Better Break Tackles

May 15th, 2015
doug martin 1008

The thinktank Football Outsiders has data showing Doug Martin goes down way too easily.

While it is cool to have a total roadgrading offensive line, that’s often wishful thinking.

Therefore, for a running back to thrive in the NFL, he either has to be super elusive, or be a Ford F-150 and bounce off would-be tacklers.

In a telling statistic by the football thinktank Football Outsiders, Vincent Verhei crunched the numbers and ran the film and found Doug Martin was one of the worst running backs for breaking tackles.

Last season, the Muscle Hamster broke a grand total of seven tackles in 134 rushes. Essentially, that is telling you Martin is way too easy to bring down. And given the sieve that was the Bucs offensive line last year, that meant when Martin was featured, the running game was doomed.

These Football Outsiders numbers suggest Martin was the seventh-worst running back for breaking tackles. And folks wonder why Martin’s fifth-year option was not picked up. You can start right there.

33 Responses to “Better Break Tackles”

  1. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    How do Rainey and James rate at breaking tackles?

  2. Clodhopper Says:

    I’ve said it before I’ll say it again. He just runs into the wall like a dumb ol’ bull. He doesn’t even try any more. Don’t need stat geeks to see that!

  3. Schlomie BarMitzvahCircumScissorStein Says:

    Wow, they’re unveiling a new “patch” to commemorate The Buccaneers. Interestingly enough, 76 + 40 = season of 2016 not 2015. Such a smart, tax payer funded, ownership group.

  4. Bucman0620 Says:

    I’m sure it is because they were announced in 1975 instead 40 years from their first game.

  5. Bucman0620 Says:

    Let me rephrase that they were announced in 74 and picked there logo and colors in 75. played their first game in 76. It doesn’t make sense to me. But, whatever……. 39 years might as well be 40….

  6. Buccfan37 Says:

    Martin and Glennon were sure bets to be traded by many voices here leading up to the draft, yet they are still Bucs.

  7. bucs4lyfe Says:

    im calling shenanigans on this one for the simple fact that one of the worst backs in the league trent Richardson is actually rated high in this category. if this is a 2014 stat it doesn’t say anything more about doug martin than it does the entire bucs offense last year…if you cant get it going with koetter running the offense then talk to me

  8. Clodhopper Says:

    Another telling thing from that link. As a team, the Bucs had the third fewest broken tackles in the league. Marshawn Lynch had 37 more broken tackles than our entire team. Le’Veon Bell had 8 more than our entire team.

    That is disgusting!!

  9. martyb Says:

    Seriously ? The first season was 1976. 2015 is the 40th season.

  10. Dave Pear Says:

    Some posters are math challenged.

  11. P'cola Buc Says:

    1976 was year 1; 1977= year 2; 1978 year 3; 1979 year 4; 1980 year 5; now add 35 years = 40. We are playing our 40 year this up and coming year 2015.
    Hope this helps.

  12. Back up kicker Says:

    Yes this year is the 40th and if you couldn’t figure that out please don’t waste our time with you posts anymore. Or begin every post with “I thought this was our 39th year of football.” Thank you

  13. Patrick in VA Says:

    I wonder if Martin’s ratings were up in the last few games of the season. It stands to reason that, with him playing hurt, he may have taken a dive a few times to make sure he didn’t get popped too hard and would set back his recovery further. That’s obviously not what we want to see/hear as fans who want to see players fighting for every inch, but it might be cause for optimism about the following season with Martin going in to it healthy and possibly more willing to take on would be tacklers.

  14. PocketPirate Says:

    It is much harder to break tackles if you never get going forward full speed. Martin was typically hit by 2-3 defenders behind the line of scrimmage on EVERY run play for God’s sake! Open some holes and THEN measure the stats again.

  15. PocketPirate Says:

    Out of those 146 carries or so, he was probably gang tackled on 140.

  16. Patrick in VA Says:

    @PocketPirate – I don’t recall the way the games played out this year in terms of how much opportunity the backs had to maneuver but it seems to me that I remember your take having some merit. If that’s the case and we’ve shored up those issues this off season, then hopefully we’ll see Martin return to form in 2015 and Winston will have it that much easier by having potent passing weapons and a strong back for the D to account for

  17. WS99 Says:

    So who many tackles did sims break? He certainly didn’t break Tavares King’s tackle I can tell you that.

