Doug Martin has only played in the NFL for two years, and his career has already been a roller coaster ride. The rookie running back exploded onto the scene for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. Martin rushed for 1,454 yards on 319 attempts, for an average of 4.6 yards per carry, and scored eleven touchdowns.
Martin also had 472 receiving yards on 49 receptions for one touchdown. Martin became the second player in NFL history, joining Mike Anderson, to score four touchdowns and rush for more than 250 yards in one game. Martin’s 1,454 rushing yards broke the Buccaneers’ single-season rookie rushing record, previously held by Cadillac Williams.
After Martin’s sensational rookie season, his 2013 looked completely opposite. In the six games Martin played in, he rushed for 456 yards on 127 attempts and had 66 receiving yards on 12 receptions. He went from 4.6 yards per carry average in his rookie season to 3.6 in his second season. The biggest disappointment to Bucs fans, and fantasy owners, though was the one touchdown he scored in six games. Then Martin suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder causing him to miss the rest of the year.
Now it is a new season, and the Bucs have a new coach. So can Doug Martin return to his former self? Can the Muscle Hamster be a top five running back once again? Yes he can, but it might not be this season. No matter who it is, coming back from an injury is tough for any player to overcome.
Martin’s first season back could result in mediocre numbers due to missing most of last season, and now possibly sharing carries with Bobby Rainey who proved his worth after Martin went on injured reserve. However, that doesn’t mean Martin will have a terrible season.
There are players that have come back from major injuries to have amazing campaigns. The most notable of recent years is Adrian Peterson, who came back from a torn ACL to nearly break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. So the possibility of Martin having an exceptional season is not out of the question.
The first four games will determine Martin’s mindset for the season. If he can have a breakout performance in the first quarter of the schedule, and if Mike Glennon can be a solid quarterback, the Bucs have a good shot of putting up a fight for the NFC South title.