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Why you should believe in Doug Martin

The demise of Doug Martin has been greatly exaggerated.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Minicamp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus has done a five year graphic review of Doug Martin and his forcing of missed tackles. Last year, there were a lot of people just simply saying how terrible Doug was, but the graphic reveals he was performing above average still.

Of course, I did write about this at the end of season with this article: The Bucs’ run blocking has been a bigger problem than Doug Martin.

Many fans just believe that the running back should be the sole reason why the running game falters. Some of that notion is true, but not in the case of Martin.

As per Football Outsiders (FBO), Power ranking is the success of the offensive line play to earn short yardage for a first down. The lower the Power ranking the better, where #1 is best. Stuff ranking is the measure of least likely to have your running back stopped at the line of scrimmage (LOS) or behind it. The lower the Stuff ranking the better, where #1 means you do not have your running back stopped at the LOS or behind it.

There is only one season where the Overall, Power, and Stuff ranking ranked above average simultaneously. That year was 2015, Martin’s second pro bowl appearance and finished second overall in the rushing title.

For 2013, Doug only played for the first six games of the season before tearing his labrum in his left shoulder on a wheel route (passing play). In that six game set, he faced #1, #2, and #4 defenses. He had two terrible outings out of four. The average outside the two games was 4.475 yards per attempt.

Note the difference between 2014 and 2016 in missed tackle percentage (MT%). Martin kept producing despite how terrible the line was at getting any push. The Overall ranking should be much worse, but it was not. Martin did not play in the last two games of the season and the Bucs were not ranked dead last in either category before the last two games of the season.

The trend on Doug is very high. His rookie year proved he does not need an amazing run blocking line to become a Pro Bowl. He does not need an average line to become a Pro Bowl. He simply needs a run blocking line to not be dead last without him. Moving Ali Marpet to center will help out the run game in a zone blocking scheme (ZBS) where Marpet’s job is to get the running back to the second level. The return of JR Sweezy will definitely get a push forward, than backward in both Power and Stuff metrics.

I wonder if we will have more people comment during this coming season that, “No one could have predicted Doug Martin would perform so well this year,” again.


Where do you think Martin will be at the end of the 2017 season?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    A top 5 rusher
    (127 votes)
  • 61%
    A top 10 rusher
    (373 votes)
  • 5%
    A bottom of the league rusher
    (32 votes)
  • 11%
    (70 votes)
602 votes total Vote Now