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September 25, 2012 @ 9:14 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Shelve The Rice Comparisons, Martin Has Yet To Make Big Plays

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Although he leads all rookies in rushing through three games, Doug Martin has seen his production fall in each of the last three games and has yet to rip off a run longer than 20 yards for the Bucs. Until Martin proves he can make big plays in the running game, the comparisons to speedy Baltimore rusher Ray Rice aren't valid.
After selecting Alabama strong safety Mark Barron with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay traded up into the first round with Denver to take Boise State running back Doug Martin with the 31st overall pick. New head coach Greg Schiano coached running back Ray Rice at Rutgers and envisioned Martin, who at 5-foot-9, 215 pounds has a similar build to the Pro Bowler, as being a Rice clone.

While Martin has beat out LeGarrette Blount, a two-year starter at running back, for the starting job in Tampa Bay, he has yet to show he is a special running back worthy of being drafted in the first round through the first three games of the 2012 regular season. And he’s certainly not in Rice’s class yet.

Rice, who is Rutgers' all-time leading rusher with 4,926 yards, has rushed for 4,645 yards over his five-year career with the Ravens, and has averaged 4.6 yards per carry since entering the league in 2008. He is currently averaging 5.8 yards per carry in 2012, with 268 yards and three touchdowns on 46 carries.

It should be noted that Martin is currently the leading rookie rusher in the NFL through Week 3 with 63 carries for 214 yards (3.4 avg.) and one touchdown. The only other rookie running back who is starting this year is Cleveland’s Trent Richardson, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Richardson, who is second in the NFL among rookie running backs, has rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns in 50 carries (3.5 avg.), and has also caught 11 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Richardson’s best game came in Week 2 against Cincinnati when Richardson had 109 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries (5.7 avg.) and also posted four catches for 36 yards and a score. Martin came close to rushing for 100 yards in his NFL debut against Carolina, a 16-10 victory for Tampa Bay, but has seen his rushing production decline each week.

What is holding Martin back from even better statistics is the lack of consistent, big, breakout runs. He did rip off a 17-yard gain at Dallas, which was the longest of his young NFL career. But take away that run and Martin averaged just 2.0 yards per carry against the Cowboys on Sunday.

The Bucs are obviously still high on Martin despite an underwhelming start that has seen other rookie running backs in franchise history accomplish much more through their first three starts in terms of rushing average, big runs and touchdowns. Here is a look at the last five rookie rushers, including Martin, to start for the Buccaneers and how they fared in order in their first three games with at least eight carries.

Cadillac Williams’ rushing production – first 3 starts in 2005
27 carries for 148 yards (5.5 avg.) with a 71-yard touchdown run
24 carries for 128 yards (5.3 avg.) and a touchdown with a long of 31 yards
37 carries for 158 yards (4.3 avg.) with a long of 26 yards

Warrick Dunn’s rushing production – first 3 starts in 1997
Eight carries for 37 yards (4.6) with a long of 15 yards
24 carries for 130 yards (5.4) and two touchdowns with a long of 49 yards
16 carries for 101 yards (6.3) with a 52-yard touchdown run

LeGarrette Blount’s rushing production – first 3 starts in 2010
11 carries for 72 yards (6.5 avg.) with a long of 17 yards
22 carries for 120 yards (5.5 avg.) and two touchdowns with a long of 48 yards
13 carries for 46 yards (3.5 avg.) with a long of 21 yards

Doug Martin’s rushing production – first 3 starts in 2012
24 carries for 95 yards (4.0 avg.) with a long of 15 yards
20 carries for 66 yards (3.3 avg.) and one TD with a long of 12 yards
19 carries for 53 yards (2.8 avg.) with a long of 17 yards

Errict Rhett’s rushing production – first 3 starts in 1992
11 carries for 49 yards (4.5) with a long of 12 yards
13 carries for 36 yards (2.8) with a long of 7 yards
15 carries for 34 yards (2.3) with a long of 7 yards

