Hope For The Bucs’ Running GameOctober 5th, 2013
Yes, Doug Martin has struggled this season. Martin looks to have the same burst and drive he had last year, but the holes haven’t been there.
It’s interesting to note that two Bucs opponents in September, the Cardinals and Jets, are tied for the NFL’s top ranking in yards allowed per carry. Both only give up a stunning 3.0 yards a handoff. That’s some serous run defense. Keep in mind the Bucs’ defense led the NFL allowing 3.5 yards per carry in 2012.
So perhaps the Bucs have simply plowed into a couple of stout run defenses and inevitably will bounce out of their rushing funk?
Joe realizes it’s not that simple, but the numbers are worth noting.
Greg Schiano went of his way this week to talk about how he’s not naïve to the fact that the Bucs’ offensive line is still gelling as Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph had very little preseason work. Joe buys that to a point, but the Bucs had backups step in and perform mightily in 2012 and in 2010 (James Lee, and rookies Derek Hardman and Ted Larsen), guys who had nowhere near the talent of Nicks and Joseph. So it’s really been enough time, especially after bye week, for Joseph and Nicks to bounce back to their superstar forms.
Even with opponents inevitably loading the box against the Bucs to dare Mike Glennon to beat them, Joe believes there’s a lot of hope for the Bucs’ running game. The challenge lies with Mike Sullivan to stay unpredictable.