Koetter: 'Nothing wrong' with Doug Martin's 'hard' running
Statistically, Doug Martin is struggling at unprecedented rates in his five-year NFL career, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he has no complaints about the production he's getting from his starting running back.
"Hard. He's been running hard," Koetter said when asked about Martin's running. "When I see that stat about 2-point-something rushing average or whatever it is, I say 'Man, that 2-yard run he made at San Diego, I sure liked that one,' and that was a 1-yard (touchdown) run (Sunday) and he broke about 10 tackles to get 1 yard. It was our only touchdown of the game. Doug's running hard. We've got to give him more, got to give him more lanes"
Martin rushed for 66 yards on 23 carries Sunday, and he's averaging a career-low 2.87 yards per carry, also the lowest among the 33 NFL running backs who have 100-plus carries this season. Before this season, he had averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry in back-to-back games just once in four years, but he's done so four times in his last five games.
"He was running into some rough looks, some unblocked guys," Koetter said. "There's nothing wrong with Doug Martin. For people complaining about Doug Martin, there's nothing with Doug Martin. We have to play better around him."
The Bucs have weather multiple injuries to their running backs and have maintained their commitment to the run throughout the season. They rank third in the NFL in rushing attempts per game at 29.8 per game (this week's opponent, Dallas, leads the NFL at 32.0) despite being 29th in the league in yards per carry at 3.5.