Bucs rookie RB performances over first three games with at least 8 carries
Williams – 88 carries for 434 yards (4.9 avg.) and two touchdowns
Dunn – 48 carries for 268 yards (5.6 avg.) and two touchdowns
Blount – 46 carries for 238 yards (5.2 avg.) and two touchdowns
Martin – 63 carries for 214 yards (3.4 avg.) and one touchdown
Rhett – 39 carries for 119 yards (3.1 avg.) and no touchdowns

In analyzing the statistics of all five rushers, the thing that stands out is the lack of a big run for Martin. Not only did Williams, Dunn and Blount all have a run over 20 yards, which is something Martin hasn’t accomplished yet, all three displayed big-play ability with a run over 40 yards, too.

The concern for the Buccaneers might be Martin’s lack of speed, as his statistical start puts him in a class with Rhett more so than faster Tampa Bay running backs like Dunn and Williams. Even in the preseason, Martin’s lack of breakaway speed was evident as his longest play was only a 10-yard run, and his longest catch traveled just seven yards.

Through three games in the regular season and three in the preseason, Martin’s longest play from scrimmage has been his 17-yard dash at Dallas, and unfortunately for the Bucs, he hasn’t shown an elite burst or acceleration that Rice possesses. Rice ran a 4.47 at the Combine and a 4.42 at his pro day before he was drafted in the second round by Baltimore in 2008. Martin ran a 4.55 at the Combine and did not run the 40-yard dash again at his pro day at Boise State this past spring.

Martin was a model of consistency his last two years for the Broncos, rushing for 1,260 yards and 12 touchdowns on 201 carries (6.3 avg.) as a junior and 1,299 yards and 16 scores on 263 carries (4.9 avg.) as a senior. Yet he was the only running back that was taken in the first four rounds that didn’t average at least five yards per carry.

2011 rushing averages of the RBs drafted in the first four rounds in 2012
First round – Alabama RB Trent Richardson – 5.93 avg.
First round – Boise State RB Doug Martin – 4.94 avg.
First round – Virginia Tech RB David Wilson – 5.89 avg.
Second round – Cincinnati Isaiah Pead – 5.31 avg.
Second round – Oregon LaMichael James – 7.31 avg.
Third round – San Diego State Ronnie Hillman – 5.50 avg.
Third round – Temple RB Bernard Pierce – 5.42 avg.
Fourth round – Miami (FL) RB Lamar Miller – 5.60 avg.
Fourth round – Utah State RB Robert Turbin – 6.09 avg.

The truth is that neither Martin nor Blount really shined in the first three preseason games that each rusher played in. The rookie carried the ball 27 times for 97 yards (3.6 avg.) and scored two touchdowns, while Blount had 22 carries for 63 yards (2.9 avg.) and scored once. Martin’s longest run in the preseason was only a 10-yard run.

Martin did show more ability as a receiver out of the backfield, catching four passes for 19 yards (4.8 avg.) and was solid in pass protection during the preseason, and that was the deciding factor in him being named the starter over Blount, who had just one catch for three yards in the preseason and has struggled protecting quarterback Josh Freeman when called upon to do so.

But Tampa Bay needs more big plays and production from its first-round pick. If the Bucs feel like he is ready to start than he needs to produce like a starting running back regardless of the fact that he’s a rookie or not. Gaining less yardage in each of the three games is a trend that Martin needs to reverse in a hurry as Tampa Bay’s once promising 1-0 start to the 2012 season has turned into a 1-2 record with the 1-2 Washington Redskins coming to town.

While the Bucs have two new starting offensive linemen on the right side in tackle Demar Dotson and Ted Larsen, who is replacing injured Pro Bowl right guard Davin Joseph, that can’t be used as an excuse of Martin’s lack of big runs as the team still has Pro Bowl blockers in left tackle Donald Penn and left guard Carl Nicks. Center Jeremy Zuttah has also played well at the start of the 2012 season, justifying the four-year, $16.3-million contract extension he signed this offseason. Tampa Bay still has plenty of talent up front to block and create holes for Martin.

Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has to do a better job of getting Martin outside where his quickness can be used to make defenders miss and pick up bigger chunks of yardage. Against Dallas, Martin was used between the tackles too much, especially on first downs, and wasn't able to average more than two yards per carry doing so.

Martin’s lack of elite speed may put his career track in Tampa Bay on a similar path to that of Rhett’s rather than Williams or Dunn. But it should be noted that Rhett had a successful rookie season, rushing for 1,011 yards and seven touchdowns on 284 carries (3.6 avg.) with a long of 27 yards.

As a rookie, Rhett’s bright spot was lighting up the Washington Redskins for 192 yards and one touchdown on 40 carries (4.8 avg.), but his longest run of that game was only 23 yards in Tampa Bay’s 26-21 victory. The Bucs would love to have Martin have a similar type of break out game this week against the Redskins.

Until Martin can show he can break off 20-yard runs consistently, along with a run of 40 yards or more, the comparisons to Rice need to be shelved. If Martin can’t make the big plays that the Buccaneers envisioned him doing when the team traded back into the first round to select him, Blount, who averaged 4.9 yards on his four carries on Saturday at Dallas and 4.6 yards per carry over his first two years in the NFL, could reclaim the starting job at some point this season.

So Martin better start impressing – fast.

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 10:07
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Martin is not a workhorse back; he is just too small. If this regime is going to go ahead with the plan to be a running team then they have it backwards. Blount needs to be the workhorse and Martin the change of pace. This would benefit both guys. At the very least, Blount needs many more carries.
  • avatar

    Blount looked good on Sunday given the few plays he had. If we bring him in and let Martin replace him on 3rd down, I think we will do much better. Blount had a thousand yards on 9 games as a rookie. Martin will never get a thouand yrd in this offense. But please, shelve the I formation.
  • avatar


    I'm with PR on this one. Martin just doesn't have much power, which is the real difference between him and R. Rice. I don't think it's a matter of Martin stepping up his game. I think he's doing the best he can and he's trying hard. He's just not as strong as the upper echelon RB's in this league. You guys can keep making excuses for him but there's no easier position to transition from college to the pros than RB. I think it's fair to start judging him right out of the gate. His carries need to be split evenly with Blount's.
  • avatar

    What I don't understand why write an article like this when it's only been three games. Looking at his yardage he's not far off from the leader. When it comes to running backs the line has alot to do with their success. Martin is getting hit as soon as he's getting to the line. Then if he makes it past that then he's being hit a yard after that. Linebackers aren't being blocked. On his longest run when he finally got some decent blocking he show good patience and vision following his blocks, but got no further because blocks were lost soon after he got there. Our olinemen are weak and soft when it comes to run blocking. If the defense is stacking the box that is the best time for big plays if everyone is sustaining their blocks once the back gets to the second level and everyone is blocked then there's more open room to run. How do you think Caddy got that huge run? Perfect blocking on a run blitz. On Michael Pittmans 76 yard run against the Chiefs it was a toss sweep, got perfect blocking made one cut and was gone. Martin is faster than he is so if he could get better blocking he can do those things. If we're running predictable runs why aren't the receivers and tight ends and fullbacks doing their jobs right?
  • avatar


    I don't have a problem with Martin based on what I've seen at the Carolina game and on DTV. he hasn't had much to work with. He should be splitting carries with Blount to keep him fresh and change pacing however. Disturbing to hear that we drafted someone based on what they did in an offense dramatically different than what we intended to run, and with questions about his speed, in the 1st round. That's a classic reach based on need, which is usually fatal in the first round. The big picture, as I've been saying for 2 yrs, is at Dom and Hickey MUST go. Look at our roster, how many p,ayers would make, much less start on, one of the elite teams? Given our draft position there should be many. Nicks and Jackson, yes, but we paid for someone else's draft day acumen there. Anyone else on offense? Maybe Joseph, though he's only a star here because there is so little talent around him. Maybe Penn as a backup. Then turn to the defense. Barron looks like the real deal. Foster would make it. Talib would make the cut too. Ronde at this age on a deeper team would be retired now (no disrespect, I LOVE Ronde for his consistent excellence). Maybe one of our D-lineman could be a sub, unclear if that's McCoy or Bennett at the moment. That's about it. About a half dozen of 22 (non special teams) players. I've left Free off the list because I can't tell if it's 3 yrs of poor coaching previously or he just doesn't have the presence of mind to play QB at this level. Go Bucs - go fire Dom and Hickey before they are allowed to run another draft.
  • avatar


