In 2012, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were elated to have their first-round pick perform well above expectations. Running back Doug Martin finished off his rookie performance with 1,454 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns. He also added 472 receiving yards and a touchdown by way of the air as well. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, I don’t see a repeat performance coming in 2013.
Before I go any further, I am in no way, shape or form discounting Martin’s abilities on the field. He deserved the season he had and all of the attention was well justified. As an avid NFL fan, I like Martin a lot. His skill set is a great compilation of both speed and strength.
Going into next season, there are a few reasons why I believe he will underachieve in comparison to his rookie season.
First of all, with the addition of cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety DaShon Goldson, the defense will give quarterback Josh Freeman a lot less of a field to have to march down on most occasions. Tampa Bay improved defensively more than any other team in football this off season, just by adding these two guys. With improved field position comes less total yards available to rack up.
Secondly, Freeman now has one year under his belt with wide receiver Vincent Jackson. As the season went on, 2012 got better and better for these two. Freeman began to develop an ongoing chemistry with Jackson and was able to lead him to quite a career year. Going into 2013, Freeman and Jackson will be able to start the season like they ended it last year – with chemistry and a game plan. If the passing game improves, which I believe it will, this could lead to less overall yards and scores for Martin.
Last, and most notably, Martin scored half of his touchdowns from 2012 in a two-game span against the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders. Along with half his season total in touchdowns, Martin compiled over a quarter of his total yardage in those two games as well. In retrospect, those two games are what bolstered his season statistics to be what they were. Take them away, and you have six touchdowns and a little over 1,300 total yards from scrimmage. That’s not a terrible season by any means, but it’s nowhere near Martin’s rookie campaign.
Again, my sentiments towards Martin cannot affect the reality at hand. I am a fan of the guy and he obviously has a lot of talent. But, because of the points at hand I believe Martin will total a lesser total in both yards and touchdowns in 2013.