Quit Blaming The Offensive Line!

December 10th, 2016
No need to invent wild excuses for Doug Martin's poor rushing.

No need to invent wild excuses for Doug Martin’s poor rushing.

Man, it blows Joe’s mind how folks invent excuses for a player not playing well.

Such is the case for Bucs running back Doug Martin.

Look, Joe likes the Muscle Hamster. But facts are facts: Martin is having his worst season running the ball, Of course, this would change if Martin breaks out the next four games. Sadly, given his play this season, Joe is not expecting that to happen.

Yes, Martin has turned into a crushing blocker and is a key reason why America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, is playing so well of late. Also, Martin has become a good receiver out of the backfield.

But running the ball, Martin is struggling terribly.

Joe can understand how this hurts fans, but there is no reason to concoct wild untruths for reasons Martin is not running well, like he’s not getting blocking. Joe hears that every day. Stop it!

For those blaming the offensive line for Martin’s poor running production, please explain how Jacquizz Rodgers, a guy the Bucs pulled off the street this season, is a 50 percent better rusher than Martin? Rodgers is averaging 4.4 yards a carry. Martin is averaging 3.0.

This just in: Rodgers runs behind the very same offensive line, unless one is trying to suggest the line is laying down for Martin and allowing defenders into the backfield on purpose to blow up their teammate.

More to chew on: Peyton Barber, a rookie who at one point was on the practice squad, is getting 30 percent more production running than Martin behind that same offensive line. Barber averages 4.1 yards a carry. More fuel: Although a small sample size, Antone Smith averaged 4.7 yards a carry behind that much-maligned (by some) offensive line before he blew up his knee, and the dude was unemployed when the season began.

Look, no one is more disappointed than Joe that Martin failed to return to his Pro Bowl form, with the exception of the Bucs themselves.

If Martin was running like a such beast, then why is it Dirk Koetter wants to get Rodgers more work, and the team is expected to reactivate Charles Sims? If Martin wasn’t struggling running, there would be neither need nor motivation to get these guys in the mix.

Stop looking for excuses where none exist for Martin’s poor season running the ball. It begins and ends with Martin, not his teammates.

35 Responses to “Quit Blaming The Offensive Line!”

  1. Ryan Says:

    The only fathomable excuse when comparing the similar samples of Rodgers and Doug would be that the quality of defenses that Doug has been healthy and playing against certainly outweigh the quality of the defenses rodgers went up against. Doug has shown minor flashes here and there of his ability to find a crease and make something out of nothing but it’s been massively inconsistent. One thing worth noting though: Joe calls out losing culture, it seemingly gets stamped out. Joe calls out underperforming defense, they completely turn it around. You’re building a trend this year, Joes, so keep calling out the underperformers and let’s watch Doug go for 100+ on Sunday.

  2. Negative Jeff Says:

    Always feels Martin was more of a power runner and lacks the shiftiness that Naturally good running backs have. See goal line TD las week. No home run ability with Martin. And he fumbles too much for my liking.

  3. Buc50 Says:

    Make the starter Rodgers and let’s move on. Doug Martin is a RB and people need to understand the lifespan of those guys.

  4. OneBuc55 Says:

    Imo, we should have franchise tagged Martin…My biggest fear of signing him to a longterm deal is now reality; he still hasnt put together back to back productive seasons and he misses way too many games…Peyton Barber has looked good running the football when given an opportunity…Rodgers is serviceable, and Sims is talented but very injury prone as well…I get it, it’s a tuff position; RB’s take a pounding…that said, if this team is serious about making a playoff run we gotta find a way to jump start our running game asap…I say trade them all and find a way to draft Dalvin Cook…

  5. lightningbuc Says:

    Martin is hurt, pure and simple. If this were Gerald, like when he was hurt last year, Joe would be taking every chance possible to remind us of that fact.

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    I think its more dynamic then just put a running back in and see who has the most yards per carry!!! It seems that defenses stack the box more than they respect our passing game. The defense they played are way better than last years! Stocker has been in and out! Also there has not been the consistent push from the o-line as last year, on the other hand, I think everyone has been very surprised at how this o-line has pass protected!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!

  7. tmaxcon Says:

    Martin has never been anything more than an often injured part time back. He’s never been a beast. He had a few good games got paid and went back to normal.

