NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Ways Tampa Bay Buccaneers Can Cope With the Loss of Doug Martin

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5 Ways the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Can Cope With the Loss of Doug Martin

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were ready to contend for a playoff spot this year. After going on a big free-agent spending spree in 2012, they only made one big move in 2013. They traded their first-round pick to the New York Jets to acquire Cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis who has been the best corner in the NFL for a few years was coming off an ACL injury, but the Buccaneers decided to gamble on him in hopes of making the playoffs.

The Buccaneers did not get off to the start they hoped they would in 2013. Quarterback Josh Freeman struggled early and was replaced by rookie Mike Glennon. Heading into Week 7, the 0-5 Bucs were in desperate need of a win but suffered their biggest loss of the season. Running Back Doug Martin suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game and maybe for the season.

Martin was a first-round pick in 2012 and finished his rookie season with 1,454 yards rushing and 11 TDs and caught 49 passes for 472 yards and one TD. He was a Pro-Bowler and a finalist for Rookie of the Year. In 2013, his numbers suffered a little with the poor play at QB by Freeman and Glennon. He rushed the ball 127 times for 456 yards and had only one TD. Martin's 3.6 yards per carry were down one yard from his 2012 season and his 5.5 yards per reception were down four.

Even though he was struggling, he was still by far the best played for the Buccaneers. Thinking the Martin would be their workhorse this season, the Buccaneers didn't really have a backup plan in place. Their second string Running Back is rookie Mike James who was drafted in the sixth round and no other Running Back has more than three carries.

The Bucs are not in the playoff picture, but they will need to find ways to cope with the loss of Martin if they want to at least be competitive the rest of the season.

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5. Trade for a Running Back

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One person the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could look to trade for is LeGarrette Blount. With the solid play of Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden, Blount is the third Running Back on the depth chart and is a former Buccaneer who is familiar with the offense. The Bucs may be hesitant to give up a draft pick because they will not make the playoffs. Other possibilities for trade in case Blount is not available would be Jonathan Dwyer of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Shonn Greene of the Tennessee Titans.

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4. Jeff Demps

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Jeff Demps is a track star and perhaps the fastest player in the NFL. While he isn't a 25-carries-per-game Running Back, the Buccaneers could use the rest of the season to get him some playing time. He has the potential to make big plays and pick up chucks on yardage at a time. If successful, Demps and Martin could form a lethal duo next year for Tampa Bay.

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3. Sign a Running Back

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With no hopes of making the postseason, the Buccaneers may not feel comfortable giving up a draft pick to get a Running Back for 10 games. The free-agent market is full of proven veteran backs looking for a job. The Buccaneers could target a player like Michael Turner, Cedric Benson, Jahvid Best and Beanie Wells. All of these guys have something to prove and could provide some consistency for Tampa Bay.

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2. Rely on Mike James

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers are giving Mike James the chance to keep the job. He did a good job filling in for Martin on Sunday and if he can produce, he will give the Buccaneers depth going into 2014. James must improve his pass catching and pass protection skills to be an every down back and take this opportunity to prove himself as an NFL player.

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1. Pass More

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The Buccaneers are giving Mike Glennon a chance to lock down the starting Quarterback duties. They can use the next 10 games to evaluate him and the injury to Martin will allow them to pass more. Tampa can see if he develops chemistry with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as well as evaluate young players like Tight End Timothy Wright and Wide Receiver Kevin Ogletree.