Doug Martin RB TB 6 Days

Martin carried 12 times for 38 yards and caught two passes for 27 yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Bills.

Martin also scored on a 1-yard plunge to open the scoring in the first quarter. The Buccaneers' lead back is expected to shoulder a hefty load this season, with two of the team's running backs -- Charles Sims and Mike James -- out with significant injuries. With only Bobby Rainey to poach carries from him, Martin may be among the league leaders in touches this season.

Doug Martin RB TB 13 Days

Martin ran six times for 24 yards in Saturday's preseason contest against the Dolphins. He also caught one pass for four yards.

More importantly, at this stage Martin, who is slated to serve as the Bucs' top back, is healthy, which is more than can be said of Charles Sims (who is out three months after ankle surgery) and Mike James, who hurt his shoulder Saturday. Given that Sims had been projected to make his mark as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, it's reasonable to expect Martin and backup Bobby Rainey to pick up some extra looks in the Bucs' passing attack out of the gate.

Doug Martin RB TB 21 Days

Martin was quiet in the Bucs' preseason opener against Jacksonville, gaining just six yards on three carries and two yards on one reception.

Martin can hardly be blamed for the stat line, as the Bucs' first-team offense was horrible, and the line drew especially poor reviews. That line is a major concern heading into the season, with the guard spots shaping up as a likely weakness for the second straight year. It's an odd spot for the team to be in, as no franchise has invested more in the guard position over the last few years. Unfortunately for Martin, neither Davin Joseph nor Carl Nicks worked out, and both are no longer with the team. On a more positive note, the Bucs should be in decent shape at center and the tackle spots, so the line may round into form by Week 1.

Doug Martin RB TB 1 Month2 Comments

The Tampa Tribune says Doug Martin will see fewer touches under Lovie Smith than he saw while playing for Greg Schiano.

Doug Martin RB TB 2 Months1 Comment

ESPN Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas confirms Doug Martin "is the starter," but says the Bucs "want to use a rotation" at tailback this year.

The Bucs' new front office and coaching staff didn't draft Martin. They did draft Charles Sims with a top-70 pick, and Mike James returns after averaging nearly 5.0 yards per carry on 60 attempts. Bobby Rainey is also on the roster. We fully expect Martin to lead Tampa Bay in 2014 rushing attempts, but he may be spelled fairly regularly by passing-down specialist Sims, and possibly James. OC Jeff Tedford is an admitted proponent of RBBCs.

Doug Martin RB TB 3 Months

Speaking Tuesday, coach Lovie Smith insisted Doug Martin will remain integral to the Bucs' offense.

Smith dismissively referred to talk of a diminished role for Martin as "chatter," while also admitting his workload will decrease. Smith's point is that Martin's role will remain big, just not as big as it was. "One running back just can't make it through the season," Smith said. Martin clearly won't be the 80-percent-of-the-snaps player he was in 2012-13, but remains an RB2 with RB1 upside. Third-rounder Charles Sims is going to eat into Martin's work on passing downs.

Doug Martin RB TB 3 Months4 Comments

Bucs OC Jeff Tedford plans to "alternate" running backs this season because he believes it's "just too physical" for one to carry the entire load.

"I don't believe that one back can carry the load," Tedford said. "It's just too physical. I think you probably need to have 2-3 guys to bring different things to the table." The days of Doug Martin seeing 368 touches like he did as a rookie appear to be over. The Bucs have a stable of able ball-carriers, including Martin, Bobby Rainey, Mike James, and rookie Charles Sims. Three of them are likely to see action. Martin is currently Rotoworld's No. 11 running back. Working in Martin's favor is the Bucs' plan to pound the ball on the ground.

Doug Martin RB TB 3 Months

The Buccaneers are only likely to keep four of the seven runningbacks currently on the roster.

Doug Martin and rookie Charles Simms are locks to make the roster. That leaves Bobby Rainey, Mike James, and Jeff Demps to battle it out for at most two spots. Demps is an Olympic-level sprinter that should be used on special teams. Rainey and James both played well as starters at different points in 2013. The Bucs will end up cutting a good player this preseason.

Doug Martin RB TB 3 Months

The Buccaneers' website anticipates rookie Charles Sims "taking a handful of carries" per game from Doug Martin, "and perhaps also serving as the third-down back."

Bucs.com's Scott Smith makes it clear he expects Sims to be a "complementary" player -- not a threat to Martin's starting job -- but this isn't the first indication Sims could steal passing-game work from Tampa Bay's feature runner. Smith does not expect Martin to return to his 2012 form of 1,926 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns. Sims will be a solid handcuff, especially in PPR leagues.

Doug Martin RB TB 3 Months

Coach Lovie Smith issued a vote of confidence to Doug Martin last week.

Smith says the surprising selection of West Virgina RB Charles Sims in the third round was about adding a passing-down back, not about Martin's 3.59 YPC last season. "He's an All-Pro running back. There is nothing to dislike about Doug Martin. At the same time, we want Doug around here for many years. You need to have some other guys. He can't carry it every second," Smith said. Martin's role as a two-down workhorse and goal-line back is intact.