Judgment Night For Doug Martin

August 11th, 2017

Doug Martin has much in common with a kicker

Pretend if you wish that running back Doug Martin isn’t battling hard for a roster spot. But he is — and his fight ramps up tonight.

In fact, Martin is very much in the same boat as Roberto Aguayo.

Aguayo was brutal last season, the worst full-time field goal kicker in the league.

Martin, too, was standout awful, a defensive coordinator’s dream, averaging a league-worst 2.9 yards per carry among full-time running backs. Through 144 carries, Martin’s longest run was just 17 yards.

Available, healthy and ready to play in New Orleans with the playoffs on the line, Martin was told to sit his ass on the bench. Dirk Koetter wanted no part of Martin’s looming suspension, which began the following Sunday.

For both Martin and Aguayo, training camp hasn’t been very real. Kicking in a preseason game situation can’t be duplicated. And Bucs running backs were never asked to break tackles in practice — because the defense didn’t get the green light to tackle to the ground.

Bucs officials would be ludicrous to think the veteran Martin has little to prove in preseason. He has plenty to show. Martin simply can’t resemble his 2016 self.

Eligible to return to the regular season in Week 4 — suspensions don’t apply to preseason — Martin needs a good preseason to have a prayer of returning at his current, massive salary. On top of that, why exactly would the Bucs trust Martin again — at any pay grade — if he doesn’t show up in August when he has everything to prove?

Keep in mind that nobody knows whether Martin can be successful as a backup — not every running back is wired that way — and does not play special teams.

Joe has no clue how many carries Martin will get tonight, but they’re all big when you’re climbing up from the cellar on a shaky ladder. The 2015 season has to be nearly meaningless, ancient history, for every Bucs player, not just Martin.

Like Aguayo, Martin can afford no preseason mistakes if he wants to wear Bucs colors next month.

31 Responses to “Judgment Night For Doug Martin”

  1. D-Rome Says:

    Agreed Joe. As far as I’m concerned he should play every quarter. He should not be given any preferential treatment for being a former pro-bowler.

  2. Trevor Says:

    Doug Martin did struggle in 2016 but JOE only blames Martin for this. A deeper analysis recognizes that opposing defenses focused on taking martin out of the game and “stacking the box” in an effort to not let Tampa Bay establish a running game. This was a sound defensive game plan since the Bucs had an undersized Joe Hawley at center, Pamphile learning on the job, and sometimes a swinging saloon door named gosder cherilous at RT. FUTHERMORE, opposing defenses were free to focus on Martin because (after doubling Mike Evans) there was not a single WR left on the roster that posed a threat.

    Martin had mostly the same line in 2015, while the Bucs had little depth and health at receiver, and saw those same stacked boxes. –Joe

    Thankfully, there is great excitement because both of those issues have been fixed.

    In 2017, you will see martin return to form as 1. the OL is better and 2. we have multiple receiving threats.

    JOE is great at reporting Bucs news and giving us the facts. The analysis and speculation of decisions to come is not great. Keep up the good reporting anf let IRA do the analysis

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    No pressure Doug. Oh, except from Joe and a few others who’ve been convinced from Day 1 you won’t make the roster this year. As for the rest of us, the Bucs need ya this year … 2 out of 5 isn’t nearly as good as 3 out of 6. Give ’em h&ll tonight Doug.

  4. Mojiska Says:

    I thought the sit would have been to petition the league to reduce the suspension by a game.
    The story goes that Doug asked Bucs officials if he should appeal so he could play the rest of the season. The answer was, No. –Joe

  5. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    I want to see how the additions of Sweezy and OJ alters the the line. This could be help whoever touches the ball. Heck, even Jackson is going to keep the box from being very crowded.

  6. martinii Says:

    With the new weapons for Jameis those 6 and 7 man boxes should have Doug lick’in
    his chops.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    “The 2015 season has to be nearly meaningless, ancient history, for every Bucs player, not just Martin.”

    I think this statement should apply to all players EVERY year. What you did last year means diddly squat. Beat the guy across from you and beat the team in front of you THAT week.

  8. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Agree. If he sucks it up in preseason and displays the same horrific blind vision he had last year then there’s no point in moving forward with this guy.

    I think he steps it up though and gives us another great year for some reason; but then we address the future at RB in the draft (unless it’s already here in the form of McNichols/Barber)

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    My guess is Martin in Q1, Rodgers in Q2, and the rest in the second half.

