Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Running back Doug Martin takes on big workload for Tampa Bay Buccaneers; LeGarrette Blount diagnosed with 'stinger'

TAMPA — Doug Martin said he felt the minor bumps and bruises that came with touching the football 28 times in his first NFL game, the Bucs' opener against Carolina on Sunday.

The 5-foot-9, 215-pound running back is thick with muscles, adding to a strong belief he can be the Bucs' featured back this season. But though he may have adequate size and exceptional speed, you have to wonder if the pounding eventually catches up to the rookie.

Of last season's top 50 rushers in the league, only 19 played in 16 games. Martin figures to be the focal point of coach Greg Schiano's ground and pound attack. He rushed 24 times for 95 yards and caught four passes for 23 yards in a 16-10 win over the Panthers.

At that rate, Martin could have 448 touches for a 16-game season. Only twice in his career at Boise State did he have a bigger workload in a game than he did Sunday.

"I do think it's a feel thing game to game," Schiano said. "But 28 touches … that's a lot of touches. Now, has it been done? Sure. Has it been done by rookies? So it's not unheard of. But we'll go one game at a time, and then you've just got to keep an eye on him as the season rolls on.

"He's a finely conditioned athlete. He's very muscular, he works out a lot, which is going to help him … handle some of the load. But at the end of the day, that's a tall order. So we'll see."

That workload looked as if it might get heavier. Backup tailback LeGarrette Blount, the team's leading rusher the past two seasons, missed practice Wednesday and was sent by the team to a specialist in Charlotte, N.C., to have an MRI exam on his back and neck.

Blount sustained what general manager Mark Dominik called a "stinger" in the second quarter against the Panthers and did not return to the game. Blount was cleared by the specialist to return to the practice field today, Dominik said.

"He felt a stinger, and it just made us nervous the way he felt it," Dominik said Wednesday. "That's part of the reason you saw what you saw, because he lost some strength. That makes us obviously very nervous about our players. And so that's why we took it real serious about MRIs and had him go see a specialist out of state.

"He's back (Wednesday night) and he'll be on the field (today) and ready to go."

That's welcome news for Martin, who paid a price to gain yardage Sunday. His longest run, which came on the final series, was 15 yards. The rest of the time, he was pushing defenders backward.

"Yeah, it was a lot of tough yardage, a lot of (yards after contact) yardage, and I had to take whatever was given, and it pretty much happened throughout the game," Martin said. "It's nothing unusual for me, and I'm prepared for the workload when it comes."

Running back Doug Martin takes on big workload for Tampa Bay Buccaneers; LeGarrette Blount diagnosed with 'stinger' 09/12/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021

    Blogs

    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another chance at landing a Super Bowl in February 2021.

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  2. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100

    Blogs

    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.
  3. The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.
  4. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing

    Bucs

    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  5. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Daniel Robertson walks off the field after being left stranded at first base to end the game.