Doug Martin RB TB 4 Months

ESPN Bucs reporter Pat Yasinskas does not expect the Bucs to split up the carries too much.

As a rookie under Greg Schiano in 2012, Martin racked up 319 of the team's 371 running back carries. New coach Lovie Smith projects to give him a little more of a break, but he's already stated plans to "lean" on his starter. The talent gap between Martin and Mike James/Bobby Rainey is wide. Martin, who is fully recovered from a torn labrum, remains a good bet for 300 carries in new OC Jeff Tedford's run-first scheme.

Doug Martin RB TB 4 Months

Doug Martin (shoulder surgery) confirmed he's been medically cleared.

Doug Martin RB TB 4 Months

Coach Lovie Smith said the Bucs are going to "lean" on Doug Martin.

Smith believes in taking his starting running back off the field when a breather is needed, not implementing a true committee. "I think you have to have a bell cow. [Martin] is ours. ... Two will play, but it's not a rotation that where every series we're going to have a different guy in there." With his shoulder healed and the new regime implementing a run-first scheme, Martin has major bounce-back appeal. Mike James and Bobby Rainey are his current backups.

Doug Martin RB TB 4 Months

Doug Martin (shoulder) expects to be medically cleared next week.

Martin is on track to be cleared for OTAs and should be fully healthy by mini-camp on April 22. He missed the final eight games of 2013 due to shoulder surgery, but hasn't had any setbacks. Martin doesn't have any real threat for carries in backups Bobby Rainey and Mike James and is a strong candidate for a bounce back season in Jeff Tedford's run-first offense.

Doug Martin RB TB 4 Months5 Comments

New coach Lovie Smith endorsed Doug Martin as the Buccaneers' "bellcow" at the league meetings Wednesday.

Smith described new OC Jeff Tedford's offense as "a running attack that can pass the football." Martin will be the lead dog, but "will have backup help." This is clearly going to be a run-first attack, Lovie's preferred approach complemented by a stout defense. Martin should be a shoo-in bounce-back fantasy RB1.

Doug Martin RB TB 7 Months

New Bucs OC Jeff Tedford said he plans to use multiple running backs on offense in order to keep everybody fresh and force defenses to adjust to his personnel.

"When I was at (the University of California) we were always very fortunate to have two very good backs, whether it was J.J. Arrington and Marshawn Lynch or Lynch and Justin Forsett, or Lynch and Jahvid Best or Best and Shane Vereen,'' Tedford said. "We really had a good one-two punch in the backfield there and I think that's what you need. For one guy to carry the load the whole time, especially as physical as this level is, is a lot." Make no mistake, the Bucs are going to be a run-first team in 2014, so Doug Martin isn't going to hurt for touches. However, Mike James, Bobby Rainey, or others could also be heavily involved.

Doug Martin RB TB 7 Months

Coach Lovie Smith anticipates the Bucs fielding a "power running game" with "big-play ability in the passing game" under new OC Jeff Tedford.

Smith specifically mentioned Doug Martin as a building block. Lovie also said he wants to "bring back" the Bucs' old smash-mouth style of play, with the NFL's most physical defense and a run-oriented offense. The hire of defensive-minded Smith bodes well for Martin's 2014 fantasy outlook. He won't hurt for touches.

Doug Martin RB TB 9 Months4 Comments

Bucs placed RB Doug Martin on injured reserve with torn labrum in his shoulder, ending his season.

Rookie Mike James will be Tampa's feature back the rest of the way, offering RB2/flex value. Martin's sophomore year was a major disappointment after he ranked No. 2 in fantasy scoring among running backs as a 2012 rookie, behind only Adrian Peterson. The future remains bright for Martin in Tampa Bay, but all Bucs skill-position players would likely benefit from a coaching change. And we fully expect one to come this offseason. Through 22 career NFL games, Martin has 13 touchdowns and a 4.3 YPC average. He's lost just two fumbles. Dynasty and keeper league owners should cling tightly to Martin. He's still likely to be a second-round pick in re-draft leagues next year.

Doug Martin RB TB 9 Months

The Tampa Bay Times reports the Bucs will make a decision on Doug Martin's (shoulder) rest-of-season status before Monday's game against the Dolphins, and are "leaning toward" placing him on injured reserve.

"You know I think it's really just going to be a medical decision," coach Greg Schiano said Thursday. The Bucs would be more inclined to push Martin were their season not in the gutter, but it is, and they have little to gain by putting their franchise rusher at risk of further injury. We highly doubt Martin plays another down this season, leaving feature duties to Mike James.

Doug Martin RB TB 9 Months

Coach Greg Schiano said a decision on Doug Martin (shoulder) will be made in "the upcoming weeks."

Martin is holding out hope that he can play through his labrum tear and then undergo surgery after the season. But even Schiano seems to think that might not be the best plan for an 0-8 team. "Truly, [it's a matter of] the doctors and the trainers telling me that he's capable to do this and there's no risk of further injury, [that] he's strong enough," said Schiano Wednesday. "And even then, we've got to make a decision organizationally, is it the best thing to do?"