When Doug Martin Healthy, He’s Good

January 6th, 2015
The decline of Bucs RB Doug Martin is surprising.

A healthy Doug Martin is a productive Doug Martin.

Early in the season, Bucs running back Doug Martin stunk. There is no other way to put it. He averaged less than three yards a carry.

Of course, Bucs fans screamed bloody murder the offensive line was a smelly bag of trash. Joe can’t debate that as every time turnover-prone quarterback Josh McCown went back to pass, it was an adventure.

Joe is pretty sure McCown is currently undergoing therapy for PTSD.

But excusing Martin for poor performance was lazy. If Martin couldn’t gain yards because of the lame offensive line, why did Bobby Rainey have so much success?

The problem was obvious to Joe in the game at New Orleans. Bobby Rainey had vision. The few times there were holes — and Joe sat in the rafters of the Superdome and saw them with his own, sober eyes — Rainey did the old run-to-daylight move. Martin? There were holes (sometimes) for him to exploit but he never saw them. He just ducked his head and tried to plow through linemen and linebackers with predictable results.

It is because of this that Vince Verhei of the thinktank FootballOutsiders.com believes Martin was one of the worst running backs in the NFL this past season.

Bottom Five

1) Darren McFadden, OAK: -109 total DYAR (-32 rushing, -77 receiving)
2) Andre Williams, NYG: -73 total DYAR (-24 rushing, -49 receiving)
3) Doug Martin, TB: -60 total DYAR (-24 rushing, -35 receiving)
4) Knile Davis, KC: -53 total DYAR (-50 rushing, -4 receiving)
5) Ben Tate, CLE: -48 total DYAR ( -37 rushing, -11 receiving)

Analysis: The problem for this quintet was basic inefficiency. Martin, Tate, and Davis finished 1-2-3 among qualifying runners in lowest Success Rate, Williams was fifth, and McFadden was ninth.

At the time of the first New Orleans game, a proud Martin got irritated when asked if he was less than healthy. But when Joe had a one-on-one interview with Martin after the clinching Chase for Jameis loss to the Saints, Martin admitted earlier in the year he was battling injuries. Martin said his improved play later in the year was because he was healthy.

“Beginning of the season — it was kind of backwards, actually — usually you are healthy at the beginning of the season,” Martin said. “It was kind of backwards with the injuries I had. The knee, the ankle, and then trying to get back in shape and get back into the rhythm of things. I was just getting back into the flow, adjusting to the game speed and all of that. I felt pretty good the past few weeks.”

This warmed Joe’s heart. Look, Joe pounded Martin earlier thinking he had lost it. Once he got healthy, he showed he is still a dangerous weapon.

But after hearing Martin explain how he was injured, Joe wondered — just like in the case of ghostly defensive end Michael Johnson who Bucs coach Lovie Smith always mentioned how he was hurt — if the guy is hurt that badly that he is unproductive, then what the hell is he doing on the field in the first place?

24 Responses to “When Doug Martin Healthy, He’s Good”

  1. buddhaboy Says:

    Lovie is a dunce, we all know that by now.

  2. Louis Friend Says:

    Lovie has a lot of explaining to do (he never will) about how he handled several players and situations last year. Rainey had 23 touches in the last six games, total. Ridiculous!

    How he handles personnel and game management is occasionally perplexing and downright questionable on occasion.

  3. Biff Barker Says:

    So why not make him inactive and let him heal up? We still had Rainey and the forgotten man Mike James.


  4. DB55 Says:

    Just like everyone else, trade DM for a ball park frank and a bag of Funyuns.

  5. Walter Says:

    The Bucs should draft Dorial Green-Beckham in the 4th. I know, totally unrelated. He’d be a nice weapon to add to our receiving group. V-Jax, Evans, Green-Beckham, ASJ??

  6. Biff Barker Says:

    buddhaboy Says:

    Lovie is a dunce, we all know that by now.
    Not according to Joe’s latest poll. Love Me Not’s stock is rising! Maybe because the season ended before the losing streak did, Eh?

  7. bucs4lyfe Says:

    duh he’s good….you don’t have a rookie season like that and all of a sudden become a garbage back for all the simple ones out there…..no your either good or your trent Richardson. ben tate thought he was better than he really was but no one is coming in the game doing what he can’t. the o line sucks

  8. SAMCRO Says:

    I don’t know the answer to why Martin played hurt, but what I do know, is that if Joe had had his knee jerk way, Martin would’ve been traded before the deadline. I know Joe is passionate about his Bucs but Joe tends to lose patience and go negative too quickly without actually knowing the full circumstances. Joe tends to be no different than what he has accused L & L of, when they gutted the entire O-line before they had a chance to work with them and to make a more thorough assessment of their future contributions. Sometimes, we can be too quick to want to pull the trigger, and rid ourselves of players who just need either more time to heal, learn a new playbook, or simply just develop.