    I'll admit Martin is no Ray Rice, by the same token Freeman is no Flacco. I think Josh's struggles are holding everyone back on offense. I keep hearing this nonsense our receivers can't get seperation, yet V Jackson never had that problem when Rivers was throwing him the ball. It's been said it starts with # 5, Josh is doing worse then all the rookie Q.B.s in the league.
  • avatar


    IF YOU CAN'T PASS, THEY LOAD UP THE BOX. HIS YARDAGE IS ON POOR OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLS AND PITIFUL PASSING. SORRY, JOSH.
  • avatar


    It's way to early in this season and his career to judge Doug Martin. With Coach Greg Stuborno announcing to the world that "we are going to run the ball" while our opponents simply insert 9 players at the line of scrimmage and say, "go ahead and try"; poor # 22 is doomed to quickly find a lane that isn't occupied. What I see is a low center of gravity player with enough speed, good vision and great balance to be successful. But the less than well-conceived offensive game plan like we saw last week would hold back Red Grange. Why is Ray Rice so good? How about Joe Flacco being behind center and actually allowed to throw the ball.......even on first down.
  • avatar


    Well said about Martin's center of gravity and vision, agree completely, if there's a hole he generally finds it and gets thru it
  • avatar


    I respect the staff here at PewterReport, but man, cut the guy a break. As stated several times in this article, he is a rookie running back. I would expect this micro-criticism from an outsiders point-of-view - not a someone who analyzes the team on a daily basis. Pulling numbers from THREE NFL starts is disrespectful to Doug Martin in my opinion. Would we like to see him tearing up the league averaging 5.5 yards per carry? Absolutely. Should we expect it? No. I understand there are certain expectations bestowed upon first round picks, but as Bucs fans, who are we to be ungrateful for what he has brought to the team so far? We should be praising his efforts for holding onto the football, scoring that instinctive touchdown run vs. the Giants and his continued dedication to play a vast majority of our offensive snaps. As fans, we really ought to start respecting the grind of these young men. We demand instant satisfaction, but we don't respect the the amount of effort these guys put forth. Please don't damn this guy's career after three tough games.
  • avatar


    Here, here, JayDee. I, for one, like this article but only from an information point of view. I think the conclusion is a little outrageous. We do need to give these guys a little bit of a break sometimes. Remember when folks weren't sold on Penn, or Zuttah for that matter. It often takes time for young men to get a body of work together that shows what they can do. As Scubog said recently, what did we really expect for this year? If someone told you before the season that we'd be a very tough team that was in every game wouldn't that have been music to your ears? I'd just suggest we all try to ENJOY our team a little bit. They're way better than last year. Doug Martin is fun to watch. Go Bucs.
  • avatar


    We traded up into the first RD. for what we are saying now that he is not fast enough to get outside. It's hard to believe they compare him to Eric Rhett, for those who remember him he would break through the line and than get caught from behind every time. Martin gained all those yards in college from a spread offense, not a good fit for the Buc's. I say again, Dominik and Hickey need to go. Time to start Blount, he's proven. If there is no hole he's big enough to make one.
  • avatar

