After undergoing an MRI today following a shoulder injury suffered on Sunday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has officially been diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The injury will bring his sophomore season to an unfortunate end.
As @MikeGarafolo said, Bucs RB Doug Martin suffered a torn labrum yesterday against the Falcons, and is out for the year.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 21, 2013
Sitting at 0-6 following the loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Buccaneers now lose one of the biggest offensive weapons and continue to wallow in the basement of the NFL. If they can’t find a way to get past the season-ending injury of Martin, there’s a good chance that Greg Schiano and Co. could still be winless by the end of the year.
The Buccaneers have already suffered from a boatload of problems to start the season. They released starting quarterback Josh Freeman after him and Schiano couldn’t get along, watched free agent acquisition Kevin Ogletree fail to pan out, and dealt with numerous injuries. Martin was already struggling to produce similar numbers to his stellar rookie season, and is now headed for the shelf.
Moving forward, the Buccaneers will likely go with rookie Mike James as their No. 1 back. While filling in for the injured Martin on Sunday, James managed 45 yards on 14 carries while also adding three catches for eight yards. He doesn’t have the speed or explosiveness of Martin, but should be a reliable weapon for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon as a receiver out of the backfield.
The only other capable running back on the roster is tailback/fullback hybrid Brian Leonhard, who will serve as a change-of-pace for James.
Either way, the Buccaneers are doomed. The defense hasn’t played anywhere near as well as was expected, and the rookie-led offense is now without a legitimate ground game. Schiano has lost any trust he had from his team, and the loss of Martin is only going to hurt player confidence. No matter what they do, Tampa Bay just keeps suffering one setback after another.
Unless the Buccaneers can make some sort of drastic change in the not-so-distant future, there’s a good chance they’ll contend with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.