Bucs know opponents will follow "formula" in stopping Doug Martin
The Jets made it a major priority on Sunday to contain Bucs RB Doug Martin, and they did a really good job at it, holding the Pro Bowler to just 65 yards on 24 carries.
They stacked the box with defenders, even using their larger defensive linemen when the Bucs went to three-wide receiver sets, daring Tampa Bay to beat them with the pass.
The Bucs aren't surprised; coach Greg Schiano said it's "no mystery" that opposing teams will follow that same "formula" to slow their offense.
"If I was the defensive coordinator, I'd do that also," RG Davin Joseph said. "That's going to be the reality of the next 15 games, they're going to try to stop Doug Martin."
There were a lot of other variables for why the Bucs running game suffered Sunday. They were without All Pro LG Carl Nicks (MRSA), blocking TE Tom Crabtree (ankle) and FB Erik Lorig (ankle). Gabe Carimi made his first start at left guard, and Joseph said the unit had communication issues in New York.
But Joseph said what the Bucs need to do to free up Martin is to have the right "run-pass mix." They found one last season, with QB Josh Freeman connecting with WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams for long passes, opening things up for Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards as a rookie.
While Jackson had a big day Sunday, seven catches for 154 yards, the passing game wasn't effective enough to keep the Jets honest.
"We have to throw and catch," Schiano said. "We missed open guys, and then we dropped some passes. We have to protect better... If people are going to do that (focus on Martin), you're going to have to be able to throw the ball effectively, consistently, accurately and move the ball down the field. We did at times, and other times, we didn't."