There was much discussion last season about what nickname rookie sensation Doug Martin should be stuck with. Football nation seemed to like “The Muscle Hamster,” but Doug himself would have preferred virtually any other nickname. There were other monikers kicked around, and my favorite was definitely “the Dougernaut”. And it might be even more appropriate after what we learned today.
Buccaneers’ players have started to show back up to One Buc Place to start offseason activities, and that means some players are having their first media interactions since the end of the season. Davin Joseph is one of those players that hasn’t been heard from in a while, and he had some interesting things to say about himself, and about the running back he never got a chance to block for in the regular season due to his preseason injury.
Joseph, a team captain and former first round draft choice, told reporters that he was fully recovered from surgery, getting back into football shape, and ready to take the next step. This is encouraging, as Joseph will be an integral part of keeping Josh Freeman on his feet, and giving Doug Martin room to run. Davin did take a few moments to show his support for Freeman, who he got to watch from the sidelines last season. We’ve discussed Freeman enough this offseason, so we’ll allow you to take the comments for what they’re worth: Davin has total faith in Josh Freeman to lead the team where it needs to go.
It was Joseph’s comments about Doug Martin that are most interesting. Martin confirmed what many of us knew coming into this offseason: As a running back in the NFL, the Buccaneers must be wise in how they use Martin going forward to ensure they get the most out of him. But it was how Joseph portrayed Martin that was the most “powerful” comment:
…we’ve got to be able to conserve Doug to make sure when we go on that playoff run that he’s still our main guy. As long as we use him the right way, he can be a major weapon, and not to abuse his powers, I guess you can say….
Now, I’m not a comic book guy. I have nothing against those who are, but they’re just not my thing. However, I know enough to know that The Juggernaut is a comic character, and he’s mostly connected with The X-Men comics. Looking him up on Wikipedia, I learned that his powers were superhuman durability and strength, and unstoppable momentum.
Sound a lot like Martin, doesn’t it?
What Joseph has to say is important, as it hopefully shows the Bucs mindset in terms of using Martin in 2013 and beyond. Not many players can handle the abuse Adrian Peterson takes in a season, and a majority of NFL runners flame out after a few years due to the wear and tear the body takes getting popped 300 times a year on runs, and even more than that on blocking and receiving plays. So it will be how Tampa Bay uses Martin and his “powers” that will determine how long he will last in pewter and red.
Davin Joseph is a key figure in making sure Martin can be used properly. Obviously, Joseph’s role in blocking for Martin will be important, but the offensive line’s ability to block for all other Buccaneer runners in 2013 will also impact Doug’s future with the Bucs(which means LeGarrette Blount, if he remains on the team, along with Michael Smith and Brian Leonard, plus any other players added through the draft or free agency). Having a secondary option in the running game will be a key to the longevity of the Dougernaut, because he cannot carry the entire offense on his shoulders. Leonard and Smith both have a chance to be key contributors, and the Buccaneers seem to be very interested in multiple running backs in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft. Martin is a home run hitting back, and keeping him fresh while still wearing down a defense is a great way to set Doug up for long runs and big plays that will change the course of games this upcoming season.
As well, the offensive line’s ability to keep Josh Freeman on his feet, and keeping a solid pocket for him to throw from, will help Martin immensely. Joseph will replace Jamon Meredith, who was at times little more than a turnstile in the way of defensive lineman who were pursuing the Buccaneers’ signal caller. A successful passing game will give the Buccaneers a balanced offense, and means Martin’s opportunities will be against a defense that is not stacking the box to stop him on every first and second down.
Davin Joseph is planning on a playoff run for the Buccaneers, and he knows that both he and Doug Martin will be key in that endeavor. He is taking it upon himself, as both a lineman and the leader of the offensive line, to protect Martin and Josh Freeman on and off the field. The impact Joseph has on the field is quantifiable and he’s certainly going to help the Buccaneers be more productive. But the leadership he brings, and his hard working attitude, may help the Buccaneers take the next step, and use their full arsenal of super powers to surprise NFL fans with an even more impressive season on offense.