The Tampa Bay Buccaneers now have two players on Pro Football Focus' list of the top 101 players of 2015. Last week, Robert Ayers showed up at number 91. Today, Doug Martin came in at number 38 -- only the third back to show up on this list so far. Adrian Peterson is probably the only back to top
Doug Martin had been somewhat AWOL since his excellent rookie campaign, beset by injury and just poor play, but this season we saw that star emerge again. Martin notched 1,402 yards to trail only Adrian Peterson in the chase for the rushing crown, but also broke 57 tackles--seven more than Peterson on 39 fewer carries, fumbling two fewer times over the season, as well. Martin accomplished this without the best run-blocking in the world, too, averaging 3.1 yards per carry after contact--almost a full yard more than Peterson--and the best mark in the league among players with more than 120 carries.
Doug Martin has now had two excellent seasons, and two where he was barely a replacement-level back. The Bucs re-signed him to a big contract in the hope that he'll show more of that excellence and less of that mediocrity.
Martin carried the Bucs offense last year, providing some consistency that was missing elsewhere. As promising as Jameis Winston was last year, he wasn't consistently marching the team up and down the field. The Dougernaut was the glue that held the offense together for most of the season. In the long term, the Bucs have to move the offense toward focusing on Winston: that's why they drafted him first overall, and the best offenses in the NFL always revolve around their quarterbacks.
For now, though, the Bucs will need Doug Martin to be what he was last year: a foundation back you can build an offense around.