A closer look at Doug Martin's numbers
With 247 yards and a 3.5-yard per-carry average through four games, it’s probably fair to say the Bucs would have liked more out of rookie running back Doug Martin at this point.
They certainly wouldn’t mind more explosive runs, as you read about in today’s Tampa Bay Times.
But this is an issue worth taking a deeper look at. The best way to judge a player is against his peers. While there are some running backs who are off to quick starts, like Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles, a number of respected backs are in the same ballpark as Martin.
The Bucs’ first-round pick's 71 carries have produced one touchdown and no runs longer than 20 yards. But when you compare Martin's numbers to those of some other prominent rushers, it gives some important context to this issue:
Arian Foster (Texans): 3.7 yards per carry, longest run 22 yards
Cedric Benson (Packers): 3.6 yards per carry, longest run 11 yards
Trent Richardson (Browns): 3.5 yards per carry, longest run 32 yards
Darren McFadden (Raiders): 3.5 yards per carry, longest run 64 yards
Steven Jackson (Rams): 3.3 yards per carry, longest run 23 yards
Shonn Greene (Jets): 2.8 yards per carry, longest run 14 yards
Chris Johnson (Titans): 3.2 yards per carry, longest run 19 yards
If and when the offensive line's issues get worked out, and if the longer runs that have been expected come as a result, the Bucs will see Martin's average climb and defenses then would have to adjust.