  8. BoJim Says:

    And Quizz can block as well as Martin. I love Martin but the Bucs need to let Martin rest up. In other words, play Rodgers and Barber a bit more. Concentrate on at least 3 more wins.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’d like to see the YPC stats on 1st downs….It seems that Martin is stuffed many times on 1st down and that the opposing defense was in our huddle & knew the play.
    I don’t disagree with the stats and that Martin is likely not 100%…..also, one big game from him could make a difference.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Great observations Realist. Could have added ‘Joe likes McCoy. Joe doesn’t like Martin’. Reality is that Martin was the second-best performing RB in the NFL last year, but this year? Not so much. So what’s changed? Our OLine has changed. The defenses we’ve played thus far have been better. Martin’s been injured. And yes, we have a new OC (well, partially at least). Result? Martin’s not getting the results he did last year. Probably a lot more to what’s behind that than just saying “Martin got his contract so his incentive is gone.’ And Joe, for the record, our OLine is middle-of-the-pack at best when it comes to run-blocking. Take a good look at what teams like Buffalo, Dallas, Tennessee & Oakland have been doing in the run game this year. We’ve got a ways to go.

  11. Cannon Says:

    Rogers had a couple of great games against teams who were terrible against the run.

  12. d-roca Says:

    Martin doesnt look like hes in great shape to me. They run the hurry up n hand him the ball 2-3 times in a row, without fail the latter 2 carries go for nothing. So i dont like the play calling there either. Martin definitely looks like he cant handle 3 carries in a row better yet a full games worth. Rotate em baby. Keep em fresh. That has a little to do with the other backs ypc i think. Whatever they do i could care less as long as the wins keep coming

  13. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    It’s clear the running lanes aren’t there as of late. Your losing a lot of creditability with me Joe. You need to watch the line play closer. i wish our line could push guys 10 yards down field like the Panthers game every week but that hasn’t happened. Please let this play out without insulting one of the teams most key players.

  14. Gencoimports Says:

    Once again, Joe ignores impact of the 49ers game. Take away that game (against the run, the 49ers are the worst D since the 1981 49ers) and Rodgers YPC falls to under 3.9. That is not a YPC

    Once again, Joe ignores the fact that defenses are stacking against the run when Martin is in the backfield. Yes, it’s all Doug Martin’s fault that a defender is in his face the moment he gets the handoff.

    Also, why does Joe not mention that FACT that Charles Sims is averaging 2.8 YPC this year (before he got injured) vs 4.9 YPC last year????????? To say that there is no falloff of production from the Offensive line is disingenuous.

  15. Gencoimports Says:

    Also, Barber’s YPC is only 3.1 if you take away the 49ers game.

  16. Gencoimports Says:

    corrcting my original comment – The 49ers this year are the worst rushing defense since the 81 Patriots. That’s the worst rushing defense in 35 seasons folks. That game should be thrown out when comparing RB’s YPC averages.

  17. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Rodgers had been the hot back, before he got hurt.

  18. Doctor Stroud Says:

    The RB position is by committee this year out of necessity or by design, and I am not too worried about Martin’s stats, just Bucs wins. Defenses know that the Bucs running game is potentially dangerous, and they are clearly planning against it. That has opened up the passing game. The yards will come. Just keep pounding the rock!

  19. briandorry55 Says:

    Do you really think defenses give our run game as much respect when Rodgers or Barber are in the backfield as they do when Martin, the guy who had more explosive runs than anyone in the league last year, is in the backfield? Stop it. It’s not black and white and a blind fool can see that the offensive line is in Martin’s lap damn near every time he gets the ball.

  20. Pit Says:

    Do the stats really matter if your team is winning? I feel like stats are only good for getting paid and for fantasy football. I could care less if JW throws 10 int and we still win the game.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    Spot on gencoimports

    Joe, Rodgers had 1 really amazing game against the 49ers. Take that out and he’s averaging basically the same.

    But answer me this: if Martin and our other backs are getting stuffed in the backfield on half of our run plays, how is that blame on the backs and not the o-line? Please explain that…

  22. Johhnie Says:

    Joe, is it possible teams play more 9 in the box when mRtin is on the field do to his prior season success. Could they hear more towards defending the pass when the other less known backs are in thus allowing more run success. I believe Martin assist Winston not only blocking but the mind set of the saftey

  23. Johhnie Says:

    Gear not hear

  24. Pickgrin Says:

    Its no slam or slight on our Oline to state the obvious that they are not run blocking as well this year as they did last year.

    Taking the whole season so far into account – the Bucs Oline has improved in pass protection and regressed in run blocking. Its a simple fact that anyone with half an eye for what occurs on a football field is seeing.

