The Meaning Of The Doug Martin Fumble?

August 2nd, 2012

Bucs fans love debating the competition between LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin.

Most of Joe’s media brothers have stated their confidence that Blount has little shot at being the Bucs’ go-to running back. Beat writer and WDAE-AM 620 personality Rick Stroud, and the dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, Steve Duemig, have been among the most vocal of late. They focus on Martin’s draft position as a major reason he’ll be the Bucs’ primary back.

Right now, under Greg Schiano’s loudly proclaimed clean slate, all the head coach has said is that both running backs look good and they complement each other well.

But ball security is one of Schiano’s personal obsessions and Martin lost the rock yesterday at practice. Joe has yet to see Blount fumble this offseason. On Sunday, long after practice, Schiano was not happy about a Mossis Madu fumble that appeared to come after the play was blown dead.

Does that mean much? Probably not. But Joe knows it would be national news if Blount fumbled in practice.

Joe’s wise enough to understand that Martin’s draft position at the end of the first round is a factor, but Joe also knows that Schiano’s credibility with his team is far more important.

If Schiano is telling players that they will earn their playing time, then that must apply to the running back position or he risks far more than not getting the most out of a first-round pick.

Think the players aren’t watching? Davin Joseph told the Tampa Bay Times this week that Blount is his favorite running back.

Joe just wants to make the point that he believes the running back battle is wide open at this point and that the most impressive RB in preseason will be the opening-drive guy on opening day.

Ronde Barber went out of his way this weekend to emphasize how much he appreciates Schiano’s win-now attitude and urgency. It’s comments like those and others that lead Joe to believe nothing is pre-determined — or already determined — in the running backs competition. Joe’s not buying that draft and personnel politics are a big deal for a new coach with a five-year guaranteed contract.

Hopefully, both Blount and Martin will thrive, allowing the Bucs to pound the ball 35+ times a game. That should translate into a strong season.

20 Responses to “The Meaning Of The Doug Martin Fumble?”

  1. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Very good post, Joe.

  2. Oregano Says:

    I linemen have “favorite” running backs, I can see where they would love LGB. If coaches and GM’s have “favorite” running backs, it would be their 1st round draft pick over any other running backs especially undrafted free agents.

    Linemen don’t get fired if their “favorite” fails miserably.

  3. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    Fumbling is just one of the multiple problems that come with Blount. Even if he somehow cures that problem, he has several others that hamper our offense during his presence. Would like to see him catch passes on the stride often and be effective at short yardage situations.

  4. robert Says:

    Love Blount, but having him in there on 1st down (and maybe it was just the play calling last year) was like telegraphing “it’s a run play”. I would love to see us put him in after we get a lead, or use him more in passing or blocking…anything that would make the opponent keep from stacking the box. Douggie does look more fluid and “could” be the better back, but Blount his earned the right to be given a shot with proper play calling.

  5. flmike Says:

    LGB’s fumbling issues are a myth, if you are gonna crucify him might as well throw MJD & Arian Foster out with the bath water too. Also go back and watch his highlights for passes caught and yardage per pass I thinks it’s somewhere around 15 caught at 15 yds per.

    Leading fumblers RB
    2011 (top 5)
    MJD – 6 fumbles, 1 lost (16 games)
    Arian Foster 5 fumbles, 3 lost (13 games)
    Ryan Matthews 5 fumbles, 2 lost (14 games)
    LGB 5 fumbles, 3 lost (14 games)
    Felix Jones 5 fumbles, 2 lost (12 games)

    2010 (top 5)
    Ahmad Bradshaw 7 fumbles, 6 lost (16 games)
    Ced Benson 7 fumbles, 5 lost (16 games)
    Ryan Matthews 5 fumbles, 3 lost (12 games)
    Mike Tolbert 5 fumbles, 3 lost (15 games)
    Tim Hightower 5 fumbles, 4 lost (16 games)

  6. Macabee Says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight. I want to see both backs used to what extent and in whatever capacity it helps us win.

    Twitter is unreliable, but it was tweeted that Martin fumbled twice recovering one – the second of which stopped practice and drew a “teaching moment” from Schiano.

    If true, this means nothing to me as it’s early in camp, but should remind us not to place the starting RB tag yet!

  7. ELioT Says:

    @flmike – there you go throwing out facts and data to prove the haters wrong!

    I don’t see why any Bucs fans wouldn’t be freaking stoked over having two talented RBs on the team. You need at least two good backs to be a power running team and we have the potential with 22 & 27.

    Quit trying to crucify Blount and be happy that we have a RB controversy at One Bucs Place.

  8. OAR Says:

    flmike and ELiot
    That kind of common sense thinking, backed up with facts, is not allowed by some on here. Shame on you!

