement I see is from the group that won't ever play a down. Toes on the line!
  • avatar


    I think the Bucs did the right thing taking Martin instead of trading down. Horse, if you think Chris Rainey can do what Martin can do, I just don't know what to say about that quality of analysis. Chris Rainey CAN'T do what Martin can do! Rainey is faster than Martin, but Martin runs in the 4.4s while carrying 223 lbs of muscle. Rainey is about 180 lbs and can't break tackles like Martin. Neither is Rainey a good pass blocker. He simply doesn't have the strength to block LBS and DEs. Other than that, I agree that the defense is the real concern next season, but, as has been said, you can't fix it all in one off-season, although they did a lot more than I expected them to.
  • avatar

    You know I don't understand why people keep complaining about what we didn't address. Did you think we could do it all at once? Do you want another Ruud on the team with Keutchley ? We did good selecting Barron who can hit like a linebacker. Now that our resident thugs' legal problems are behind him, his selection only bolsters a weak part of the defense. If they hadn't selected Martin then the 4th rounder they traded would have been a waste because they let Asante Samuel go to Atlanta for a fourth. If Talib had gone to prison we would have been screwed. Almost seems like Dom had inside info about the outcome of Talibs trial. Now that it worked itself out he's looking like a psychic. The one thing that Martin can help the defense is if he keeps the ball out of the other teams hands then less work for them. The saying goes the best defense is a great offense. With the pieces we added on offense we might have the chance that other teams have to keep up with us not so much the other way around. Hopefully that causes them to force mistakes that our defense can capitalize on.
  • avatar

    Great discussion. A few points. LB was not a strong position in this year's draft. I think it was great that we got the 2nd rated RB at the end of the first round. And when we later added David I was ecstatic. Going into the draft I felt our main positions of need (in order) were... LB, RB, Corner, Safety. We nailed 3 of the 4. Sometimes you have to take as much first round talent as you can get, because the further along the draft goes the more questions there are with each player. Of course, all of these guys could end up busts, but I was very happy with how the draft went down this year.
  • avatar


    Very good points on the the debates going. I do side with Scubog for points he made (quality over quantity) no ugly chicks for me, lol. Another big one for me is a good analysis of Freeman. One play away from no running game doesn't sit well with me because the defense can play the pass. Given the offensive tools Freeman should have, he should have a breakout year. If so we are moving in the right direction albiet the defense may not have caught up yet. If not we posibly have another bigger problem...Let's face it, playoffs this year are improbable. Why not try and fix one side of the ball first? Plus, I think we have at least 2 long-term keepers on defense this year from this draft. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    It's great everyone gets to voice an opinion and i'm simply adding to the list. I'm one of those that believes dominic did a very good job with this draft,but it's a wait and see game now,as for offense vs. defense, my first choice was TR ,but the selection of Barron was great, a definite need.While the defense surely had it's share of problems, the offense wasn't without it's share of headaches also,was it and to get back into the 1st round and get martin, whlie he may not be trent richardson I don't think the difference he brings to the bucs is going to be that great.I'm of the opinion the TR was the bucs 1st choice in the entire draft,but we all know the fairies changed that and because the brownies drafted richardson, the giants suffered. How? Glad you ask, in my opinion the giants had targeted martin and if they had any idea the bucs wanted martin,i'm pretty sure they would made sure that didn't happen, instead they felt very comfortable at 32, only to have the bucs slip back in and get martin at 31(CRAP the mara's scream in unison). It would have been awesome for the bucs to fix both sides of the ball at the same time,but likely hood of that happening is slim and none and Slim just walk out the door,so they chose to strengthen the side that was (is) the strongest, smart move.
  • avatar


