Doug Martin’s rapid decline has been well documented this season. The third-year back has rushed for 193 yards on 69 carries (2.8 avg.), while showing no improvement in last Sunday’s 27-yard effort.
As weeks go by, there is speculation that his time in Tampa could end after the season via a trade. However, the Boise State product says he has been able to block out the rumors and stay focused on the season ahead.
“I don’t say anything,” Martin said. “That’s just outside noise. You just have to ignore that and keep playing the game and have confidence in your game. Something you just have to brush off.”
During his rookie campaign, Martin looked well on his way to becoming an elite running back. He totaled 1,454 yards on the ground, including games in Oakland and Minnesota where he had 135 and 251, respectively. Since then, he hasn’t produced anything close to that, rushing or catching out of the backfield. But the former Pro Bowler still has confidence he can be that player. And he’s not the only one.
“I do believe so,” Martin said about regaining his 2012 success. “I’m very confident in my ability.”
“I see a guy who’s fought through some things this year,” Josh McCown said. “He’s had some good carries at times. If we can continue to get that part of the running game going, we could see Doug be the Doug that you guys have seen.
“Everything’s just been so up and down right now with him, as far as injuries and stuff like that. It’s just been an inconsistency of time for him. It’s not anybody’s fault, it’s just where it’s been. I still absolutely think he’s capable of doing those things because it still flashes. I think it’s more about us as a group, as a whole, collectively just continuing to improve in that area.”
As McCown alluded to, injuries have been a recurring issue for Martin. Last year involved a shoulder injury in Week 8 that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. This year it’s been his ankle and knee keeping him out for a few games.
In games he’s been active, however, Doug Martin has not produced and could very well go the way of the Bucs other 2012 first round pick, Mark Barron. But with newcomers at running back sharing carries, along with various injuries, conditions haven’t been ideal for Martin.
“I can’t say this has been the season that I wanted in my head, what with a knee injury and an ankle injury,” Martin said. “But at same time I’m just trying to stay positive and get rehab and do everything I can handle in my control and get back out there on the field and do what I can do.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org