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I wonder how big Martin’s hands are ?
    Little, short armed guys with lots of muscles in their forearms, are not exactly ball security factories, especially with small hands.
    I really liked Martin in the draft, but I did read one scouting report that sort of slammed him, because of his reportedly small hands.
    That report I read had him going in the late second/early third round.
    They felt that his lack of hand size, combined with his muscular forearms, would cause him to fumble too much, at the Pro level!

  10. Andrew Says:

    A LeGarrette fumbled would be national news? no way.. Do you really expect a rookie RB to not cough the ball up at least once? give Martin a break. If you compare this year to last, I feel that the RB competition is the best thing that could have happened to this team. LeGarrette was given the starting role last year without a question and look at his performance. He necessarily didn’t have fumbling issues but he was slow out of his stance and showed that he was a situational back and not an every-down back. Bring in Doug Martin and we now have a possible every-down back and someone that possibly lights a fire under LeGarrette’s butt. I think our running game is going to be awesome so don’t create a battle between these guys when theyre going to be sharing the carries and battling opposing defenses.

  11. dabigjimboski Says:

    flmike you can’t just put the number of games up there and act like it’s the same. You also have to consider the amount of carries each back had. If you average it out that way, Blount fumbled at a much higher rate. MJD, Foster, etc had way more carries than Blount last year.

  12. #1 Bucs Fan Says:

    @ dabigjimboski – not to mention catches. look at the total # of touches

  13. Miguel Grande Says:

    I seem to remember a LGB fumble where after a fantastic 12 yard run for a 1st down, with incredible 2nd and 3rd efforts, the ball was stripped apparently after his knee touching the ground. It took the replay officials a long time to disagree with the Bucs and gave the ball to the opponents.

    Without that fumble, LGB would fall right out of the NFL leading RB fumblers. Remember, he wasn’t even the leading fumbler on the Bucs. Several of his miscues were because he refused to go down at 1st contact.

    I think that LaGarrete is one of the most exciting backs to watch in NFL history and since pro football is entertainment, we should rejoice in his efforts. Maybe, the Little General can coach him up to reduce the turnovers, but I believe it’s a cheap excuse to bench the man.

    I agree with Joe that if he was to fumble in camp it would be national news.

  14. BucFan20 Says:

    And now we use the ROOKIE excuise. Gee, never saw that one coming. But I expected from 2.2. He lost one after contact. He carried the ball how many time in college? Now in Camp? Like they say where I am from. That Dog Don’t Hunt. Give up the Rookie excuse.

  15. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    @flmike: Like I said, fumbling isn’t the biggest issue with Blount. There was various ways in which he handicaps an offense, the inability to catch passes and dancing behind the line even on short yardage conversions being the major ones of them all.

    And before you talk about his receiving stats, remember that Blount does not catch passes in stride. He runs a route, stops and turns around for QB to throw the ball, it works well on 3rd and long when WRs and TEs are bigger priorities, not so much on 1st and 2nd where LBs are focused on RBs on making catches.

    Foster, Rice and LeSean McCoy are such versatile weapons because they catch on the run and convert downs. Having a weapon like that in an offense helps the overall offensive production significantly.

  16. FlBoy84 Says:

    Looking at that photo, I can hear Earnest Byner yelling “Chin, Chin, Chin”. Curious of the ball position Schiano sees on tape when he looks at the fumbles so far in camp.

  17. BucFan20 Says:

    So I guess when Martin got dropped for a 5 yd loss yesturday he was dancing behind the line. The line is to open holes which it did not. Today Martin got forced to the left (which everyone raised hell when Blount did in 2011) because of the line. Blount did catch passes on the run. That is when Freeman was not over throwing or under throwing them. I would have had second guessing if he was going to as bad as he was throwing. And he did that to all the backs. Was Blount perfect NO.
    A lot of the problems last year were bad line play and coaching. Sounds like there may be some line problems now. Or the D is getting better. I did not see very many people crying when he was picking up 1000yds. He and Martin will work well Together.

  18. aj Says:

    The addition of Vincent Jackson, and the removal of Arrelious Benn from the starting line up, that will do more to stop defenses crowding the line than what downs LGB plays on.

  19. Papawill13 Says:

    Gotta say Joe you seem to be the only guy who is treating the RBs fairly. I am in the camp that Martin will play more if Only because of the 1st round pick. But I also realize I could be wrong. But it is good to see a Bucs site not bashing Blount. I like the guy and to be honest his only learning experiences came on game day.

    I hope he has a Legit chance to start and play. I think he is our best RB when we need to Run.

  20. Bobby Says:

    I think Martin is the early favorite but I expect them both to get plenty of touches. With the emergence of Blount being able to pick up blitz packages and catching the ball well, it will be a very unpredictable offense no matter which back is in.

    Last year it was like giving each running back a jersey that said “Hi! I’m Lumpkin. We’ll be throwing the ball now.” or “Hi. I’m Blount. We’re going to run the ball. Oh, no…not will be Benn on an end around.” I know… a lot of letters to get on a jersey so they decided to skip it but the defenses and everyone else knew anyway.