With three games remaining and not much to play for, it’s time for the Buccaneers to bid farewell to Doug Martin.
For those that follow me on here or on the Walking The Plank podcast, you know I was very adamant about wanting to move on from Buccaneers running back Doug Martin this past off-season. However, I always included the caveat that I wanted him to prove me wrong. Despite what the stats say, I felt he had. He seemed to run well and made something out of nothing more often than not. That said, there is no reason to feature him as the primary ball carrier the rest of 2017.
Peyton Barber has run effectively the last two weeks. Barber is the only Bucs running back to eclipse the 100 yard mark in a game this season and he vastly outperformed Martin against the Lions. They had the same line, against the same defense, and had drastically different results. Martin finished with ten carries for 26 yards and a touchdown. Barber rushed twelve times for 58 yards.
As we discussed on the latest Locked On Bucs podcast, listed below, the Buccaneers need to evaluate for the future. Whether that’s evaluating for this staff or the next one, the Bucs need to know what they have and what they need in order to attack the off-season appropriately.
Dirk Koetter spoke about the running back situation Tuesday;
"“What happened in that is that happened toward the end of the first half. Peyton was going to start off the second half. Peyton started off and did somewhat similar to what he did at Green Bay. He was running the ball well. Peyton had 12 carries, had eight efficient runs and one explosive run. Doug had 10 runs, four efficient and, unfortunately, we had a fumble when we were already in field-goal range. There were other breakdowns on that fumble besides that, but ultimately ball possession is the most important thing. Peyton made some mistakes on some other things when he was in there. We will figure out what we think is the best rotation for Atlanta next Monday.”"
Quite simply, Barber is creating better opportunities for this offense to score than Martin is. Is Barber the long term answer? Unlikely. However, he could be part of a more effective tandem than he would be with anyone currently on the roster. If the Bucs draft a complimentary back to give the offense a Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara style combo, Barber would fit the Ingram role perfectly.
I like Doug Martin. Truly. However, it’s apparent he is not the guy for the Buccaneers moving forward and – like they’re doing with so many other young guys – it’s time to see how Barber does in that role for more than just one game. Evaluate him on a larger sample size to see if he can be in the plans for 2018 and beyond.