This one won’t be so easy for all Buccaneers fans to hear. It’s not easy to write this way about a big-name player. But in the case of Doug Martin, it’s where we are.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been a fan of this guy. Not only have his moments of dominance been fun to watch on the field, but they have also helped me win a fair share of fantasy games. Many of you must have had the same.
But it’s time to say goodbye. It’s time for Martin to go. Not simply because of the suspension, although that is a part of the reason.
Let’s talk about Martin’s career as a whole. His rookie year of 2012 and his season of 2015 were dominant. They cannot be taken away from him and established his reputation around the NFL. But, what about the other three seasons? If you take out his two elite seasons, here are his career number with the Buccaneers:
405 carries, 1,371 yards, 3.3 yards per carry
Those, my friends, are pedestrian numbers. Take the name out of it. If you, as football fans, were presented with those numbers from a running back, what would you think? Would you think this was a star? Of course not. You would think this is some change of pace back that carries the ball around 10-15 times per game to give the number one guy a break.
Injuries have been part of the problem, that is not in dispute. But if you look at Martin’s career in its entirety, the majority of the time has been spent with pedestrian numbers. The numbers don’t lie.
Now add in the current situation. You all know the story, suspended now for the first three games of 2017 after missing the final game of 2016 as well. Now, I’m all for second chances. He deserves to be part of the league. I am not trying to be an extremist here. But, when an individual team makes the decision, it is a strict case by case basis.
For the Bucs, it has to be about trust. In 2016, Martin was not playing well. Even when the season opened, he just wasn’t the same player. Part of it was the offensive line not playing well, that’s fair. But he still wasn’t the same. He wasn’t as explosive. The numbers, and the tape, tell the story.
Add this to the mix. We find out he was on drugs. Again, take his name out of it. You have player A, who has been a pedestrian player for more than half of his career. He is suspended for drugs. Do you, if you are Jason Licht, have absolute trust that this guy can come back and run the ball 20 times a game and average over four yards per carry? He didn’t do it consistently before this.