NFL NEWS: Doug Martin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has something to prove in 2014 after an injury-shortened 2013 and productive running game in his absence.
Following a successful rookie season in 2012 rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, Martin’s season came to an end following the week six loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. Martin’s produced 456 rushing yards and only one touchdown in that span before sixth-round pick Mike James and the more successful surprise pick-up, the Cleveland Browns cast out, Bobby Rainey.
James contributed 295 yards in his backup role averaging 4.9 yards per carry through eight games before injury ended his season while Rainey ended up leading the team in rushing for 532 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards a carry.
Despite the deep backfield and added resource in dual-sport sprinter Jeff Demps, Lovie Smith and company, still drafted West Virginia’s Charles Sims in the third round. The drafting of Sims may be considered to some as a head scratcher pick, but in an all-offensive draft, Smith clearly saw concern with the current stock he had.
One thing’s for certain under Smith’s regime, when you finished 4-12 last season, all bets are off. Just ask Darrelle Revis and Mike Williams, both once considered staples of the team.
Martin’s got a chip on his shoulder and his status as the feature back could be in jeopardy if he can’t stay healthy. The job is his to lose despite the bode of confidence Smith gave him.
One thing Martin might have in favor is offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s history. According to James Koh from NFL.com, Tedford tends to stick to his primary back with an average of more than 220 carries a season compared to the less than 100 average for backups. The projection for a 16-game NFL season would be anywhere from a 275-300 average to just 120-130 times for backups.
Can Martin turn out for Smith as Matt Forté did in Chicago? We shall see.