Bucs running back Doug Martin is ready for a new nickname.
Dubbed the “Muscle Hamster” in college at Boise State, Martin cringes when the name is now brought up, and told Pro Football Talk last week it is time for a change.
“I can’t come up with my own nickname all I can say is that I despise that nickname,” Martin told Mike Florio. “You know, some people like it. Some people hate it. I hate it but it hasn’t gone away. I’m still waiting for that new nickname, for a new nickname to emerge.”
After putting together back-to-back 100 yard games, Martin is turning into a monster again for the Bucs, and with a rookie quarterback, it comes at the right time.
Martin’s rejuvenation so far in 2015 has caught the eye of his teammates and his coaches, including offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
“You know what Doug can do,” Koetter said last week before the bye week break. “He’s done it before here, in his rookie year. For whatever reasons, he had a couple of years where he maybe wasn’t as sharp. I don’t even know the reasons why, but Doug is a good football player. He’s one of the better backs in the league. We need to use him. We’ve got a nice one-two punch going with him and Charles [Sims] right now. Hat’s off to him. Doug’s earned it and he’s playing like he practices, so we shouldn’t be surprised.”
Martin leads the Bucs in rushing with 405 yards on 90 carries, but his hands may be the most improved aspect of his game.
“He’s working hard on catching the ball,” Koetter said. “He had some good catches the other day. The thing that’s most impressive to me – and I don’t know if this is different or not, because I didn’t watch him that close before – but he’s breaking a lot of tackles. Yards after contact, he’s doing a really nice job.”
Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston is happy to have No. 22 lined up behind him in the backfield.
“He’s a dynamic back,” Winston said. “You can’t knock our offensive line, because they block amazingly. When you’ve got a guy going to go against a defense, a great defense, and their main focus is to stop the run, he pounds it and he grinds it and works hard and competes to have a day like he did. It’s amazing. He’s special.”
Another teammate who loves what he has been seeing from Martin is backup running back and kick returner Bobby Rainey.
“His whole running mentality (is improved),” Rainey said. “He’s bringing out juke moves I haven’t seen. His whole running mentality I just think is different. I wasn’t here in 2012 when he had a great season, and one of the guys mentioned that those were the type of moves he was making in 2012. He’s doing a great job.”
It is time to retire the Muscle Hamster moniker and come up with a new name for Martin. Muscle Monster, The Bulldog, or anything besides Hamster would suit Martin just fine.
“You just don’t think of, you know, that’s something to be, you know, intimidating or anything,” Martin said to Florio. “It’s a hamster, c’mon now.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com