Breakout Year For Doug Martin?September 3rd, 2014
When the Bucs’ new brass, Lovie Smith and Jason Licht, took over in January, they pored over tape of their new players and weren’t overly impressed with the man affectionately known as “The Muscle Hamster,” Doug Martin.
L&L loved how Martin ran the ball. Catching the ball? Eh. They thought perhaps Martin was overrated.
Think not? Well, take Charles Sims as evidence.
Lovie wasted scant minutes after selecting Sims in the third round before he told media how the Bucs were looking for a pass-catching running back.
Joe’s digging revealed, from a trusted Bucs suit, that Tampa Bay thought Martin was just fine catching the ball in the flat or on screens. Downfield? Not so much.
In short, the Bucs wanted Martin to prove he could catch downfield. Now, with Sims out with an injury, and another prominent backup, Mike James, dinged up in the preseason, it sure appears that Martin will be that bellcow he has always been.
Martin may get the ball so much this year, Woody Cummings of The Tampa Tribune believes this may be Martin’s best season.
Running back Doug Martin is back — And he might be better than ever. The Bucs always knew Martin could run the ball, and nine months after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, he proved he can still do that exceptionally well. But he also proved himself to be a much-improved pass catcher. If the line can open holes for him, Martin could replicate his rookie season and gain nearly 2,000 total yards again.
Therein lies the question: Can that offensive line improve that much? Sure, the addition of guard Logan Mankins helps, but will Mankins be the panacea to what had been a porous offensive line, specifically up the middle?
With blocking, the Bucs ought to be able to do a lot of things. That is, again, if they can block.