    SOOOOO not worth the trade back into the first round. Will someone please tell me where the "complimentary running backs" have been because I haven't seen anything but a poor man's at best wanna be ray rice and a onceevery blue moon appearance of our original proven 1000 yrd back as a rookie even though he started less than 10 games Legarrette Blount. And sorry to all you guys who don't want to blame Martin. Fine don't blame him but Schiano said when one guys not hot we'll try to run the other one to see if he can get hot and if one gets hot we'll stay with him....in these first three games, when has martin ever been hot? And not buying the "we're missing davin j excuse either...when Blount ran for his 1000 yard started less than 10 games rookie campaign, Larsen was at left guard, so boo who come up with another one. Bottom line is the Bucs are alienating their ONLY TRUE 1000 yard rusher in Blount for an unproven rookie. At this point they deserve to be stupid and trade Blount away for a next to nothing pick while the offense continues down it's path of one dimensional inept uncreative predictable as the sun rising in the east mediocrity. On a side note, I think Freeman needs to be sacked like Romo was this past sunday a time or two. MAYBE, it would remind him of his God given athletic scrambling ability which is the only time he has ever seen success. Honestly, doesn't anybody else think guys like Brady and Manning would look at his elusiveness ( when he remembers he has it) and think man if I could do that I'd never lose!!?? Sorry Horse, if this article was written and published too soon then you're saying that the 2010 10-6 Bucs had a better O-line then our current Bucs, not buying it. Way to call it like it is Scott Reynolds. Now this last one really hurts: I'M STARTING TO MISS GREG OLSEN!!!!! HELP!!!!!!
  • avatar


    Buc4life79, I think it is too early to throw a three game stat. sheet of data out there; just my opinion. I didn't see too many holes out there for anybody to run over or around. By the way Blount was mainly an off right runner and Joseph led the way; that is a big difference last year and the year before. I think that is a good reason why he made All Pro. Lets look here; Joseph is in the Carolina game and Martin gets 95 yards. How's those stats since Joseph went on IR?
  • avatar


    Umm, D Joseph went down in the preseason...he wasn't in the Carolina game. I like Martin as a runner, by I like Blount too. What annoys me most about the LGB situation is that he came in and toted the rock 4 times for 19 yards this past Sunday, then never saw the field again. Schiano is backing up how he said he would handle the rushing attack. I think that Martin is better than his numbers so far, but I also think that Blount is as good as career numbers - 4.6 ypc, 7.8 y/r. I don't understand us running the tiny Martin into the ground like we have done so far. The guy needs to see fewer carries.
  • avatar


    I objected to reaching up and drafting Martin, but he sold me in pre season that he was good enough and I am glad that it was done. I don't see any of this being Martin's fault. There are no holes for him to run through and he is too small to just move the pile. To be fair here, I don't think Blount would do much better. Losing Joseph hurt us in the run game and I can understand the conservative plays especially since the team is learning a new offense and defense. If we are not going to use Blount for half the running plays then I would like to see him traded and we get a draft pick that will help us next year. I thought he would have been traded by now for a 3rd rounder, now I am not sure if we could get that since we are in week 4 of the season. Scott, I think this Article was to soon to put out there pertaining to Martin's abilities.
  • avatar

    We need Blount as the starter, and use Martin as a 3rd down back. Until he proves that he can pump out a 100 yds a game consistantly we are wasting our offensive line. Change the offensive scheme so that whomever the running back is they have a fighting chance to succeed. When every Defensive coordinator in the league knows you want to run, they will crowd the box with 8 players making it impossible. Start throwing on 1/2 of your first downs and start running some play action and bootlegs and our offense will improve. We just need to have a pro style offense instead of an I formation up the gut on every play offense. Every QB can flourish if he has 3rd and short instead of 3rd and long every time.
  • avatar

    What a stupid A$$ article.. Yea, like its martins fault our O_line can't open holes.. And never mind the herendous/predictable offensive play calling..
  • avatar


    I dont know how you can fault martin on any of these 3 games. Honestly, I think the O line has done a great job pass blocking especially against the pass rushes they have went against thus far. But the run blocking isn't very impressive at all. There seems to be no push at all and Martin is just making the most out of the holes he has. I think he will be a great running back in the league and you will see that as the year goes on, and cremdonado brings up a good point on its hard to run the football when that is your only threat. I think freeman is fine at quarterback but he looks veryyyy cautious on what he does now. The freeman I seen in 2010 was all about taking chances and extending plays but someone upstairs it seems like told him to become a pocket quarterback but that is not him and if we can get him back to 2010 form I believe we can make a run at the playoffs for sure.
  • avatar

