Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin gets chance to shine as LeGarrette Blount limps off for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — Rookie RB Doug Martin didn't start Friday's preseason game against the Titans, but he was one of the few bright spots for the Bucs.

And considering RB LeGarrette Blount left in the second quarter with what he said was a groin injury, Tampa Bay may have to lean a little more on the 5-foot-9, 223-pound former Boise State star.

Martin, alternating series with Blount, racked up 23 yards on seven carries and had a 16-yard run in the first quarter brought back by a holding call. On his first touch, Martin showed speed and ability to change directions quickly, cutting from left to right and breaking a couple of tackles for a 9-yard gain.

"Those were nice runs," coach Greg Schiano said. "He made something happen on his own, which is good."

Schiano said the competition between Martin, the 31st overall draft pick, and Blount would be fluid, and if one separated himself, he could earn more touches. Both had solid preseason openers last week at Miami. Blount had 11 yards on eight carries before he left the game.

"He's out there fighting hard," G Davin Joseph said of Martin. "Given some of the situations (Friday), not really having the cleanest holes, he was able to find something out of nothing."

FIRST TIME: TE Dallas Clark, held out of the opener, made his Bucs debut but played little and had no catches. First-round draft pick S Mark Barron, who missed the opener with a toe injury, started and played well, including a play in pass coverage on a third-down incompletion in the first quarter. WR Vincent Jackson caught his first pass as a Buc, an 8-yard gain for a first down in the opening drive. He dropped a potential first-down catch.

UP AND DOWN: S Ahmad Black, a former Florida standout, had one of the biggest defensive plays, intercepting QB Jake Locker in the first quarter and returning it 29 yards to the Titans' 2-yard line, setting up the lone Bucs touchdown.

Locker made an ill-advised throw across the field while on the run, and Black said he read it and stepped in.

"He seems to be around the ball a lot," Schiano said. "He has a knack."

But Black also committed a personal foul penalty in the first, a hit on a defenseless receiver (RB Javon Ringer), that helped spark the Titans' first touchdown drive. Black said he had no regrets on the hit and that he was trying to make a play.

LEANING LEFT: T Donald Penn was reactivated from the non-football injury list and can begin practicing immediately. That's a big deal for the Bucs, who missed their starting left tackle all training camp because of a calf injury he sustained in a workout in California. Penn made steady progress, working out on a side field during camp practices. Schiano did not want him back until he was ready and in shape. Demar Dotson filled in during camp, including starting the first two preseason games. Penn could get action in the final two exhibitions and be ready for the regular-season opener.

WITH HONORS: Eric LeGrand, the paralyzed former Rutgers player the Bucs signed after the draft, served as the honorary team captain and took part in the coin toss. LeGrand received a standing ovation and won the toss. "It's good to be out here with the fans and everything," LeGrand said. "It's my new home."

MISCELLANY: CB Aqib Talib started after missing the opener. … Backup QB Dan Orlovsky was 1 for 5 passing for 6 yards, with a fumble and an interception. He was sacked in the second quarter on a play that led to a fumble, recovered by Titans DT Leger Douzable, a former Alonso High and UCF standout. That set up a Tennessee field goal.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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