Buccaneers mindful of Martin's workload

Dan Parr
Pro Football Weekly
Key matchup: Bucs RB Doug Martin vs. Falcons run defense

We have heard concerns coming out of Tampa in recent weeks that rookie RB Doug Martin might hit the proverbial rookie wall later in the season if the Buccaneers are not more careful with him.

Coming off Martin’s impressive Week Eight performance vs. the Vikings, in which he had a career high 29 carries (plus three catches), head coach Greg Schiano said the Bucs are going to closely monitor Martin’s workload. There is no indication, however, that Tampa Bay is going to scale back his touches significantly.

While the team will continue to include backup RBs LeGarrette Blount and D.J. Ware in the game plan, Martin was drafted in the first round to be the featured back, and Blount, who is still the top complement to Martin, has faltered in goal-line and short-yardage situations, which is where the Bucs would like to use him.

As for Martin’s workload, he is actually a bit behind the pace he set last season at Boise State, when he had 263 carries, 28 catches and also was a factor on special teams (something he is not being asked to do this season) in 13 games (22.4 touches per game). Heading into Week Nine, Martin is on pace for 294 carries and 37 catches over a full 16-game season (20.7 touches per game).