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Martin: I Can Handle the Workload

Posted Oct 10, 2013

Thursday Notes: RB Doug Martin is fine with his high number of touches the season but the Bucs may be looking for more balance between his runs and carries…Plus, an updated injury report

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • RB Doug Martin is on pace for 400 carries but says he feels fine with the workload he's getting this season
  • The Buccaneers are looking to get Martin more involved in the passing game, as he was in 2012
  • S Dashon Goldson and DE Steven Means returned to full participation in practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday
As a rookie in 2012, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin logged a fairly hefty total of 368 touches but never seemed to hit the oft-cited "Rookie Wall."  Martin had two of his best days in December, including a 142-yard rushing performance against the Atlanta Falcons in the season finale.

This year, Martin is on pace to carry an even bigger percentage of the Buccaneers' offensive workload.  He has 106 touches through four games, a number that puts him on pace for 424 by season's end.  That includes 400 carries, which would be the second-highest total in franchise history; James Wilder had 407 in 1984, which was also an NFL record at the time.

Martin says he can handle it.  “As long as I feel fine, then I have no worries," he said.

The Buccaneers, of course, are not blindly feeding Martin the football without any thought to how the workload will affect him over the course of the season.

“He is [being utilized heavily], and we’re aware of that and I think again he’ll probably be the first person to say, ‘I want more, I want more’" said Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan.  "But that’s our job, kind of taking a bigger view of things and looking at what we want to do with as far as down the road, some of our longer term goals. I feel very comfortable and very confident with where we’re at after the bye week, having really taken a hard look at what we need to do to fix our problems.”

On the other hand, the Bucs might be looking to make some changes in the balance of Martin's touches between the running game and the passing game.  Martin is averaging 25 carries a game but so far has caught only six passes for 47 yards.  Last year, he was a very important part of the aerial attack, catching 49 passes for 472 yards and one touchdown.  With opposing defenses consistently stacking the box to focus on stopping Martin between the tackles, it obviously makes sense to find different ways to get the dynamic runner the football separation from opposing defenders.

"Any time we can get him into open space where he has the ball in his hands and the closest defenders are [yards away], as opposed to him having to hit a tight crease, that’s advantage us and advantage him," said Sullivan. "We’re definitely looking at that and that’s not something we’ve made a conscious decision to get away from, it’s just a matter of trying to implement that along with some of the other things we try to do to find our balance, get our identity, get ourselves playing some consistent football that we can all be satisfied with.”

Half of Martin's six receptions came in the Buccaneers' most recent game, against Arizona before the bye week.  That was also rookie quarterback Mike Glennon's first start, and there's reason to believe that Glennon can succeed in integrating the Bucs' top tailback back into the passing attack.

-- RB Doug Martin is impressed with rookie QB Mike Glennon's passing touch

“When Mike came in here and when the quarterbacks were passing the ball to me, I could tell that his balls were accurate and perfect spiral and he has a great touch on the ball," said Martin.  "He’s progressed pretty well. I’m actually impressed with what he’s been able to in the past two to three weeks. Right now it looks like he’s ready to go."

* As reported earlier on Thursday, guard Carl Nicks once again has a MRSA infection in his left foot, with all indications that it is a recurrence of the same ailment that cost him the first two games of the regular season. That obviously makes Nicks a question mark for Sunday's game.

Tampa Bay's injury report did get a little better in a few other areas.  Both safety Dashon Goldson (foot) and defensive end Steven Means (shoulder) were full-go on Thursday after being limited in practice on Wednesday.  Safety Mark Barron, offensive linemen Gabe Carimi and tight end Tom Crabtree all got in full workouts for the second straight day, as well.

The updated injury reports for both teams are below.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

CB Michael Adams

Knee

Did Not Participate

S Mark Barron

Hamstring

Full Participation

OL Gabe Carimi

Illness

Full Participation

TE Tom Crabtree

Ankle

Full Participation

S Dashon Goldson

Foot

Full Participation

DT Derek Landri

Knee

Full Participation

DE Steven Means

Shoulder

Full Participation

CB Rashaan Melvin

Hamstring

Full Participation

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Limited Participation

WR Mike Williams

Hamstring

Limited Participation

 

Eagles:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

LB Connor Barwin

Knee

Full Participation

CB Brandon Boykin

Groin

Full Participation

TE James Casey

Groin

Limited Participation

S Patrick Chung

Shoulder

Full Participation

P Donnie Jones

Left Foot

Limited Participation

T Jason Peters

Finger

Full Participation

RB Chris Polk

Ankle

Full Participation

QB Michael Vick

Hamstring

Limited Participation

 

Game Rewind: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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