Doug Martin's production with and without Carl Nicks

Mike Ehrmann

In the 2012 offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed a two time Pro Bowler (2010 and 2011) and one-time All Pro in 2011 in guard Carl Nicks for the tune of $47.5 million for five years. He would play opposite of Tampa’s own Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph. Thoughts of then bruising RB Blount, bursting through the middle of the line and dragging defenders with him as holes would open up as wide as the Panama Canal would be created by these Pro Bowl studs of Nicks and Joseph.

Things changed. The Bucs drafted a diminutive ball of kinetic energy in a running back whose college teammates aptly called him the Muscle Hamster in Doug Martin. Then before the regular season had a chance to come to fruition, Joseph went down for the whole season with a knee injury. After seven games into the regular season, Nicks was lost for the rest of the season with a toe injury. Seven games in and Blount has amassed a gargantuan amount of yards to a total of 116. On the seventh game alone, Martin rumbled for 135 yards against the Vikings; outrunning Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson by 12 yards.

Losing two Pro Bowl guards for the rest of the season after game seven would imply that the running game would depreciate as fast as one would drive off a car lot with a brand new, first owner vehicle. Or that of actor Kevin James speed of decent after reaching his maxima of doing a cannonball into a pool. Below is a chart shows the run game with Nicks, which is the first seven games, and without. This does not include Doug Martin’s rushing stats.

Rushing Yards


With Nicks and Without Nicks


(Not Including Doug Martin)


Games


Total Yards


Average Yards


#1 – 7


227

32.4

#8 – 16


156

17.3

Difference


– 71


– 15.1


*Used ESPN stats, but I did the calculation.

Granted, Joseph did not play at all this season, thus we can focus on Nicks. Obviously, this is a simple generalization and not broken down into where the running backs would run behind Nicks, but Nicks is a huge cog… or at least we make him out to be a huge cog on our line, our offense. As one may notice in the aforementioned, our running backs outside of Martin suffered. Would Martin follow that same path? Did Martin earn a majority of his 1,454 yards rushing during those first seven games with Nicks as his guard?

Rushing Yards, Martin only


With Nicks and Without Nicks


Games


Total Yards


Average Yards


#1 – 7


543

77.57

#8 – 16


911

101.22

Difference


+ 368


+ 23.65


Blink, blink. Doug Martin excelled after Pro Bowl guard Nicks went down for the season? So… ummm… huh.

There are some fans who cannot wait to have Nicks back as well as Joseph. Yet with the numbers posted above, one has to question whether our patch-up offensive line overachieved or did Martin overachieve? Or maybe our backup or third down running backs were simply that abysmal? Or maybe Nicks’ toe injury really did hamper his play? Maybe this Bostad might be worth keeping because we have to start shaving and saving monies somewhere and the offensive line might be the place to skimp out on even though a majority of us think that games are won at the trenches. Then again, I did not look at any passing statistic either.

Carl Nicks, I am expecting more from a mauler like you this coming season to help Martin try to break Benjamins on average per game when you are on the field!

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