    Jayhawk that is exactly what I say. Last year of losing and the way Schiano wants to play on offense is really messing with his confidence. Josh is a pretty good thrower on the run and we don't run any stretch plays to use his running abilities. The man ran for 20 tds in college so why don't we use that to open more lanes for our ground game? He's no Cam or RG3 but he can make defenses respect his legs if we would only use all of his assets. Osen didn't and now Sullivan is just wasting his talents. In two minute offense in 2010 he was great. They need to watch film of that season and let him loose. He can do some things
  • avatar

    Scott, if we're going to be making statistical comparisons between Rice and Martin, how about we do it properly and not use unfair statistics in attempts to mislead the readers. Rice's first three games of his career went as follows: 1) 22 carries for 64 yards (2.9 average), 2) 1 carry for 0 yards, 3) 5 carries for 21 yards (4.2 average). His longest run during which point was 11 yards. As an analyst how can you justify comparing Rice's entire rookie season and then (even worse), his four year career with Martin's first three games? The fact that it took me all of two minutes to find this information suggests to me that you are either not doing your homework before writing these articles or have something against this player that goes beyond his on-field performance. I would love to hear back as to why you have become so impatient after such a brief period of time.
  • avatar


    I was thinking the same thing but didn't have the drive to search for Rice's first year info. With such a small sample size, it is really unfair to compare Martin to anyone at this point. By the looks of it, Rice should have been cut after week 2 of his rookie year...! :-)
  • avatar

    townsend3 - There's nothing misleading going on at all. I looked at what Martin has done through three games and compared it to the first three games in which a Bucs rookie running back either started or had at least 8 carries in a game. That was my criteria. So to keep it fair by comparison, Ray Rice's first three games in which he had at least eight carries were as follows: 22 carries for 64 yards (2.9 avg.), 8 carries for 64 yards (8.0 avg.) and 21 carries for 154 yards (7.3 avg.). His longest run was a 60-yarder. That's a total of 282 yards on 51 carries (5.5 avg.). I'm not saying Doug Martin is a bad running back or won't be a good running back. I'm just saying that in three preseason games and three regular season games the guy that was drafted to make big plays at the RB spot ... hasn't made big plays yet and doesn't have a run over 17 yards – yet.
  • avatar

    Hey Scott, glad you wrote back. At no point did I accuse you of saying Martin is a bad running back. My point was, and still is, that no one can really make long-term predictions about a player's future after seeing him play three games. And comparing his current production with Rice's is absolutely misleading, and you did not include the statistics you just provided to me in your article. Although you make an interesting point about Rice's production in games where he carried the ball more than eight times, this didn't happen until much later on in the season. You are still comparing Martin's very limited experience as a pro with someone who has had much more time to learn the system. Do you think maybe the fact that he has reached over eight carries in his first three games (as opposed to Rice, or other running backs for that matter), may be a reflection of his skill and potential at such an early stage?
  • avatar


    The lack of production from our offense falls on the o-line,the play calling and the QB..Martin cant get going because he has no blocking and we cant get a running game going if our QB can't create the threat of a passing game..offense has always been the weakness of tampas team building- hopefully this begins to change under coach..
  • avatar


    Funny thing, it was YOU and your media sheep who were calling Martin, the next Ray Rice.
  • avatar

    yet another dumb article by SR....ive never been a fan of SR and this article did nothing to change my opinion...honestly, the other writters on here are much better and have 10 times better imput than SR and hes been doing this for what? 10+ years now? Doug Martin will be fine. and so will this team. weve been bitten yet again by the injury bug. losing Davin was huge and now weve lost clayborn...i HATE this BS. if anything, blame the fact that we have yet to open up the playbook. i love running the ball but its time that we give Freeman a little bit more control of the offense and let him be the one to get us to where we need to get too...and scott, im sooo happy you dont coach any team on any level because theyed be up *censored* creek if you did. why dont we spead ppl out? make them defend 4 wrs? why dont we run the ball wehn it looks like were gonna pass? IT WORKS. OPEN UP THE PLAYBOOK AND LET FREEMAN GROW UP! jesus christ...stop with this run on first and second down then short little passes on third down bs. its not effective and too predictable...please come on...im tired of being able to predict what were gonna do and its not even week 5 yet...
  • avatar

