After making former rookie sensation LeGarrette Blount basically disappear last season with a more sensational rookie performance of his own, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin enters the team’s 2013 training camp with the position all to himself. It’s hard to see anyone else grabbing carries except for when Martin needs a breather, with Blount since-departed and rookie Mike James unlikel to wrest any sort of meaningful role out of Martin’s hands.
When you compile nearly 2,000 total yards and 12 touchdowns the moment a new head coach puts his faith in you, the love is returned. Bucs coach Greg Schiano took Martin as a first-rounder in 2012 and is figuring how the young back can top his initial performance.
“That’s a good question because I think he looks really good out there right now,” Schiano said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “And my whole thing with Doug is, No. 1, continue to get a better understanding through (running backs coach Earnest) Byner and the rest of our staff, just a better understanding of what all your job is. And then, physically, taking care of himself, and me and the staff taking care of him as well. I think that’s critical.”
Schiano’s offense last year along with the personnel moves made since his arrival give this team physical, relatively run-heavy ethos. We he likes his players to crawl and scratch to the bitter end, even if it’s rough-housing in the trenches when the game’s is pretty much over and the other team is kneeling.
Martin received a whopping 368 touches last year, and I think it’s reasonable to think he could get even more in 2013 with the Bucs’ chances of playing from ahead more often and Schiano’s tendency to grind teams out at the end. I could see Tampa pounding the rock up seven with Martin and six offensive lineman (with Gabe Carimi subbing in at the tight end spot) quite often this season.