    This is a tough one. I can see this debate from Horse's point of view as well as...just about everyone else's. I agree with Horse that we didn't do enough to address the LB postion but I can't think of a better way that Dominik should have handled it. One idea is to draft Kueckly instead of Barron, draft Martin (I do disagree with Horse that we didn't really need him) and draft L. David. David would start at WLB, Kueckly at MLB and I would have moved Foster to SLB. But in this scenario you're screwed at SS. It looks like Dominik said "I can either get a great LB or safety in 2013 and right now I like Barron better than Kueckly". I'm still torn on who will be the better player long term. I will say that I like the move Carolina made in moving Kueckly to WLB. I think he will be a Brooks type WLB but only a pretty good NFL MLB. Kueckly just didn't look big and strong enough to me to be a great NFL MLB despite his listed weight.
  • avatar

    The thing that nobody seems to be pointing out is Martin will help keep the defense off the field. Hopefully we will see the offense keep moving the chains and giving our defense time to rest. One of the biggest problems last year was way to many 3 and outs. Some times you can make the defense better just by keeping them off the field.
  • avatar


    This pick was made simply bc of the unknown about Blount. The way Schiano wants to win he HAS to have a reliable running back that can catch, run and block simply put Blount last year didnt show that. Without ever having the opportunity to coach him or see him perform Schiano got a guy that he trusts and theres nothing wrong with that. The defense absolutely needed to be fixed and the only move I disagree with was taking Goode when Josh Norman CB was still available and our 7th rounder when Alfonso Dennard was still available. The secondary could have used that infusion of talent with Barron. But again Schiano has looked at tape and apparently he see's a secondary that perhaps with some fine tuning and scheme change arent that bad at all. Again the issue with the secondary was an injured Talib and the INability to stop the run. Bc we all know you have to commit more to the box when ur not stopping the run with leaves your secondary vulnerable. So hopefully this new scheme allows more proactive plays as opposed to Raheems defense that seemed to constantly be making adjustments and backpedaling. One last thing to remember a lot of our coaches were college coaches last year so they know these players better than most scounts we have so if they didnt feel comfortable drafting a guy its probably for good reason. Plus there are better CBs in next years draft anyway so that could also be in the plans.
  • avatar


    Horse: We all recognize that the defense was horrific but the offense wasn't exactly stellar either. Both needed help and the defense took priority; but you still haven't named the player(s) you would have drafted by trading down so I'll just assume you would have been happy with anyone as long as they were a linebacker or perhaps a cornerback. To say a 3rd rounder is just as good as a 1st or 2nd rounder sure puts a damper on Charlie Campbell's, Mel Kiper's and every other "expert's" and general manager's grading scale. So if I understand you right, you would have traded the # 36 pick for a lower spot in the round and picked up an extra third round pick as payment. Got it. Your drafting philosophy is quantity over quality. In my view, over time, that's the way a roster is weakened and in constant flux. There's usually a good reason for a player's ranking and other than a few exceptions that's how it generally works out. I guess we'll have to respectfully disagree. I suppose two ugly girls are better than one pretty girl if the lights are out and they're not in a pageant every Sunday. C'mon Horse, I even dated a couple of Clearwater High (your alma mater) girls. Pretty cheerleader types of course. I left the pair of homely ones to my buddy Kip who later wised up and targeted one cheerleader. She dumped him and he's been through seven wives since (constant roster change).
  • avatar

    I think Martin will be exciting player for us but I am with Horse. Unless we see big improvement from the Defense, it won't mean much at all. I am very concerned about our DL and Linebackers. David better be as good as advertised because we are weak at linebacker, and unless McCoy and Price have great yrs we are in real trouble.
  • avatar


