Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs running back Doug Martin named October's top offensive rookie

TAMPA — Bucs coach Greg Schiano has said he believes rookie RB Doug Martin has a chance to be a special player.

The rest of the league is starting to notice.

Martin, coming off last week's breakout performance against the Vikings, was named the NFL's offensive rookie of the month on Thursday. His 155.7 yards from scrimmage per game led the league, 26.1 more than Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson, who was second.

"I'm really excited," said Martin, a first-round pick out of Boise State. "It's an honor."

Against Minnesota, Martin racked up 214 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown off a screen pass. He became the first rookie in the past 25 seasons to rush for at least 135 yards (135) with 75-plus receiving yards (79) in one game. The Oakland, Calif., native received congratulatory calls from family and friends but kept it in perspective.

"I was pretty mellow about it," Martin said. "My mom called me, like 'Wow!' I was like 'Yeah, all right.' She said, 'What's wrong with you?' I said, 'It's one game. We've got the rest of the season to go.' "

Martin credited the offensive line as well as FB Erik Lorig but acknowledged the season-ending toe injury to All-Pro LG Carl Nicks will be a tough loss.

Martin said he's looking forward to Sunday's game at the Raiders, having lived in Oakland for five years. He never went to any games as he didn't watch too much football until he played in high school but has heard stories about fans in the "Black Hole."

"It's a homecoming," he said.

"I've got about 60-plus people going to this game. It's going to be really exciting."

Wright update: CB Eric Wright, limited with an Achilles injury this week, will play against Oakland, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said. Wright, who is expected to start, was injured against the Vikings. There remained no update on his reported suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Line shuffle: Schiano said he's still deciding on Nicks' replacement. He added one possibility is moving Jeremy Zuttah from center to left guard and recently benched right guard Ted Larsen to center.

"When you start moving people around, there's a lot of pluses and minuses to it," Schiano said. "But at the end of the day, our main goal is to get the best five guys out there on the field."

GOING WEST: In recent years under former coach Raheem Morris, the Bucs typically left for games on the west coast on Friday, giving them extra time to acclimate. Schiano considered that but decided to leave Saturday, keeping with the "normal routine" for road games.

FREEING UP: The team loves the fact QB Josh Freeman has thrown for 1,010 yards in his past three games. But what makes coaches equally excited is his nine touchdowns and one interception.

Freeman, who threw 22 interceptions last season, cited his growth in the new offense.

"It's just continuing to work within the offense," he said. "Sometimes, a ball gets away from you or something. But the more comfortable you are with the offense, the less prone you are to making those errant throws or trying to fit a ball into a (small) window when you have another guy open."

The gradual improvement is evidenced by the numbers. Freeman had four interceptions through four games but has just one in the past three and none in the past two.

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Comments
NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

ATLANTA — The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams enacted a new national anthem policy Wednesday designed, they said, to compel players to stand if they’re on the sideline for the playing of the anthem prior to a game."Clearly our objective as a leagu...
Published: 05/23/18
Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy, who handled the Bucs' kickoff and punt returns for much of last season, is back with Tampa Bay again.Reedy, 26, was signed on Wednesday, one day after the Bucs began OTA workouts. Thomas Sperbeck, the former Boise State r...
Published: 05/23/18
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Published: 05/23/18
New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

And you thought our headline would be "Mariota hosts NFL draft before Winston."The NFL owners are meeting in Atlanta this week, and that means a new batch of future Super Bowls getting announced for their homes.A year ago, Tampa got the huge news, an...
Published: 05/23/18
Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
Published: 05/23/18
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Published: 05/22/18
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Published: 05/22/18
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Published: 05/22/18
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Published: 05/22/18