  10. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Personally, I’m far more interested in seeing how Joe Mixon run’s against our defense.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Blake- What’s the over/under on “I told you so” posts by BigHog if Mixon tears it up?

  12. NickTheKnife Says:

    Fake news generated for clicks.
    LOL. So stupid it’s funny. –Joe

  13. Lamarcus Says:

    Martin gonna make some ppl puke tonight. Highlight reel play will be on display. 2015 bucs played Bengals week 1 preseason as Joe is a history guy right?

  14. LongSeason Says:

    One thing, and this is clear. Doug Martin’s status for this season is not about his performance last year on the field. It has more to do with the suspension. Offensive line was horrible at run blocking last year. There were more ways a Buccaneers ball carriers last year than there are ways skin a cat. Even if the Drug Hamster performs good in the preseason, he may be gone after he comes back either by cut or if we are lucky a trade. Do I want to see the Drugginator go. No. But what is best for the team trumps that. If Doug is back to being the Muscle Hamster and the Douginator then I am happy to have him. Part of Doug’s preseason performance will be for potential suitors as well as the Bucs coaching staff.

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Soooo…hypothetical question. If the line has improved and multiple backs run successfully….Quizz…Barber and McWeapon and yes Doug.

    What then? Yeah I know you can never have too many good players so what then?

    If multiple backs prove themselves in the preseason and run well for the first three games what then?

    Keep one of them at seven million? Renegotiate Doug’s contract? What if Doug and his agent don’t like the new offer and say he’s a free agent and they belive he can get a better offer from another team?

    All tough questions for the Doug lovers here.

    The what ifs for Joe and people like me are not nearly as tough.
    What if Doug goes off and runs wild? Easy! We welcome him with open arms and pay him his money!!!!

    This is not an emotional issue for me. I do not hold Doug’s betrayal against him. If he’s the best option then we forget about 2016. I suspect from his threads that is what Joe feels a well.

    I totally understand those who believe Doug is head and shoulders above the other backs. IF he is great…we’ll pay him and cheer for him. What I do not understand is the “emotional” attachment some seem to have.

  16. stpetebucsfan Says:


    A couple more questions. Didn’t Quizz run behind the exact same line?
    If you take Quizz’s average and plug it into the number of carries Doug had in 2015 he would have rushed for over 1200 yards.

    How did #3 pass for the second year in a row for over 4,000 yards behind that gruesome OL.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    @stpete- See I agree with you, to an extent. My only caveat to your hypothetical is that Doug would be the starting RB if not for the suspension. There would be no conversation about Quizz or Sims in a starting role, only that of back-up or situational. To add to that, the Bucs had to have been looking beyond this year when they drafted McNichols as Doug is on the wrong side of 30 after this season.
    When you couch your question with other backs’ success we all have to realize that this a business. If other backs step up, that can only mean good things for the success of the TEAM. Doug has to prove beyond a doubt that he’s the 2015 Doug and not the 2014 or 2016 Doug.
    More has been made of this story (Dougie) than is necessary. With or without the suspension, the Bucs had to start looking for his replacement this year or next.

  18. Bucsfanman Says:

    To your follow-up, Quizz and Martin are different runners. Quizz was able to elude the defenders 3 yards deep in the backfield whereas Doug tried to run through them.

  19. NFLNut Says:

    Nonsense. Doug is the #1 back on this team … barring injury he will lead the team in carries and yards when the season ends … he’s NOT fighting for a roster spot anymore than Humphries or Wilcox is imho.

  20. SOEbuc Says:

    HAHAHA. Slow your horses Joe, Doug isn’t anywhere even close to being in the same boat as Aguayo. And unless McNichols just totally explodes, Doug is the starter come week 4 unless Quizz or Simms are looking very good.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete, there’s nothing hypothetical about Doug’s situation IMO. Koetter NEEDS a functional running game to make his game plans work. That’s his history & that’s who he is. Feel quite certain that Dirk will go with whichever RB performs the best behind this Bucs’ OLine. As he says “EARN IT.’ If Martin outperforms the others, not only will he stick, but he’ll play the most and the Bucs will pay him what his contract calls for. If one (or some) of the other RBs on our roster outperform Martin, he stands a very good chance of being traded or cut or having his contract renegotiated (at which time the ball’s back in Martin’s court as to whether he stays or leaves). It’s all situational at this point … but it won’t be by Game 4. Personally I think Doug let the team down big time, but he’s not the first by any means. It’s what he offers to this team moving forward that folks should be most concerned about.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t personally think Doug should play in the preseason at all.

