Questioning Doug Martin’s Rookie WallNovember 7th, 2012
Yes, Joe believes in the proverbial “rookie wall,” the fatigue that hits many rookies playing full-time in the NFL. However, as Doug Martin is now on pace for 300+ carries and 40+ receptions, Joe is wondering how changes in the NFL might be affecting the reality of the “wall.”
The NFL is softer than ever thanks to new labor rules. The Bucs only practice once a week in pads (and that’s more than a lot of teams.) Training camp is softer and much more pad-free — two-a-days and three-a-days are ancient history. League rules have taken away a lot of late hits and piling on of running backs that were once commonplace.
Joe’s not sure what it all will mean for Martin, but Joe knows that the “rookie wall” isn’t what it once was, and it’s not the same thing many former-player analysts keep talking about.
Throw in that physical training and therapy methods are better than ever, plus the increasing pressure to win, and Joe’s not sure Greg Schiano really has plans to limit Martin’s carries in any significant manner. Joe envisions more of a common baseball pitcher’s scenario, where Martin keeps rolling until the Bucs either are forced to preserve him a little for the playoffs, or just shut him down completely if they fall out of contention in December.
Schiano lives by the one-game season mantra, and it’s clear that winning on the back of Martin and building the confidence blocks of the new regime is more important than preserving the stud rookie.
Joe has no problem with it, and it’s an interesting debate.