Bucs RB Doug Martin - Photo by: Getty Images
This might not normally seem like the type of week to expect big things from certain offensive players, but the Bucs need a throwback performance from running back Doug Martin.
The fifth-year pro has already missed six games with a hamstring injury. The four he’s played in haven’t been remarkable. Martin recorded season-highs in carries and yards last week in Kansas City, but those numbers were only 24 and 63, respectively.
Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
If the Bucs could ever use 2015, contract-year Doug Martin, it’s Sunday against the visiting Seattle Seahawks. Asking for that against one of the NFL’s best defenses over the past five years or so may seem like a tall order, but it’s a perfect time to strike.
Over the first five games of the season, Seattle held opponents to 74.6 yards rushing per game. In the five games since, that stat’s ballooned to 122.2 yards per game.
Further improving Tampa Bay’s potential to establish the run is its healed-up offensive line and Seattle’s banged-up defense. The Bucs are getting left guard Kevin Pamphile back in action and will operate with their season-opening line after playing the past two games with replacement pieces. Seattle will be without former Buccaneer defensive end Michael Bennett and free safety Earl Thomas, and starting outside linebacker Brock Coyle is listed as doubtful.
Despite struggling to find room to run last week in Kansas City, Martin was still able to combine with two other running backs and quarterback Jameis Winston and rush for 116 yards. Martin affected the passing attack by catching three passes for 42 yards.
Sunday might be too soon, but there’s a chance Tampa Bay also adds Jacquizz Rodgers back into to the mix. Still the team’s leading rusher – 393 yards and a touchdown on 88 attempts in just six games and three starts – Rodgers has sat out the past three weeks with a foot injury. He was limited at practice Wednesday and Thursday, but bumped up to a full participant Friday. The team listed Rodgers as questionable on the official injury report.
Assuming it’s mainly up to Martin and backups Peyton Barber and Mike James to carry the load, the more the Bucs can rely on handing the ball off, the less they have to worry about Seahawks pass rushers coming after Winston. Seattle’s tied with the Buffalo Bills for the league lead in sacks, with 31. Winston’s been sacked 23 times and the 77 hits he’s absorbed, according to NFL.com stats, are fourth most in the league.
“Doug makes our offense go,” Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said this week. “All you’ve got to do is look at all the tape from last year. We spin a lot of stuff off of how Doug plays and it was great to have him out there, even though he wasn’t breaking as many long ones as maybe we’re used to seeing [from] him. I think that will come as he plays more and that makes everybody else around him better.”
When Martin finished as the league’s second-leading rusher last year, he picked up his 1,402 yards by averaging 4.9 per carry. That’s the Doug Martin the Bucs need Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium to notch their second massive victory in a row.
I’m more concerned we have a pass rush.
Your concerns should be alleviated. I thought it was 2002 for awhile. FREAKIN AWESOME
Peyton Barber ran well in KC last week IMO if Doug struggles to get it going I would like to see Barber get some more carries
I try not to comment on our RBs after just watching RB Dalvin Cook perform in the UF/FSU game tonight. Oh well, but yes! It would be nice if Doug Martin regained his 2015 form for this game. Everybody needs to bring their “A” game Sunday. Go Bucs!
Martin is a steady, reliable back when healthy. I’ve seen enough of Barber to know he can play in the NFL, and hopefully continues to grow with the Bucs. When you talk about D, Cook that’s a special RB. Like Elliott for the Cowboys, backs like that don’t come along often. I know Dallas has a great O line, but they were there last year too, and they didn’t have the ground game like they have now with Elliott carrying the rock. Dallas used this formula before. Great Q.B., R.B., wide receiver, and they’re using it again. If we were to draft Cook, that would be a nightmare for defenses, Winston, Evans, Cook. You can argue there’s a lot of good backs in the draft, why take cook high? Special that’s why, great players make teams great. As for a prediction today. Seahawks are coming in banged up, playing a team they should still beat. They won’t be up for this game like they were when they went to N.E.. Hopefully they leave their guard down long enough for us to sneak in a knock out punch. Last two weeks our D looked good against Smith, and Cutler. This week Wilson will prove the difference in what should be a hard fought loss for our lads.
I agree Cook looks good, but I never lose sight of the fact he is playing against soon to be PE teachers, history teachers and retail managers. College is college.
Surferdudes, I hope as well that the Bucs find a way to contain Wilson, but he is, in my learned opinion, a top 5 tier QB and yards above the talent level of Smith and Cutler.
He can beat you with his arm, legs and brain. Why he doesn’t get the notoriety of say someone like Cam Newton is beyond me since he is a much better QB.
I guess being a showboat when u win and a sulking crybaby when you lose is what is “in” with today’s millennials who have been raised in gilded environments.
How the Bucs handle and control Wilson will be the key to the Bucs victory.
Drd, it’s all relative. The guys blocking for him are all future regular dudes too. Cook will be the next Marshall Faulk. The player on FSU that impressed me most was that QB. Red shirt freshman, He will be fantastic in 2-3 years.
Martin needs to show up is as big of a understatement uttered lately. Doug and the O LINE need to both show up.
There I go again, shouting out for the O LINE to perform. Suferdude is correct, any back can’t run behind any good line.
D. Cook would look good in Pewter and Red, or what ever color you call our retarded uniforms.
But we aren’t there quite as good as Dallas’s line just yet. One more quality pick on O LINE is needed.
I apologize if I seem surly today, after watching the crappy officiating during Michigan and OSU has got me off kilter.
Jim Harbaugh was absolutely justified throwing a fit.
Whew, feel better.
After watching D. Cook I would have no concerns about trading up to snatch him up in the draft. We just can’t use our only 1st round pick on a back.
I also thought that picking up the big ass FB from Michigan in round 7 would be great. 6 ft 3 and 265lbs. Can anyone say Christian Oykoa. I know I spelled in wrong.
Lets hope that Mark Cook gets a double dose of pleasure when the BUCS win.
What needed to show up and did was the Defense and Winston. Go Bucs!
Agreed Horse. But that was a gritty performance by Doug.
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