    Isn’t the goal to see what Jeremy McNichols can handle? Let’s make him the full time feature back in the preseason.

    And while we are at it…let’s see what Quayvon Hicks, Antony Auclair and Austin Johnson can do at Fullback. Mike Alstott style.

    If one of them can perform like that, we’ll have plenty of rushing TDs and short yardage conversions.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    spbf asks:

    “If multiple backs prove themselves in the preseason and run well for the first three games what then?”
    – Then you keep them all and utilize them all. Every back on our roster has unique skills that can work well situationally.

    “Renegotiate Doug’s contract? ”
    You damn skippy you re-negotiate a new contract. Martin’s deal was on the high side to begin with compared to other top backs around the league. After getting paid $8M to run for 400something yards and then get suspended…. Sorry dude – we’ll make you a fair new offer – but you’re taking a pay cut if you want to be a Buccaneer for 13 games this year.
    See the new Sweezy deal. Doug’s will be similar. A pay cut in the 20-30% range with guarantees written in that protect the Bucs financially against future “behavioral” issues.

    “What if Doug and his agent don’t like the new offer and say he’s a free agent and they believe he can get a better offer from another team?”
    The new contract offer will happen before the season starts after coaches have gotten a good look at Martin in pre-season. Licht will sit down with Doug and his agent and explain the team’s position and offer probably a 2 year deal with guarantees for the 13 games of 2017 in the $3.5- 4M range and non guaranteed $5M in 2018. The “carrot” for Doug is that he gets guaranteed the 3-4 million and a spot on the team this year.
    If he chooses to spurn the offer and is determined to get paid his full contract or get cut and take his chances on the open market week 4 of the season – then the Bucs will have a decision to make once Martin’s suspension is over. Keep him for $5.7M for 13 games because the running game was lackluster the 1st 3 games – or cut him because our run game has already been working well without him.

    Reality says that Martin will not likely make more than $3M per year unless he’s playing for the Buccaneers – so why not at least guarantee that. Wouldn’t make sense for Doug to refuse a fair offer IMO. He knows he F’ed up and I’m pretty sure he feels like part of the family and wants to be here…

  24. Maze Says:


  25. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    D.R. and Pickgrin

    Agree completely with your takes.

    Basically I think Doug has paid a pretty stiff price for his mistake…and not just $$$. If he hadn’t screwed up we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
    His poor performance last year and the suspension have literally insured that the Bucs will get to see other RB’s for the first three games.

    Opportunity knocks. Let’s see if someone seizes it or if Doug is still the man.
    Again I do not care WHO it is as long as we end up with a decent running game

  26. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    I believe Doug can turn it around (and so should everyone else thats a fan of this team). Don’t understand this whole mindset of wanting a player on your OWN TEAM to fail.

  27. FartinMartin Says:

    What happens if he gets injured, breaks a leg ……what are the Bucs on the hook for ?

  28. Piratic Says:

    I find it very curious that Joe’s take on this matter is the polar opposite of another prominent Bucs’ website. The other website seems to think that DM22 is at the top of the depth chart, while Joe thinks that he won’t even make the roster!

    Now, that’s a huge difference of opinion, and it makes me wonder how two groups of people, while covering the same team, can come to such differing points of view.

    It’ll be interesting to see which website ends up being correct, because each is adamant in their stance.

  29. Chris Says:

    Hate to break it to anyone that says Martin is fighting for a roster spot, but here it is. Martin is a sure bet to make this roster – at about a 99% chance at that. For someone to say otherwise clearly doesn’t understand the situation completely.

    I have complete respect the what the Joe’s have to say, but I am shocked that they are putting this out there for the fans. The one thing that would prevent Doug from making the team is if he were to run into some unforeseen off-field incident.

  30. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If Cowboys Elliott gets his suspension reduced to 4 games, maybe Bucs would petition NFL to reduce Martin’s suspension if he continues to perform…

  31. Fsuking Says:

    It’s getting almost ridiculous that this far into camp, you still can’t see it’s clear that Doug is 100% our starter. He’s taking the vast majority of the snaps with the ones and nobody else has stepped up. Willfully blind you are. Open your eyes you should