  9. port richey george Says:

    with the bucs 2013’s o-line any running back would have accomplished much more. the 2014 o-line is the worst in the nfl. any running backs best friend is a good 0-line.
    I hope 2015 0-line is the best in the nfl.

  10. Robert 9 Says:

    trade martin

    bring in ray rice AND richie incognito AND suh.

    you want nasty. they be slappin folks all the way to the playoffs.

  11. Robert 9 Says:

    mmmmmmmmmmm funyuns

    vewwy tempting trade.

    do it licht, just do it! (no draft picks though!)

  12. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    We don’t need to be messing at the RB position. Martin showed flashes of his former self, Sims flashed a few times, and both of them finished playing far better at the end of the season than the beginning and both were battling serious injuries to their wheels, the worst for an RB.

    I don’t consider RB a huge strength or a weakness. If Martin and Sims come back fully healthy and Bobby Rainey just keeps being Bobby Rainey and if the coaches could figure a way to get Mike James 5-10 228 lbs into beast mode we’d have a solid stable of backs that were complimentary. All purpose in Martin…speed and receiving out of Sims…a little of both out of Rainey and beast mode out of James.


    Could you tell us what happened to Mike James. Did he fumble a lot in practice? As I recall they only used him on 3rd and very short and he did an adequate job. Out of all the people I wanted to see get a chance those final few games James was near the top of the list. I think this guy may have more potential than we’re seeing but I don’t cover practice like you do Joe.

    What up with James?

  13. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    even better running behind an average offensive line

  14. Ray Rice Says:

    With that OL there is no way in hell anyone can’t gain positive yards.

  15. Ray Rice Says:


  16. Matt Says:

    Y’all are crazy if you think Dougernaught is washed up. He was injured all year and the blocking on most of his early season runs was atrocious. Most the plays for him were counters and powers and defenders were run blitzing the hell out of the Bucs. He’s a great back (when healthy) and he is a nightmare for Dbs to bring down in the open field. You can tell he’s still a little banged up bc he still doesnt have his 5th gear back. Martin is best in a Mike Shanahan one cut zone blocking scheme system. He doesn’t have Leveon Bell like raw power or Jamal Charles agility and acceleration but he has the perfect blend of powercand speed that few backs have.

    Martin looks too bulky and stiff now, he needs to lay off the weights and do more bodyweight exercises and stretching. I think his stiffness is what’s keeping him injured.

    Anyhow, we have an embarrassment of riches at RB. They are all the real deal but we are wasting their careers with a high school jv oline.

    We need to do anything we can to get either L. Collins or Aj Cann in the draft. They were absolute maulers in.their respective bowl games. Collins is an instant Pro.Bowl guard for his run blocking and Cann instantly brings attitude to whatever team drafts him. They are the best run blockers fresh outvof college since Leonard Davis. They dont have Johnathan Coopers athleticism or Zack Martin’s overall game (technique) but they are more dominant in the running gsme.

  17. Buccfan37 Says:

    I’ve been in Martin’s corner all along. I knew injuries hampered his production. Doug Martin will continue to gain a lot of running yards for the Bucs.

  18. DrT Says:

    FINALLY, Joe, you have seen the light!
    Now you can quit dogging Dougie.
    Love to say this ~ I told you so!!!
    At least you manned up.

  19. DB55 Says:

    Robert 9


  20. Matt Says:

    Sigh is right. The Steelers would have killed to have ANY of ourvRBs. Hell, Im going to go out on a limb and say they would have won if they had James or Rainey. Blount was frustrated he wasn’t getting any carries bc he dealt with the same crap the current Bucs are going thru now for years. If I were Rainey or James I would want to be released so I can showcase my skills and get PAID. I’m shocked they’re able to keep.quiet the way they are.

    It’s so %#(##(%% frustrating. Im going to the gym to hit the bag now…

  21. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    “I’m shocked they’re able to keep.quiet the way they are.”


    They get paid very well and as running backs they have a short shelf life anyway.

  22. Arealbucsfan Says:

    I see everybody’s back on the doug train. Jus about everyone on here commented about benching & even trading Dougie. Im still for trading this guy. His rookie year was a fluke

  23. knucknbuc Says:

    Trade him he’s a bum. So what dougillac had a few good runs towards the end.

  24. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    So much for that shaun king gossip. That great Seminole has declared duck lovers.