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Doug Martin Seeks a Return to Rookie Form for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

July 27th, 2014 at 1:00 PM
By Michael Compton

A healthy Doug Martin enters the 2014 season with a sense of purpose and is anxious for a return to his rookie form for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Statistically, that may prove a difficult challenge for Martin as he is likely to share carries this season with  Mike James, Bobby Rainey, Jeff Demps and rookie Charles Sims.

Football Schedule / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The plan to rotate running backs means fewer touches for Martin than he received in 2012—a season that saw him rush for 1,454 yards (a Buccaneers rookie rushing record) on 319 carries—is not a knock against Martin. Head coach Lovie Smith and new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford simply want to take advantage of the team’s depth at the position.

“Doug’s a good football player. He knows that. You don’t see Doug complaining,” Lovie Smith told ESPN. “He knows what our plans are for him…Everywhere I've ever been, if you look at my history, we played more than one running back. We had a great running back (in Chicago) in Thomas Jones and we drafted Cedric Benson and played them both. One running back just can't make it through the season."

Martin missed most of last season with a shoulder injury and was placed on the season-ending IR on Nov. 8 because of a torn labrum. In only six games in 2013, Martin rushed for 456 yards on 127 carries. Rainey stepped in and wound up leading the team in rushing with 532 yards, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

"Getting hurt was catastrophic for me because I'd never been injured,'' Martin said in the Tampa Tribune. “Entering the league as a rookie, I was told many times about what could happen in the pros. At the rookie symposium, they said 'when you get injured,' not 'if you get injured.' At first, I thought I could shrug it off, but I had to let the shoulder heal and my range of motion is fully back now. Doctors say I'm good to go.''

Not that Buccaneers’ fans need reminding, but below is a video of Martin’s 2012 highlights.

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Tags: Bobby Rainey, Cedric Benson, Charles Sims, Doug Martin, Football, Jeff Demps, Jeff Tedford, Lovie Smith, Mike James, NFL, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Tribune, Thomas Jones

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