When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Boise St. running back Doug Martin in the first round of this year’s draft, they had had to trade back into the round to do so. You don’t do that unless you’re serious about a running back and it appears the Bucs are just that about Martin, naming him the starting running back over incumbent LeGarrette Blount.
Martin showed off his skill this preseason with his ability to catch the ball and find openings in the offensive line. There is still some doubt about his ability to pick up blitzes, but the hope is that will merely come with time spent starting in the backfield.
As for Blount, injuring his groin in the second preseason game didn’t help his chances of winning the starting job and it now calls into question whether how committed Blount is to this team. When there were rumors swirling at draft time that the Bucs might select Alabama back Trent Richardson fifth overall, Blount publicly displayed his displeasure with the idea of sharing his backfield.
Well, it’s not his backfield anymore and that might become a problem if Blount doesn’t see the amount of carries he thinks he deserves.
But the thinking in Tampa is that the Bucs finally have the ability to run a two back system. Blount and Martin are two very different runners, where Blount is stout and — well blunt with his forward motion, Martin is quick and has agility.
Both displayed pass catching ability in the preseason, something that actually makes Blount more dynamic since he wasn’t utilized in pass packages much last season and therefore didn’t have many pass catch opportunities.
Week 1 will see Martin as the starter, but that doesn’t mean Blount is the odd man out as he and many others may initially fear. So far it’s really hard to tell how both backs will be used since they were in competition with each other thus far in games. But Tampa has something special in the backfield and it’s not a far fetched idea to think that come the end of the season Tampa could be home to two 1,000 yard rushers.