    Horse: Then the answer as to whom would you have drafted with the 36th pick is no one? You would have traded down to get more players with theoretically lesser ability at a position of what you contend is the greater need. But was it? The linebacker position was addressed in 2011 with Foster, our starting MLB, unless you are ready to write him of already, and the 2012 2nd round draft choice with David, who will likely be our starting Will LB, and the highly paid Black as the starting Sam LB. So it appears that the LB corps is somewhat set, albeit still young and unproven. OK, so if I'm to understand you right; you would have drafted a Sam LB to take Black's place instead of Martin. And that LB corps would have been a second year MLB and two rookies (not premium choices) flanking him. I suppose Dominik could have offered a trade of draft picks to move up even farther to try to get Dont'a Hightower ahead of the Patriots at # 25 and move Foster to Will; but that doesn't follow your plan of moving down. To be clear, your logic would have been to trade down and get a greater number of defenders in hopes of improving a defense with mid-round rookies. Got it. I've sat through every sweltering game for the past 36 years. I even have my aluminum bench. I've seen a lot of bad play, but last year's defense was the worst I've ever seen. Let's hope a little direction and a few less injuries help.
  • avatar


    scubog,Yes you are right that i would have traded down as I have said before. I don't think trading down in the 2nd round to pick up an additional 3rd rounder means less quality. By the way wasn't Foster a middle 3rd rounderin 2011? I think he has done good so why couldn't our 3rd rounders drafted also could have done as good? We agree about LB Black. Where we also probably disagree is where Martin might have been drafted if we didn't jump up and grab him. I am not sure at all that the Giants may have drafted him; where do you think he might have gone in the draft? I'm okay with him as a Buc, just not pleased about it. I was at first, but then thought about it for a day after the draft when I still saw a glaring need for a big LB.
  • avatar

    I can't say anything bad about this draft I love every pick I was estatic about getting Lavonte David as i liked him in college he is a tackling machine I'm not wrapped up in the scale and measuring tape like some other fans are to me your either a football player or your not the scale doesn't make you one
  • avatar


    Lousy defense wasn't the only reason for the lopsided losses. Olson's offense was like Gruden's in that if the other team got too far ahead, they couldn't adjust their game plans on the fly. Maybe with taller, faster, & stronger players they might be able to get open, break tackles, & get big yardage. Instead of having a slow, gimpy, selfish TE demanding the ball resulting in a Freeman forced INT, the WR's will get open downfield. Then maybe Blount can so some damage on the 2nd level against smaller DB's or our faster TV's like Martin & Smith can catch swing passes or go deep. Have to believe that Schiano had concerns about Blount's fumbling and his character, which is why they felt the need for Martin. Besides Lamar Miller I didn't see a back close to having Martin's potential impact.
  • avatar


    scubog - Man, that's nice analysis. Well said. Horse, can we just wait and see how this guy is going to perform before we write him off as a Price or Stocker. I'm excited to see this kid play. If he's anything like Ray Rice, then we're getting a combination of Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstot. I'm glad that we picked him. We needed a consistent running back very badly as well. The other thing to consider is that our defense is in such a transitional state that it's hard to really know what the top need is. If the D-Line shapes up this year then I think it's LB. But if not we're starting from scratch again and I'm imagine that Schiano will have different ideas this time around about where the rebuilding process should begin; from the back or the front.
  • avatar


    Mr. Incredible, I have never said he was a Price, Sctocker because I am not ready to write them off;I think that they will contribute this year. I don't get it from you or Scubog? Did you read my last two lines of my Soundoff? I never said I am writing him off believe he will be with us for several years. The problem that I have was that need wasn't a necessity when we were the 30th best Defensive team last year. I would have preferred we kept all our draft picks at 2,3 and the 4th round we picked up with moving 2 spots down in the first round on Defense.
  • avatar


    Understood that we could have used more help on defense with pick #2, but we'll get more impact from this RB in year 1 than from any additional 2nd round LB/corner. I watched all 16 games like the rest of you last year, and it was pathetic to watch the offence without any type of elusive/speedback (see Madu, Lumpkin/etc). It was a need pick. As for the defense, the only thing that will help that unit in 2012 is better DL play. Failing that, we could have drafted Butkus & Ditka in round 2 this year and they would still get rolled over with the DL not doing their jobs....
  • avatar


    nmkinley, none of that extra speed or pass catching ability means jack if we don't improve the defense. Yes, I know we got Barron, David, and Wright, but that is not enough. Right now I believe we are a 6-10 teams, but a solid 6-10 team and the following year we might get to 7-9 unless we make a lot of progress on the Defensive side.
  • avatar