  18. FortMyersDave Says:

    Take away the 2 great games he had in his rookie year vs the Vikes and Raiders and Martin’s stats are simply blah…. Of course that was behind a O-line that manged to win 7 games with Penn, Larsen, Joseph, Zuttah and Carl Nicks.: all of whom were better than what the Bucs had to work with last season thanks to gross ineptitude by L&L as well as OL coach Warhop and a grossly undertalented bunch of acquisitions and having a totally inept OC in Marcus Arroyo did n ot help either…. Maybe Martin could do something with some holes to run through but the same thing could be said of Mike James or Bobby Rainey who both also had “flash in the pan” good games like the Muscle Hamster as well as Charles sims if he stays healthy enought o contribute. Hopefully someone will pound the rock successfully for Koetter and help make the Bucs offense multi-dimensional which in turn will make life much easier for one Jameis Winston….

  19. Patrick in VA Says:

    It’s also worth noting that defenses probably weren’t too concerned about covering the pass when they knew that McCown was at the helm. They probably figured that if they sold out to stop the run then the mere presence of those defenders in the back field would spook McCown in to throwing up a duck for their DBs

  20. WS99 Says:

    Matt Forte and Matellus Bennett please! I hope you’re listening mr licht.

  21. maha187 Says:

    Would love to see Rainey and James get a shot, but I think Sims might be the first to get a chance because he’s a Lovie guy. Ever since James got injured after that Seattle game he has been invisible. The potential there is intriguing.

  22. Rrsrq Says:

    Kinda hard to break tackles when you can’t even get started

  23. PocketPirate Says:

    Yeah I think overall that statistic is completely useless since I could count on one hand (or maybe 2) the number of times Doug Martin faced only a single would-be tackler instead of several. It’s tough to break tackles of three people at once. Now if he did a stat of the maybe 10 times he met a single tackler probably the seven of those broken tackles happened then.

  24. stvcl Says:

    Seems like the games I watched Doug in last year, he was hitting the hole (where it was supposed to be) with his head down. Very hard to switch up when you’re not looking.

  25. LABucsFan Says:

    For those that can’t do basic math, the patch commemorates the 76′ inaugural plus the 39 seasons after (including 2015). If you just add 40 years to 76 you’re not counting the 76′ season.

  26. ThunderBuc81 Says:

    The O-line last year never gave the guy very many chances to attempt to break a tackle. Kind of hard to break a tackle when your going backwards.

  27. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Martin just seemed to lose his vision for the running lanes. Not like they were there much; but in his rookie season he seemed to always find a way to get 4 yards even if it looked like there was no hole. I think the injury mentally messed him up; but if he can get his head right and find his rythym he should still have the physical ability to be a great back. We shall see

  28. The original "Kevin" Says:

    If one needs a data geek to tell them doug martin cannot break tackles……than they either didnt watch any bucs football or know nothing about it point blank. Martin is not a premium running back. I would bet 100 bucks any day of the week that Mike James has the best yards after contact over any back on our roster. Except now maybe this new guy from oregon the full back we will see what he can do but I would prefer Mike James as third and short or goal line back with sims in obvious passing situations.

  29. Clodhopper Says:

    Martin gets more excuses than Freeman got. Watch the games, people. How often do you remember Martin high stepping? Spin? Juke? Stiff arm? Hell even just running to the edge. He does none of that. Hes just going through the motions. Just blaming the line is putting as much effort into thought as Martin puts into running. Almost zero.

  30. Espo Says:

    My eye test says he doesn’t break tackles anymore. Don’t need stats.

  31. gotbbucs Says:

    His vision sucks, always has. Plus, he’s an awful 3rd down back, so what we have is a 1st and 2nd down back with awful vision and weak legs. They should have never gotten rid of Blount. We are going into this season with garbage at the running back position.

  32. Kevin Says:

    maha187 Says:
    May 15th, 2015 at 9:44 am
    Would love to see Rainey and James get a shot, but I think Sims might be the first to get a chance because he’s a Lovie guy. Ever since James got injured after that Seattle game he has been invisible. The potential there is intriguing.

    I am blown away that Mike James is not being talked about more. However I am not surprised he didn’t play much las t season. Love probably knows what he has in James but yes, Simms will obviously get the first shot. I think it would be a mistake to have James on the bench in goal line and third and short situations. He knows how to get those extra yards. No knock on Rainey, I think he is a better all around back but Simms was obviously drafted for his pass catching ability and James is the best downhill runner.

  33. San Francisco Joe Says:

    I think this is BS. I would think from the title that you were referring to Sims. Looking forward to Doug getting back to what he does.