    Martin is not getting the production because of how predictable the offense is becoming and the o-line seems to be weak in the run game. That being said if they continue to give Martin 25 plus touches a game he will be burnt out by week 12. He is not used to a 16 game season or the physicality of the NFL coming from Boise State. The solution is to simply become less predictable on 1st and 2nd down and to give Blount more touches throughout the game especially after Martin has tired out the defense. Blount has proven that he has big play ability so why waste the talent if you have it?
  • avatar


    At the NFL combine, Doug Martin ran an official 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash (13th out of 25). His two attempts were unofficially clocked at 4.47 and 4.57 by the NFL Network. RG III ran a 4.41, and Martin supposedly did great in the agility drills. So it appears that Martin has sufficient speed and skills to break long runs, but time will tell. As I recall, his longest run in college was 65 yards. I agree that we should see more of Blount. Last year, he was taken out on 3rd down b/c the knock on Blount was either: a. he can't block, or b. he has no pass-catching skills. It seems with his size, he can learn to be an effective blocker, and I honestly don't recall him dropping passes; in fact, I don't believe he's been thrown to often enough to determine whether or not he can catch.
  • avatar


    I’ve re- watched the games a couple of times, paused, rewound and watched several running plays over and over. This million dollar O-Line is not making a lot of holes to run through. Martin's lone NFL TD was a spin out to the opposite side because there was no hole. Once he gets a little space he makes the most of it. May be Joseph’s absence has had more impact than meets the eye, but I’m not seeing the road grading I expected
  • avatar

    Martin is fine and plenty quick enough to be an excellent NFL RB. RB quickness is more imiportant than straight away speed. We have a team that states we are going to run power offense, our best Olineman is out for the year, teams don't respect our passing game, and the OC hasn't been able to mix it up too well. He hits holes exceptionally hard for a little back. When the holes are there on a more consistent basis we will see him breakaway more often.
  • avatar


    I completely agree, sticking with run plays when you are facing 9 man fronts with safetys in the box isnt exactly the recipe for running success regardless who the running back is. Sullivan needs to find a happy medium between completely abandoning the run like he did against the Giants and literally running us out of the game like he did against Dallas. Im not worried about the Bucs coming out of the gate, ill be watching this week to see the half time adjustments.
  • avatar


    Did the offenses of the other backs call off tackle runs or sweeps...or did they just run it up the middle every time? We do the latter it appears. Martin's averages are getting lower and lower over the first 3 games and it's no secret the play calling as gotten more conservative and boring. We need to test perimeter runs with some creativity. It's not all on Martin..or Freeman for that matter.
  • avatar


    Right, I honestly dont think I've seen one toss play this season and with a back like Martin you should always test the edge to see if he can find any creases. Another thing that doesnt make any sense is that Blount seems to be the better fit for the style of running game they want to have and even had success in the 2 carries he got but he doesnt play, this is the ultimate head scratcher. I think everyone wanted Martin to complement Blount not replace arguably our most explosive offensive player over the past 2 seasons.
  • avatar


    I dont know what Schiano has against Blount but he needs to let it go. Blount looked good on Saturday (Sunday) lol the 4 times he ran it. With our O-line not healthy, we need a big power back to open his own holes. If your going to run between the tackles then Blounts your man. If your gonna stick with Martin then run more sweeps, pitches, and screens.
  • avatar


    Man, it's tough to fault Martin or any RB for not having success running behind this O-line and with the recent playcalling. The O-line looks overwhelmed at times and is not opening up many holes. I find Martin is running hard and is maximizing what can be had given what is in front of him. The big plays will come as (if?) the offence as a whole improves.
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Pewter Prospect: WR Kelvin Benjamin Pewter Prospect: WR Kelvin Benjamin Do the Buccaneers need another playmaking wide receiver? Why would Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin be a good fit in Tampa Bay? Find out in this Pewter Prospect article.
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