    Martin is not the same player this year as he was last year. That, as well, is pretty obvious.

    The team has played better since Martin returned and is winning so whatever the mix at RB, its way better to have #s 1,2,3 and 4 RBs available (Martin, Quizz, Sims, Barber) now at the end of the season than be down to #4 and #5 RB being the only ones available like it was a couple months ago…

    Give them all touches and see if anyone develops the hot hand…

  25. Rrsrq Says:

    I didn’t think it was just me watching Martin get hit and have to dodge defenders in the backfield. It’s so obvious. Not sure which NFL show it was, but they pointed out how teams were stacking the box with Martin in the game, that is their first goal. Would like to see his yards after contact, because he has made plays/yards when there was nothing there.

  26. OneBuc55 Says:

    RB by committee has been working for the Patriots for years…As long as we have Winston, Evans, and Koetter calling the plays we have a 50/50 chance of beating any team in the league…

  27. TeddyB Says:

    I come to this site all the time and never comment but there was no way I could let this one slide. The run blocking this season has been weak and most of martin’s carries there is a defender behind the line as soon as the ball is handed off. Not to mention as other posters suggested other teams are more focused on stopping Doug than the other backs since he’s one of are (few) star players. The pass blocking isn’t as good as it seems either but Winston’s elusiveness covers that up.

  28. Peyton Says:

    IMO there is another contributor to martins poor running this year…playcalling…we run the ball on 1st down more times than not and any team that has scouted the bucs over the past two seasons should know that…so martin and the o-line face run blitz’s on 1st downs more times than not. I know it’s coming from my couch, my son sitting beside me know’s it’s coming to the point of begging the football Gods that we call a playaction pass or screen on 1st down to change things up and funny thing is, whenever we’ve had martin in the backfield and ran play action on 1st down, its worked a high percentage of the time. martin has had to make guys miss in the backfield more and more since last year and fights to get back to the line of scrimmage…that also puts us in 2nd and long a lot of times and jameis throws us out of it only to have a basic dive play called on 1st down again. just watch the games if you think i’m making this up. quizz has more shake than martin has definitely and he’s a little smaller so he has been able to make more of the small creases, but defenses load the box against martin more than any of our other backs and run blitz on majority of our 1st downs…it is shocking to see us open a drive with a boring dive each and every game with the defense sitting there waiting for it. martin is our best back and makes our offense better just by being on the field…i’m anticipating a big game coming, hopefully this week and sprinkle in some sims and quizz to dominate offensively.

  29. Gencoimports Says:

    Good points Peyton … The Bucs need to throw a bit more play action passes on first down, particularly early in the game.

    Like I’ve said before, I’m all in favor of using Rodgers more, with him getting maybe 40 pct of the carries to 60 pct to Martin.

    As for Sims, he should mostly be used as a slot receiver right now to take pressure off our banged up receivers.

  30. Trubucfan22 Says:

    You want to know why Rodgers has a good ypc? He played the 49ers. Take the 9ers game out of the equation and he has numbers similar to Martin. So there you have it joe.

  31. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    JOE(s). STOP hating on Martin? ALL the games we’ve kvetched about, Martin was out. What’s our record with him in? Don’t say stats matter in one area and not the other. IE GMC not getting 10 sacks etc. We’re better with Martin in. Period

  32. Buccfan37 Says:

    I’m still riding the Martin bandwagon. Sure it’s been tough going this year so far and I agree with the comments that support his value to this team.

  33. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Joe is trying his hardest to be right about franchising Martin. But he was wrong, and will always be wrong on this subject. Martin is our best RB. And the bucs win when he is in the line up. Jameis plays his best football when he has reliable Martin lined up behind him.

    End the smear campaign joe. The fans are not buying it, and you are losing a little bit of respect by doing this.

  34. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Joe sure loves his o line. When Jameis is the most hit QB in the league, don’t blame the o line, Jameis does it to himself. If our RBs are struggling to avoid 1 or 2 defenders in the back field, don’t blame the o line, the RBs just suck. If spread sheeters give the o line a bad grade, they are incompetent and don’t know how to football.

    I feel like the o line is a pretty easy group to critique. If you face a lineman one on one and get beat, you get a negative mark. If you win (sustain a successful block) then you get a positive mark. Sure there are some grey areas when a d line runs a stunt and o line has a break down. But all in all it is straight forward. Was your block successful or not? Really not hard to judge.

  35. Rob Says:

    Martin is the man and the team is better when he plays. Period