Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is fully healthy after missing 10 games in 2013 due to a shoulder injury and will enter this season as the Bucs’ No. 1 back.
However, don’t expect to see the 25-year-old receive the same workload under new coach Lovie Smith that he received under former coach Greg Schiano.
ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas writes:
The Bucs have made it clear that Martin will remain as the feature back but that they’ll rotate in some other backs to keep him fresh. Rookie Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey andMike James could be in the mix for playing time.
This makes sense on multiple levels for Tampa Bay. For starters. the Bucs need Martin to stay healthy and fewer carries decreases the likelihood he goes down with another injury.
Also, this should make Martin a more productive player. After taking a whopping 319 carries during his rookie year, Martin struggled when given the same hefty workload last season before his injury. Martin amassed just 457 yards on 127 carries for a pedestrian 3.6 yard-per-carry average in 2013.
Martin was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, rushing for 1,514 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns.
As for the other backs that could see work: Charles Sims is a third-round pick out of West Virginia, Bobby Rainey rushed for 566 yards (3.8 YPC) in 2013 and Mike James rushed for 295 yards (4.9 YPC) in 2013.
The Bucs are looking to rebound after a disappointing 4-12 season last year.