    I love the idea of Blount being the change of pace running back. When he emerged, I recall it was that role that he flourished in. In a game with 60-65 offensive plays, 60 percent will be rushing plays under Coach Schiano presumably. That leads to 36-39 running plays per game. You will need 2 backs minimum for that workload, even if Coach Schiano ran Ray Rice of Rutgers 39 times for 181 yards against USF in a 2007 Rutgers victory.
  • avatar


    I'm with Horse. How much are we going to run the ball when we are behind by 21 points?
  • avatar


    We don't seem to have much going for us at fullback - why don't we move Blount there?
  • avatar


    Horse: We all know you wanted a linebacker in the second round. But you have to recognize that having only one viable runningback on the roster made that position an equally desperate need. We could have sat there at #36 and had Baltimore take Courtney Upshaw right ahead of us and break your heart then reached for Mychal Kendricks who Philadelphia took at #46. But neither of those players graded as high as Doug Martin by most "experts." After our own Lavonte David was taken at # 58 the Jets took Demario Davis at # 77. Point is, would you rather have those available LB's (Kendricks or Davis) instead of the second rated running back? Who would you have drafted with that 36th pick?
  • avatar


    scubog, did you actually read my Soundoff? There really wasn't a top LB at 35th so what did I say? I said that we should have traded down where David was availalbe and used the extra pick in the third round to pick up another LB too or a CB. Before the draft if you remember my Soundoffs I was for trading down in the 1st and 2nd rounds in those rounds to picks up more draft picks. We just had to many needs to take Martin. He's a solid player and I know he will help us, but another LB or CB would have helped too. Chris Rainey was availalbe in the 5th if i remember and he would have provided much of what martin is going to do. We have to fix our Defense! It doesn't matter if our Offense has improved if the Defense doesn't improve significantly. Okay I get it that you are comfortalbe with our players on Defense, I am not. I don't want to sit out in the hot sun and not feel like the old days as a ticket holder that atleast I know our Defense would keep us in the game.
  • avatar


    A nagging hamstring strain; how many times have we heard that and it goes on for quite awhile? Look I think Martin is pretty good and he would fit into any team to add serious depth or with the opportunity to be a starter for a team who had no starting running back. That was not our case even though the Coach and Dominik tried to spin it that way before the draft. I keep bringing this up and will continue too until proven incorrect. Why did we draft Martin when we had serious Defensive needs? He was not an necessity at this point. This is Coach Schiano's first mistake; it could be a big one if his hamstring problem becomes like Stockers, Jackson, Price, was last year. These kind of injuries take a long time to heal and we will probably see a few more before we ever get out of preseason. If there wasn't a LB worthy of being the 35th pick then I would have traded down and still gotten David plus another 3rd round pick where we could have drafted another LB and CB, or RB because we would have had two third rounders and a 4th rounder. Before I get jumped on here, I haven't said that Martin is not good for the team; I'm saying that we had other needs.
  • avatar

    Horse I agree with you a hamstring injury is a hard one to come back from. Doesn't take much for a strain to turn into a full blown pull but as your idea of trading back to get some more picks.......Don't you think we have enough 3rd-7th round picks on this team? None have truly panned out. They over achieved but eventually settled into why they were drafted so low. The only one who has proven more than his status is Blount . If not for that infamous punch he would have been drafted higher even with the deficiencies in his game which people don't realize he wasn't required to do. Take that with the lack of quality coaching and still out performed his status . It was high time we got some serious high drafted players who could make a difference on offense now especially after the free agents we pulled in..
  • avatar


    Let the games begin! If Blount cotinues to bring it like he has and Martin looks anything like his highlight tape, this is going to be fun to watch. I don't care who starts, it's a nice problem to have! Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Great read but, didn't the browns move up one spot to secure T Richardson?
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