Lovie’s Mindset On Running BacksFebruary 25th, 2014
A cool thing about attending the NFL Scouting Combine is Joe got to listen to other top-notch general managers and kind of get a feel for their mindset and what makes their teams great. Joe could sit and listen to guys like Ted Thompson, the mastermind of the Packers, talk all day.
Now when Joe got a chance to have limited time with Bucs coach Lovie Smith, Joe was mildly surprised when Lovie said he wanted a bellcow running back and make no mistake about it, Doug Martin is that bellcow back.
Lovie did throw in a caveat that he wanted a strong stable of backs to complement Martin — so Martin isn’t beaten into the ground.
Later that morning when 49ers general manager Trent Baalke had his media session, he wasn’t necessarily talking about the Bucs but put the Bucs puzzle together when discussing running backs, specifically, his own bellcow, Frank Gore.
“I don’t want to answer for 31 other teams,” Baalke said. “I think when you look at it, I’ve maintained for a long time that that position has evolved a little bit. You see less and less of the bellcow backs and more of the rotation system. There are certain teams, and we were one of them last year, that did predominantly use one back. But it’s getting harder and harder to find those guys. And it’s getting harder and harder for those guys to hold up at the NFL level.”
There you go. Few teams use a bellcow back because they don’t have one, otherwise, they would use him. The Bucs, with Martin, like the 49ers, have one. Hence, why there’s no rotation and why Lovie said he wants backs to complement Martin.
Now the question is can Martin hold up? In only his second season he suffered a season-ending injury (oddly enough, on a pass play). That will be something to watch for this season.
Of course, if Martin gets better blocking, then he should have a little less wear and tear.