He had a 52-yard run on the opening drive Monday against the Bengals. The Bucs would score a touchdown on that drive.
"First off, he's healthy and you know how much that means to a running back," coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday, per ESPN.com. "He's worked hard. He's looked good in training camp practices but you want to see him do it in a game. There were holes last night. But there was also a wall and he was stopped at the line of scrimmage a couple of times and he made something out of nothing a few times. He broke tackles and ran hard. Just a good game.
"I wasn't around when Doug had his breakout year. But that guy we saw last night, that's what we're looking for. That's what we need in order for us to get the running game going."
After a pair of disappointing, injury-filled seasons,
Martin has rushed for 950 yards over the last two seasons after a breakout rookie campaign in which he rumbled for 1,454 yards in 2012. Heading into this year, Martin is focused on staying healthy and on the field.
"I've got to take care of my body. If I take care of my body and stay in my playbook, I'll be just fine," he said. "Sky's the limit this year. A lot of potential going into this year with this team."
"We talked about being able to establish the run," Smith said, per TampaBay.com. "Doug will be the lead guy doing that, so it's very important that we open up some holes and let him do his thing."
Martin had 494 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 11 games last year.
Martin, who is entering his fourth year in the league, doesn't want the Bucs' decision to not pick up his fifth-year option to mean he's done in Tampa, per The Tampa Tribune.
“I have my own house here now and I’m just now fixing up the backyard,’’ Martin said. “It’s almost finished, so I would really love to be back here. I love this place.’’
The move not to pick up the option was largely based off finances. Martin was slated to make $5.6 million during the fifth year, which was a hefty price-tag for a guy who has been injury riddled his last two seasons.
“It didn’t surprise me,’’ he said. “And I don’t want to say, you know, ‘Whatever,’ because it’s something that just comes along with the business end of things. It’s part of the game. Besides, if I do everything that’s under my control, everything will fall into place the way I want it to."
Martin has rushed for fewer than 500 yards in consecutive seasons after posting an astounding rookie season, when he rushed for 1,454 and 11 touchdowns.
Martin rushed for 1,454 yards in 2012, but since then has battled injury and ineffectiveness, falling short of 500 yards in each of the last two seasons.
Martin remains in line to be Tampa Bay's No. 1 rusher at the start of 2015, but he will have to prove himself in order to be rewarded with a new contract.
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||16||319||1454||4.6||70||11||11||58|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||6||127||456||3.6||28||1||2||16|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||11||134||494||3.7||63||2||2||23|
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||16||49||472||9.6||64||1||4||3||18|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||6||12||66||5.5||13||0||0||0||1|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||11||13||64||4.9||20||0||1||0||3|
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||1||40||40.0||40||0||1|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||1||1||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||2||1||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
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