As Doug Martin sits out for the rest of the season fans get to see the backups showcase their talent throughout the next seven games. Martin, previously expected to pick up where he left off the year before, he didn't start off as well as many expected but he was still chugging along. Through six games he had 456 yards, 3.6 yards per carry, and 1 touchdown, and his longer run was only 28 yards. Those are very solid numbers, but something was lacking. His explosiveness was lacking, really only three runs of twenty plus yards isn't technically explosive. With a pro bowl offensive line and the running abilities to go with them, it only leaves fans wondering what happened. Is Doug just a slow starer? Last year around this time he was doing decent but the Oakland Raiders game really exploded him onto the scene, but to be an elite back you have to be consistent. All of this also brings the question, why were Mike James, Brian Leonard, and Bobby Rainey able to do so well in the same situation? All inexperienced less talented backs able to produce real numbers really show the fight on the Bucs roster. Mike James ran for a buck-fifty on the talented Seahawks bunch, Brian Leonard showed he was able to run when he stepped up against the Dolphins after James went down, and Rainey showed he's a playmaker with his thirty one yard scamper for a touchdown to seal the deal against the Dolphins. Great news for the Buccaneers heading forward truly showing we don't need to completely put all the pressure on Doug in the running game and we could even feature Leonard in some late game situations, and James as a feature back with Rainey on special teams maybe. Giving them the depth they need.
At receiver the impact is lesser than that of the running backs, but the whole receiving core has stepped up after Mike Williams went down for the season, like Tiquan Underwood, and Tim Wright (tight-end). Underwood a slot receiver has shown he can be a true number two threat with many passes caught last game down field against the Dolphins, a playmaker, every corner must watch for Underwood. When Underwood performs he also is taking focus off of Vincent Jackson allowing for single coverage on him. Secondly we finally have a decent tight-end that is Tim Wright a athletic specimen Wright is equipt with the physical attributes needed to perform and showing Glennon and him have a good chemistry look for their bond as quarterback and tight-end to increase.
Finally At quarterback Freeman was expected to set himself above the negative criticism often received for being reckless and just not good, and well he didn't perform. Leading a talented Bucs team into the ground along with the Coach Freeman was released and in came in unproven lengthy rookie Mike Glennon. Many questioned the draft pick of Mike Glennon claiming there were better quarterbacks on the board when he was set on. Glennon was thrown into the fire under-prepared and with a bad coach, but he hasn't let us down. Now I'm not saying Glennon is our savior but he has proven solid so far and that is all the Bucs need an average quarterback who doesn't turn the ball over. Now he's only thrown for 1,304 yards, but he has thrown nine touchdowns, and only four interceptions and has a decent passer rating with 81.34 twentieth in the league. He has given us shots to win games and gives us some hope for the future.
With the backups truly showing up the Bucs have a promising future.