Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Running back Doug Martin takes another step forward for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — Changes to the starting lineup in Week 3 of the preseason might or might not be meaningful, but when Bucs rookie running back Doug Martin overtook LeGarrette Blount on Friday night and started against the Patriots, something about it felt permanent.

The evidence has been there for weeks. Martin, a first-round pick from Boise State, consistently impressed coaches in training camp with his broad skill set — running, catching and blocking like a veteran.

Those things carried over to the first two preseason games, in which Martin's dazzling runs were among the highlights. Friday, in the preseason game that most closely resembled the regular season as starters played nearly three quarters, Martin did it again.

He twisted and twirled to a 19-yard run that shouldn't have been more than 4 or 5. Earlier, he punched the ball into the end zone from 1 yard, caught checkdown passes to bail out quarterback Josh Freeman, and did whatever else was required.

He was, again, the all-around running back coach Greg Schiano has sought.

"It felt really good that the coaches would trust me to be an every-down back," Martin said after the Bucs' 30-28 victory. "But I have to keep doing my job. It's not over. We have the whole regular season to go."

Martin finished with 53 yards on 13 carries (4.1 average) and three receptions for 12 yards.

The distribution of carries between Martin and Blount in the regular season remains to be seen, but it would not be surprising if coaches divvied it up as they did Friday. Martin's workload was nearly twice that of Blount, who rushed seven times for 22 yards (3.1 average).

While both will have a role, as Schiano has consistently maintained, it wouldn't be surprising if one back has a higher percentage of carries. And if it's Martin, he thinks the consistent carries will make him better.

"As a running back, you definitely want to have that rhythm going and feel the defense around you," he said. "I definitely got a rhythm tonight."

That's when Martin's running form really shows. His low center of gravity, as with Friday night's 19-yard run, lets him keep moving as defenders presume he's going down.

"That happens a lot of times," he said. "They think I'm down, but they don't realize I've got that hand down (on the ground for balance). I definitely use that to my advantage."

It would appear the Bucs haven't seen the last of that from Martin.

Comments
Bucs agree to terms with Brentson Buckner to be their defensive line coach

Bucs agree to terms with Brentson Buckner to be their defensive line coach

Brentson Buckner didn't need to bring his resume when he interviewed for the Bucs' job as defensive line coach. No references were needed, either.All the Bucs had to do was ask quarterback Jameis Winston whether the Arizona Cardinals defensive line w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
On the mend: Bucs’ Noah Spence posts workout pic

On the mend: Bucs’ Noah Spence posts workout pic

Defensive end Noah Spence, whose two NFL seasons have both been limited by injuries to his right shoulder, is getting himself healthy for the 2018 season.Spence has kept a low profile since the Bucs placed him on injured reserve in late October, a mo...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Bucs remains uncertain. But the veteran quarterback is still very much here in Tampa and still sharing his wisdom with younger athletes.In this case, they're much younger —...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

TAMPA – Jameis Winston is heading for a big payday with the Bucs. He's played well enough to make that an easy decision.But what impact will that have on the type of players they surround him with?The Bucs are expected to exercise the fifth-yea...
Published: 02/16/18
Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

The Bucs continue to move quickly with the defensive line opening on Dirk Koetter's coaching staff, interviewing former Cardinals assistant Brentson Buckner.Buckner, 46, spent the last five years as Arizona's defensive line coach, leading the unit to...
Published: 02/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

It’s a Mailbag Friday as Rick Stroud answers your questions, including what will happen with the Jameis Winston investigation, who should the Bucs sign in free agency and would Warren Sapp make a good defensive line coach?Also, who will win more game...
Published: 02/16/18
Kevin Pamphile on Bucs’ O-line: ‘We’re not far from breaking through’

Kevin Pamphile on Bucs’ O-line: ‘We’re not far from breaking through’

Free agency is less than a month away, and the Bucs have several decisions to make about unrestricted free agents from their 2017 squad. One is Kevin Pamphile, who started all but one game at left guard last season but still split the job with backup...
Published: 02/16/18
Jameis Winston’s ‘Eat a W’ ritual lives on at Florida State

Jameis Winston’s ‘Eat a W’ ritual lives on at Florida State

Jameis Winston's pregame "Eat a 'W'" speech didn't go over too well the last time he gave it in front of the cameras and teammates.Before the Bucs-Saints game in New Orleans on Nov. 5, Winston formed a "W" with the fingers on his right hand and proce...
Published: 02/15/18
Browsing the Bucs’ needs and possible free-agent answers

Browsing the Bucs’ needs and possible free-agent answers

No sooner had the Bucs 5-11 season ended than coach Dirk Koetter identified the two areas his team needed to improve for 2018."I think we were 3-7 in one score games. You're going to have a hard time getting where you want to go when you win 30 perce...
Published: 02/15/18
Free agency preview: Brate, Humphries lead Bucs’ restricted free agents

Free agency preview: Brate, Humphries lead Bucs’ restricted free agents

NFL free agency is now just a month away, and as we begin the process of previewing the 2018 free agent class, we'll start with a less prominent part that is still relevant for the Bucs this year: restricted free agents.Unrestricted free agents have ...
Published: 02/14/18