Will Doug Martin Do It Again In 2013?
By Dave Ford
Doug Martin has something in common with his head coach Greg Schiano other than the desire to win on Sundays. Both men are entering their second year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – a team that not many are talking about as the 2013 NFL season approaches.
But based on Martin’s explosive performance throughout his rookie season last year, it could be argued that this is exactly how he and his coach prefer things to be, with only defending NFC South champion Atlanta and New Orleans getting any run these days inside the division.
The 5-9, 223-pound running back out of Boise State turned his share of heads in 2012 with his hard-nosed style and deceptive speed. While the Bucs finished with a 7-9 record and out of the playoffs for the fifth straight season, Martin put up star numbers with 1,454 yards on 319 carries (4.6 yards per attempt), 11 touchdowns and just one lost fumble. He totaled five 100-plus yard games, including a dominating display against his hometown Oakland Raiders when he rumbled for 251 yards on just 25 carries in a 42-32 win. And to close out his first regular season, No. 22 totaled his second-best effort with 142 yards on 28 attempts in a 22-17 road win in Atlanta.
Martin also showed his ability as a pass catcher out of the backfield, hauling in 49 balls for 472 yards and one TD. But one solid year does not make a career. With the amount of film each team has on him after his rookie campaign, Martin will not step on the field and surprise anybody in 2013, especially within the NFC South. But he may not have to pull any stunts against what is a weak schedule overall as just four of the Bucs’ opponents in the upcoming season made the playoffs last year.
Can Martin do it again? Can he be the back the Bucs need him to be in what is a critical season for fifth-year quarterback Josh Freeman? Can he not only match his output from last season but potentially eclipse it and become one of the league’s premier runners? If nothing else, he would be a great addition to anyone’s fantasy team.
But as the saying goes, “That’s why they play the games.”